This day started slightly differently to our previous mornings as Connect hotel offered a free breakfast, so, instead of breakfast bars and tap water, we were able to treat ourselves to glasses of orange juice and coffee with a strange platter of cheese and cucumber. We then once again took the commuter train for 10 minutes into the centre of the city, and began walking towards Målarstrand. Here we walked along the waterfront, and after eating our fill of pizza, we played a fun game of bride spotting. We counted at least five brides and wedding parties milling around and managed to dodge their photographers attempting to immortalise us in wedding albums. After our successful evasion of the photographers, we ended up in the centre of old Stockholm, which was not at all what we had expected. The warm orange and reds of the buildings, and the mysterious Sitar music made us feel like we were in a different part of the world entirely, more akin to the equator rather than Scandinavia. We soon discovered the source of the music, finding a dancing group of musicians making their way through the crowds, and pulling people in to dance - we very quickly ran away as no one wants to see us attempt to dance. After getting lost and passing the same café one too many times, we gave in and decided to forgo the map, simply strolling around the cobbled streets, until the royal palace loomed into view.
After even more walking, so shocking I know, we figured that we couldn’t go interrailing and not actually go inside a single museum - as we’ve often instead decided to simply admire the outside to save a few pennies - we visited the Vasa Museum, located on the Island of Djurgården. Even with Tamsyn’s short attention span for museums - ah the irony that she is completing a degree in Ancient History - we spent over an hour here exploring the multiple floors which look out over the world famous, 17th century Vasa ship.
There is not much to say about this day as it was mainly spent asleep and in the same room. We boarded our ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki at 4pm and were immediately surprised at the size of the ship. It was very similar to a cruise with its long promenade. A titbit here is to pre-book dinner options as, when we were hunting down food, we had to sadly walk away from the amazing smelling buffet which was fully booked (imagine solemn violin music playing to understand our mood).
Also be sure to download any films or series you want to watch, as the lower rooms do not have wifi or signal for data usage and it is a very long journey. Despite our room being right next to the engine rooms, which caused a lot of noise, and Holly having to strap herself in to the precarious top bunk, we slept soundly.
After we disembarked from our ferry, we decided to settle at a café in the port, as our Airbnb was not available for another 5 hours. Our 20 minute walk to the port was not too bad despite the heat, as we were treated to Tamsyn serenading us with her lovely rendition of the 2023 Eurovision runner up – Finland’s Cha Cha Cha. Considering it is one of her favourite songs, you would think Tamsyn would know more than three words (one if you consider it’s the same word repeated). However, we must give her credit as Tamsyn did attempt to redeem herself by ordering from the Café in Finnish. An attempt that will not be repeated without a bit more practice due to the way the cashier laughed and immediately interrupted her with English.
Another top tip here - Trams! Do not assume that they work similarly to British buses. Instead you must buy a ticket either online or at a ticket office beforehand instead of, doing what we did, and trying to buy a ticket once we had boarded. We hopped on and then immediately hopped off again at the next stop. But our attempt was not entirely in vain as our 30 minute walk was cut down by a whole two minutes.
Unfortunately, this was followed by more mishaps when we later decided to take a relaxing stroll through a nearby park and sat on a bench to take In the scenery. To which Tamsyn was then quickly soaked when the park sprinklers turned on and swiveled to spray over our bench. (Holly will neither confirm or deny if she knew the sprinklers would reach Tamsyn). Luckily it was hot so she dried off long before we reached our Airbnb which was a cosy studio apartment. The kitchen inside allowed us to take a break from McDonalds and use our chef skills - not even Gordon Ramsay could make pre-made pasta in a bag as well as we did.
This day was much similar to our other ferry day, with just a few short hours in Helsinki in which we walked the brief 20 minute walk from our Airbnb to the Temppeliaukiochurch. Neither Steve Tyler or John Bon Jovi were there so we were thoroughly disappointed, It was however, still very impressive and unique so we’ll let the lack of rock legends slide. The trip back to Stockholm, was much the same, although our cabin was a bit more luxury with an extra foot of headspace that Holly was very thankful for being on the top bunk. We did make the mistake however, of not realising when the time difference changed the clocks, so were ready to leave the ferry an hour earlier than needed, as what is a day without a small mistake. Although in Holly’s mind, this was just us being super prepared and organised.