We are so far north here in Stockholm that it stays light until midnight and then starts getting light again by 3:30 AM. I think it’s pretty cool. I was surprised that Sweden is hillier and harder to wheel than the Netherlands and Belgium. I was also surprised that it is harder to find accessible restrooms around town, mostly old town, unless you are at a museum or airport where accessible restrooms are great.. Stockholm’s Old town has a lumpy-style of cobblestones and hills so it’s not easy.
On day 1 in Stockholm, we did a 3day Hop on Hop off with Stromma City Sightseeing. They advertised as wheelchair accessible but truly was not. No ramp on bus and I had to back my manual chair out and drop several inches to get out. The driver wouldn’t let me out at my requested stop either since he didn’t want to reposition the bus to be closer to the curb to help rampless wheelchair exit. He told us to circle around and get the requested stop the second time around but before we could do that, he stopped at stop number one and told us we had to leave because he was on break. It was terrible service and a wasted vacation day, unfortunately.
Day 2 was better with Stromma HOHO. This bus had a ramp and we went to the Vasa museum which was fascinating. Vasa is an enormous Swedish ship that sank in the 1600’s and then was recovered in 2000’s. It was amazingly preserved in the brackish water. It was an amazing effort to build and very ornate with carved figures that had been painted. I didn’t realize they built such massive ships back then. It was about seven stories high. We also visited the Nordic museum, really about life in Sweden from the 1600s to now, It was less than impressive but wheelchair accessible. That was all the time we had for museums since we lost the first day.
Day 3 was a boat ride to Birka island. It is an old Viking site and is now a UNESCO heritage site. I could not go on the walking tour or see the archeological dig. I was informed of that prior to buying my ticket from Stromma, though, and figured I would like the 2-hr boat ride and spend time in the museum, shop, cafe and re-constructed village. I did this and it was good and my able-bodied husband really enjoyed the walking tour.
Hotel: We stayed at the Hilton Stockholm Slussen hotel which was nicely wheelchair accessible and provided a wonderful breakfast. There was a lot of construction around Stockholm when we were there and this complicated things for us. I wish I could’ve had that extra day to see some other museums in the very nicely accessible area near the Vasa museum.
General observations: Europeans seem to understand the term “disabled toilet” Instead of “wheelchair accessible restroom”. No matter what country I was in, people always offered to help if we were in an obviously difficult situation with steep ramps, etc. In my opinion, the Netherlands and then Belgium were more wheelchair accessible just because of the flat terrain (“nether” means “low”) compared to Stockholm, Sweden. Some areas of Stockholm were pretty good, too, though. Everywhere we went, many people spoke English.
It was a great trip and now it is great to be home!