Stockholm, Sweden (March 27 - 31 1999)

"Beauty on Water" is how Stockholm markets itself to tourists. From our first glimpses of the city from the steps of City Hall, our group could see why. Though temperatures averaged in the upper 40s during our trip, Stockholm's appeal was obvious. Straddling a series of thawing waterways, the city comprises a peninsula and numerous islands.

The best known of these islands is Gamla Stan -- Stockholm's old town. Its narrow brick streets proved to be a shopper's delight, with crystal shops the obvious highlight. Gamla Stan is also home to the Royal Palace and the Storkyrkan cathedral. The Swedish parliament is just steps away on another island. Stockholm is a wanderer's city. Leisurely strolls will take you to City Hall, where the annual Nobel Prize banquet is held, and to Stockholm's many parks, statues and museums. The Vasa Museum is a must-see. It houses a full-size warship that sank 20 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628.

Stockholm is best visited in summer, when tour boats can take you through the city's winding waterways and out to the Archipelago. In July, temperatures average 70 degrees and it stays light almost around the clock. When you go, make sure you buy a "Stockholm Card". Our 3-day tourist passes cost US$60 and gave us free admission to almost every museum, unlimited public transportation, and assorted discounts and benefits.

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