Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scandinavia 2017 - The Family Jewels

As opposed to the cloudy skies and rain of the previous day the morning broke bright and sunny. After enjoying another generous breakfast spread we stepped outside and were treated to the spectacle of a massive cruise ship doing a slow 180 degree turn in front of the hotel before docking. Waiting for the waterbus we met a couple from Spokane spending 9 days in Stockholm with their young daughter and toddler aged son. They took the wrong waterbus trying to get to Durgarden ending up at our pier instead. We took a family picture for them. The now ubiquitous pair of swans swam by.

That day we had decided on viewing the Swedish Crown Jewels and a tour of the Royal Palace. The jewels are displayed in a series of underground galleries. Kept dark, presumably for preservation of some of the fragile fabrics, some details are difficult to see. The venerable trunks and specialty boxes where the jewels were originally stored are shown. An ermine trimmed coronation robe stands in one case, it's train spread out behind it.

The gems adorning the crowns, scepters and ceremonial swords are massive. The gold crowns are encrusted with diamonds and quarter sized emeralds and rubies. Some pieces literally drip pearls. Several looked so heavy I wondered how a sovereign did not collapse under the weight of them. A halo of emeralds surrounding a opal form a flower on the hilt of one sword. The sword blades are heavily engraved, their scabbards are almost as impressive as the weapons they encase, although this is one area where the low light level makes it difficult to see detail.

As the two young, slightly flirty but professional, blonde (again) guys told us when we purchased our tickets for the palace package the jewels exhibit is rather small. We finished in time to climb the stairs to daylight and make our way to the central courtyard to see the changing of the Palace Guard.

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