BootsnAll Travel Network

Josh and Jenny’s European Adventure 2009 – Day 9 Stockholm, Sweden

After enjoying our included buffet breakfast at the Nordic Sea Hotel, Jenny and I decided to head off to another one of the islands in Stockholm called Djurgården.  This island is one of the larger 14 that make up the city of Stockholm.  On this island are many museums, walking paths, restaurants and other things to do.  We were going to Djurgården to go to The Vasa Museum.  The Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia and is home to the royal war ship called the Vasa.  Inside the museum is the ship itself, 95% in its original form from when it was shipwrecked in the early 1600’s.  It is the only ship in the world that is in this sort of shape dating back that long.
Since the weather was perfect out we decided to take a stroll down to the water and along it.  We took our time as we were in no rush to do anything;  stopping only to take photos and absorb the culture and the warm weather today in Stockholm.  After our 45 minute or so walk we finally arrived at the museum.  The museum proved to be well worth it even at its costly price of 95SEK each (50 SEK if you have a student ID which of course Jenny and I did not have on us).  Also a note about Stockholm, a lot of the museums offer student discounts as much as 50% off the regular price.  I also want to add that the price of admission for adults to the National Museum is 100SEK each but cheaper for students (I think 80SEK).
Anyway after The Vasa Museum Jenny and I continued our walk along Djurgården.  We walked as far as Grona Tivoli but it was closed.  We then thought we would go to Skansen, dubbed the oldest open air museum in the world.  When we got up to the ticket booth and finally figured out what the museum had to offer (a Nordic zoo, exhibits, lots of walking and other things) we decided that we were tired and wanted to head back to the hotel to relax a bit).  We decided to try our hand at the public bus system.  I had remembered that the bus we needed was the 47 and that it would take us close to the hotel.
The hard part was trying to buy the tickets.  The ticket booth was automated and since we did not have enough coins we had to try and use our credit cards.  With each try of the credit card another 47 bus was passing us by.  This was making us increasingly upset partly out of frustration but partly out of being so tired.  Finally we were able to get two single journey tickets for Zone A (30 SEK each) and got on a bus.  The single journey tickets are kind of misleading.  These tickets are in fact good for one hour within the zone, as many rides as you take.
Since the weather was so nice out Jenny had the thought of taking one of the many boat tours that are offered from the Nybrohamnen pier.  So we got off the 47 bus right at the pier and looked at the different options.  One option was to take a one hour boat ride around the city but another option was to take a 2.5-3 hour guided boat tour of the Swedish Archipelago.  We both decided that this would be the better option.  We hopped back on to a 47 bus and went back to the hotel.  Once at the hotel we went online and booked two tickets on tomorrow’s 130PM Archipelago tour for 210SEK each.
We went back to the room to relax for about two hours and then decided that we wanted to see a movie.  Everyone who reads my blog knows that I love to see movies while traveling.  I have no idea why but I feel like it is exotic in some way.  Anyway when we got to the theater there was slim pickings based on the time (we got there at like 545PM).  The only suitable movie Jenny and I could decide on was Confessions of a Shopaholic.  After we picked our seats and got two tickets (95SEK each), we walked around the streets for a little while until our 630PM movie.
Once we returned to the theater we split a popcorn and a drink for 47SEK (not bad considering what everything else costs).  When I got into the theater I quickly noticed I was the only male in the theater and all the other patrons were 14 year old Swedish girls.  At the end of the movie I did notice another gentleman but definitely felt less of a man after leaving that movie.
When we got back to the hotel we quickly got ready for our 9PM reservation at the Absolut Icebar Stockholm!  This was the first in a series of world famous Icebars.  The entrance fee was 150SEK each since we were staying at one of the Nordic Hotels (normal price is 180 SEK but includes your first drink.  Keep your glass and you can get additional drinks for 95SEK each).  Before we got inside we were given huge parkas with gloves.  I initially thought that being in 17 degree Fahrenheit weather for 45 minutes wouldn’t be bad, but I was wrong.  When I initially got in I wasn’t that bad but after a while my fingers began to get real cold (especially once I got my drink made out of an ice glass and began to hold it).
