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During the short time I've spent in Scandinavia I've noticed a few interesting things:

  • Almost anyone you talk to speaks English, many really well, yet they don't use it as their first language.
  • English signs are few and far between. Plaques on monuments occasionally have English on them, but that is usually just a summary of what is written in the native language. For example, there is often the equivalent of a page or two written in the native language (Danish, Swedish, etc.) and only a paragraph in English.
  • McDonald's, 7 Eleven, and Burger King are all very popular here. In Copenhagen there was a McDonald's and 7 Eleven on almost every block. Here in Stockholm it's not that bad, but they are here.
  • Starbucks is no where to be found.

It will be interesting to see if this continues in Norway, which is where I'm headed tomorrow.

Today I just spent more time exploring the city center on foot, but before we get to that here is a picture I took last night at about 1:15am. Yup, it still wasn't completely dark out and I image it stayed that way all night because I was awake briefly at 4:00am and it was full day light.

Just an interesting water fountain in the center of the city.

An interesting old car with the Royal Palace in the background.

These two obelisks are a bit unique. The wavy lines are present on all sides and they light up based on the air and water pollution in the city. The one on the left is for air pollution and the one on the right for water pollution. The lighting of each side reflects a different pollution measurement and the amount of pollution is reflected in how the line is lit up (eg longer for more pollution).

This is a replica of a XIII century merchant sailing ship of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. It is being sailed around the medieval trade sea routes around Europe to learn about how such vessels where sailed and the effects they had on their crew. This is the 3rd and final year of their experiment. I just did a quick search and found their web site ( It says it was supposed to by a 2 years and not 3 as indicated on the English documentation by the ship. I guess there web site is out of date, like many of them out there.

This is one of many restored old boats docked around the Kastellholmen Island. Most of them had plaques describing their history, but only a few had English on them and as mentioned above it was just a summary.

This old restored boat appears to be a home.

These guys were making some old fashioned hand built kayaks.

That's Stockholm's amusement park.

Those big ships sail between Stockholm and Helsinki on a regular basis.

This photo was taken on the south end of Kastellholmen Island. I'm not sure what the bunker is all about as there were no signs of any sort.

This is a better shot of the Kastellet castle shown in the picture above. It's not a very big place.

There were several of these contraptions in the area near the museum of modern art and they all had many moving parts but served no useful purpose.

Time warp.

One of the guards at the Royal Palace.

These folks were demonstrating against the US. They must have picked today because it's the 4th of July. They started with a small parade earlier in the day downtown near the fountain shown above. There were many police officers around just in case anything got out of hand during the parade.

None of there signs or material were in English, but here's one sign us English speaking folks can understand. Glad I was carrying my Canada flag and not one from the US.

It is interesting how so many large churches in so many European cities have been crowded out by nearby development. As such, many like this one are very difficult to photograph. It would have been interesting to see these places back in their glory days when there was space around them to really see them.

Just what every real peddle biker needs, a toilet paper holder modelled after the front forks of a bike.

As mentioned above, I'm off to Norway tomorrow. I'm heading to Olso to do a one day train/boat/bus tour on Thursday to the Atlantic coast through about 300 miles of what is supposed to be some of the most scenic terrain in Europe, Norway's mountains and Fjords. I couldn't find any accommodations at the far end, Bergen, so a couple hours after we get there I will be getting on an overnight train for the ride back to Oslo.