Today is our last-port-of-call and I know it is going to be a beautiful day.
Today we dock in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is spread out over 14 islands and has a population of over 750,000.
Randy and I visited Stockholm last year and took a very nice bus tour around the city and an informative walking tour of the Old Town. We toured the Royal Palace, Cathedral and then took a wonderful walk through narrow streets to the Great Square where we enjoyed a delicious blueberry pie at one of the many sidewalk cafes.
But today, I have one goal in mind when we go ashore; I want to visit an ice bar. Last year one of the couples at our dinner table took a tour that included a stop at an ice bar and, from their description; it was a lot of fun.
So, Doug, Sue, Randy and I set a goal to get on a Hop On – Hop Off bus and make our way to an Ice Bar.
Not having to keep to a schedule, we hung out on our balconies watching the lines on the pier waiting for the buses. While we were talking, I noticed Vilma and the others already in line on the pier. We tried to get their attention but to no avail.
We made our way down to the pier and after a somewhat long wait we finally got onto a bus and were on our way. I was very excited when I noticed on the list of stops that the ice bar was stop 6.
We enjoyed the ride around the city seeing all the wonderful sights we had seen last year and finally arrived at the ICEBAR at the Icehotel. We did not know what to expect but were eager to get inside. We were provided with a lined coat and gloves and we were ready for this long awaited experience.
According to the information that was given to us the bar was, “Created entirely out of ice from the Torne River in northern Sweden, it is part of the renowned Icehotel in Jukkasjävi”. The Icebar is made out of 35 tons of ice and is kept at a temperature of 23° all year round.
We stepped inside and I immediately felt as though I had entered a fantasy wonderland. Everything in the bar was made of ice; walls, seats, bar, glasses. What I found lovely were the animal ice sculptures and ice etchings along the walls.
We walked all around the room looking at everything and reading everything before stopping at the bar to order our drinks. One drink came with admission to the bar. I ordered a drink called Eurasian Eagle-Owl made with Absolut Raspberry vodka, Proseco and Lemon & Raspberry.
Randy ordered the Gray Wolf made with Absolut Vodka, Lingonberry and fresh lime. The drinks were colorful, refreshing and delicious and served in glasses chiseled out of ice. How fun!
The four us drank, talked, laughed, and thoroughly enjoyed this fun experience. We took pictures of everything we saw even stopping to put our heads into an ice etching of a reindeer. Did I tell you this was fun? Well, it was and then some.
After finishing our drinks we asked what to do with our glasses. The bartender pointed to an ice chute on the wall. You place the ice glass on the ice chute and it slides down and disappears behind the ice wall. How fun is that?
But all good fun has to come to an end. After about 40 minutes we left and made our way back to the bus stop. The buses run 30 minutes apart and one had just left. Fortunately for us, there was a cute little French restaurant within steps of the bus stop.
We decided to have a snack while we were waiting. The La Gare was great. We ordered a Tarte de Tatin – French apple cake that was just delicious. Before long the bus came along and we made our way back to the ship.
This was our last night on the ship so once we returned to the ship we went immediately to the cabin and finished packing.
We were anxious to get up to the Concierge lounge to say our goodbyes to Dale, Karen and Craig. Then it was off to dinner. Vilma, Mickey, Betty and Jim had a great time on shore today too touring the city on a Hop On – Hop Off bus and stopping at the Laughing Duck for a local brew.
I asked everyone at the table what was their favorite tour(s) on both trips. Vilma, Betty and Mickey all concurred that their two-day tour of St. Petersburg was absolutely their favorite. While Randy, Doug, Sue and I all agreed that every stop while cruising around Norway was far and away our favorite.
The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our balcony and watching the sunset on our last night of this wonderful cruise.
Tomorrow we disembark, take a city tour and transfer to the airport where our hotel is located.