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Contiki Russia Plus: Day 3 – Stockholm & Cruise to Helsinki

Our final morning in Stockholm kicked off at 8:15 AM when we left our hotel for a tour of the Stockholm City Hall, home of the banquet for the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. The town hall was situated on beautiful grounds on the water.

The first room we entered was the “Blue Room” despite the fact that it wasn’t blue. The architect intended to paint the bricks blue, but decided not to. The room is home to the award dinner for the Nobel Peace Prize and was modeled after an Italian piazza. It even had a balcony similar to the one in Verona in Romeo & Juliet.

We then climbed a staircase that took years for the architect to perfect before heading to the City Council Chamber which had a beautiful ceiling of the sky. It was supposed to replicate Viking architecture and also symbolize transparency.

Then, we walked to the home of the Ball after the Nobel Prize Award Dinner, the “Gold Room” which was covered by small mosaic gold tiles and told the story of Swedish and world history.

We then paid 50 krona ($6) to climb to the top of the bell tower. It was a workout, but the view was worth it.

Then, our coach took us into the middle of the Old Town for a few hours of free time. We saw the Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace which was very impressive. It was a full military procedure and even had a marching band!

We then walked around Old Town & I pointed a few things I learned from my walking tour the day prior to my friends.

Our afternoon concluded with amazing Swedish Meatballs made out of reindeer and wild boar.

We then met up with the rest of the group and took our coach to the port to board our cruise ship to Helsinki, Finland.

Stockholm was am absolutely beautiful city that exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to come back and spend some more time in this wonderful city.

At 3:00 PM, we boarded our Silja Line cruise ship to Helsinki. The ship was actually quite nice & different than the overnight ferry I took from Italy to Greece a few years ago in that this was actually a cruise ship. It had an outdoor deck where we could watch the boat depart, a promenade with shops and restaurants and a few nightclubs. Our room was all the way down in steerage, but that was fine as we spent our waking hours out and about. We went up to the top deck to watch the boat depart before relaxing in our room for a few minutes. We then had a €41 all you can eat buffet with beer and wine – the food was great, but the wine was pretty poor! Then, we headed to the back of the ship to watch the sun set which didn’t actually happen until 11:00 PM Finnish time (10:00 PM Swedish time). The sky was still bright until well after midnight. Our night concluded with karaoke & dancing in the “New York Nightclub”.

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