A visit to Birka, an ancient Viking Trading Center!

The city of Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. What most people don’t realizie is that Stockholm, while it is one city, is located across 14 islands dotted across the fresh water Lake Mälaren. Each island has its own character and ambiance. So far, we haven’t had much time to explore Stockholm and today that exploration will have to wait for we’re catching the ferry to Birka.
Lake Mälaren is huge, but surprisingly it’s Sweden’s third-largest lake and home to over a thousand different islands. The island of Birka was once the largest Viking trading center of the North.

According to Wiki, during the Viking Age, Birka in present day Sweden, was an important trading center which handled goods from Scandinavia as well as Central and Eastern Europe and the Orient. Birka is located in Lake Mälaren, 30 kilometers west of contemporary Stockholm, in the municipality of Ekerö. Generally regarded as Sweden’s oldest town, Birka has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

Today’s the first rainy day we’ve had on the trip, but as we sailed across Lake Mälaren the sun decided to claim the day. By the time we arrived at Birka, the clouds had vanished and the skies were blue. Here are some pictures of the Viking settlement rebuilt as it would’ve been in the tenth century.


I am in Valhalla, too immersed in Vikings to even contemplate our century.

Oslo to Stockholm Day 6!

For some ridiculous reason, we opted to take the first train from Oslo to Stockholm today. If we’d understood the ramifications of twilight and maybe two hours of darkness every day, maybe we’d have opted for a later departure time than 7:30 a.m. At any rate, we boarded, and since my Viking had insisted we would be fed during the journey had nothing on us in terms of food. Four hours later, absolutely starving, we purchased truly expensive peanuts and gobbled them up.

SW STOCKHOLM3  SW STOCKHOLM2  SW STOCKHOLM1The The passing scenery is much flatter than our Norway in a Nutshell vistas, but as always, lush, green, and panoramic. Farms dot the landscape. It seems as if every scrap of land is devoted to growing food or raising sheep and cattle. We arrive in Stockholm around three in the afternoon and are pleased and relieved to find that our Radisson Blu hotel is located not a couple of minutes from the train station. Our Floridian Norwegian friend, Bjorn, has once again used his infulence (he managed a few Radisson’s) and we’re upgraded to suite once again. Not only that, but a welcome fruit basket and a half-bottle of wine awaits us.

WhatsApp has turned out to be a traveler’s best friend. We text my friend, Tamarind, who’s 60th birthday and her desire for a Baltic cruise prompted this whole trip. Not a few hours later, we’re dining at Luzette, a restaurant located in Stockholm’s Central Station. What an incredible day! A new country, old friends, an incredible dinner, and copious red wine. What more can a gal ask for???