Slept in this morning (hard to avoid it in this pampering Sheraton), and were treated to a free hotel breakfast. This was no ordinary stale muffins and warm orange juice like in North America. This was a serious restaurant breakfast, buffet style with every kind of breakfast food -- from traditional swedish herrings in mustard sauce, to continental crepes, to American-style hashbrowns and eggs. Outsiders had to pay a stunning 40 CAN a head, but karen had it included in our kids package. We sat at a large table with a Swedish family who had a girl exactly Elwyn's age. she was really keen to chat with Elwyn and learn about him, so through their mother, we had a lovely time.
Got out by 11:30 to the shopping district so I could buy a suit for the Wedding this saturday. H&M is a great Swedish departemnt store. Think IKEA, only clothes and you get the idea of good design and cheap prices. For the equivalent of 200 CAN, I was out of there in an hour with a new linen suit, tie and shirt, very happy.
We hopped a cab down to the Swedish national museum of history. It is a extremely well-designed museum showing the history of Sweden from the stone age, vikings, and baroque periods. Best of all, however, is the outdoor activity area for kids. Here, we really got treated to one of the very best museum experiences ever (free with the modest entry ticket).
We started with both of the boys maknig a viking flatbread, rolling out the dough with a stick and cooking it on an iron plate over a fire. they did most of the work, and enjoyed eating it. Then, we moved on to metalurgy, where they both got to make a cast of actual ancient museum pieces in some sand, melt down some kind of soft metal over an open forge fire, then pour the molten metal into the sand, splashing it with water to complete their casts. They were great and did it all! these little iron age adventurers went on to try on chain mail shirts and helmets and had the best wooden sword fight of their lives. Alden was in his glory. Wound down with a tug-of-war(Alden and I won) and a kind of elaborate pillow fight, where Karen and I had to ballance on a large wooden beam and try to knock each other off. Like Robin Hood and Little John, Karen handily knocked me over to the mat below, much to the delight of the fans looking on.
From the museum, we took the efficient Stockhom subway back to the Old Town and had our third real vegetarian meal. The boys were tired and fussy, and didn't eat much, but it was pretty good, in an atmospheric old building, probably over 1.5 centuries old. Walked around the Old Town some more, past the place where they give out Nobel prizes, and then onto the Royal Residence in Stockholm. There were Royal Guards there, which Elwyn and Alden found fascinating, yet terrifying. They looked fantastic with their polished silver helmets, striking blue uniforms, with white leather trim, carrying muskets and bayonettes. Elwyn and Alden became quite tame, subdued even, as we walked by these official men and women on duty.
Strolled around a bit more before heading back to the hotel, buying a couple of souveniers at a tacky tourist shop.
At the hotel, we found that we had also been given 600 Kroner (about 96 CAN) worth of credits for the hotel pub. So, after the kids went to sleep, Karen and I snuck down to the bar, enjoyed a couple of beers, a glass of Aquavit, a Swedish cheese plate and a bowl of chantrelle mushroom soup. It was a heavily adult hour. The kids were still sleeping soundly when Karen went back to the room. I've been blogging for almost 2 hours now, catching up. This ancient free computer has no java, so I can't upload pictures to my blog. I'll add them later, as there are lots of good ones.