The first thing Jenny and I did when we got into this rather small icebar was to take photos.  I intelligently got my way into the front before the doors opened and walked in snapping photos like a banshee.  I wanted to get pictures of this icebar before the other 50 or more patrons entered as well.  We then took photos together, separate and so on.  Overall my icebar experience was fabulous.  It thought it was really cool, both literally and figuratively and an experience I will never forget.  Is it touristy?  Absolutely, but it is just one of those things I had to do.
After the icebar, we met some study abroad students from America traveling around Scandinavia just like us.  We ended up chatting with them for about an hour or so and then afterwards Jenny went up to go to sleep and I headed out to the International Casino in Stockholm.  I had to pay 30 SEK to get in and had my photo taken to security purposes.  Once inside I took out some SEK and began to walk around the main table room.  There were some tables that had blackjack, Caribbean poker, many roulette tables and lots of slot machines.  The roulette table minimums ranged from 20 SEK for inside bets which meant 100 SEK for outside bets all the way up to 100 SEK for inside bets and 500 SEK for the outside bets.
I had to walk around several times to get a feel for the lower limit tables to see who was playing, how the ball was spinning and if there were trends I could figure out.  I finally settle on one of the two 20 SEK tables, the two lowest limit roulette tables in the casino.  Both tables were packed but I tried to pick the lesser of the two packed tables.  I sat down and started making small bets.  At first I hit a bit of the cold streak and before I knew it I was down 300 SEK.  I walked away briefly, but returned and cashed in another 470 SEK, so I was 770 SEK in the hole.
I started to win a few bets here and there slowly building up my bankroll.  At one point I made a few bets and thought that I had won one of them.  So after the roll I looked down for a second, the numbered was called, I looked back up to reach for the chips and it was gone.  I immediately exclaimed “someone took my bet.  I bet the 1st 12 and it is gone.  I made that bet!”  The pit boss who was overseeing the table told me to calm down and that they would go to the videotape.  As it turned out a lurking asian woman also said she had allegedly made that bet but I was sure I had made it.  I know how much I am betting since my whole strategy for roulette is based on hedging my bets on every spin.  In the end the pit boss had told me that the Asian woman had in fact made the bet.  I was in immediate disbelief.  I was sure I had made that bet.  I then called the pit boss over to further discuss the issue.  He said that the person upstairs who reviewed the tape agreed with me in all the bets I thought I had made minus the 1st 12 bet.  I mean this bet was going to pay me out 300 SEK and I would have broken even on the bet.  Now I would be down double that.  He told me that there was nothing he could do and that the tape doesn’t lie.  The system can review who places the chip frame by frame.  I thought was just scammed and that the lurking Asian woman who had been starring at me and my bets the whole night had swapped my chips or had done something.
After losing out on the bet I had to back away from the tables to cool down.  Betting with emotional is a recipe for disaster and I was not prepared to lose my money based on emotion.  At this point I was up probably 200 SEK after being down 770, so I was fighting back strong.  I finally returned to the table and started to play my game.  I began winning smaller bets and then increased my bets progressively.  At one point I was betting as much as 1000 SEK when I put down a 1000 SEK chip on red after the dealer had spun more than 8 black spins in a row.  I was so sure red would come and so I took a chance and won!  I exclaimed “yes” clapped my hand and was feeling good about myself.
All in all I walked out of the casino with a smile ear to ear on my face and 4000 SEK in my pocket.  I had won roughly 3300 SEK or well over 400 USD.  These winnings would easily pay for the last few days of my trip if not most of my trip through Scandinavia.  Now I just had to get this money exchanged into US dollars without completely getting hosed at the exchange places, but that was for another day.


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