Sunday, June 14
Got up at 6:30 and left the hotel shortly after 7. Too early for breakfast at the hotel, but our train was at 8:22. We walked the 2 km from the hotel to the train station. Along the way, police on motorcycles blocked a couple of intersections, and we saw a short motorcade coming from the directions of the castle. Other than police cars, there were 3 matching (!) cars and one other in the motorcade.
Got to the station before 8 and bought muffins and coffee for breakfast on the train. Southern Sweden seems to be forest and fields, with an occasional small town thrown in. We did see a deer running through one of the fields. Our train trip was blessedly uneventful this time.
Found our hotel okay, dropped off our luggage (too early to check in), and headed for a boat tour of town. Interesting walk through town—old buildings and squares. The boat tour was excellent! (What we wanted in Stockholm, and didn’t get.) We were on a canal boat with a live narrator, who did the whole tour in English because everyone was comfortable with that. There were many very low bridges.
We also went out into the harbor and saw the shipyards that flourished after WWII and have since all closed (the last one in 2014). She told us some about the history of the city and showed us some of the remaining walls of the city. The boat was open air so pictures were possible, and the motor was quiet so we could hear the guide.
After the tour, we got lunch at a Spanish restaurant nearby, then decided to walk back toward the hotel through a canal-side park.
But, what was this? Police closing a street? What is happening? A festival, a parade, a “pride parade.” We have just attended our first gay pride parade. There were a lot of people lining the streets to watch, so we joined them. People marched past us for 30 minutes—a lot of people, many waving rainbow flags, some dressed to shock, most pretty ordinary. So we went to sit down for a while, when we realized the parade was not over—there was just a gap. It continued for another hour—I think every group in the city participated—political parties, social clubs, you name it. You know how every one is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day? Well, everyone was showing solidarity with the LGBTQ (only here it seems to be HBTQ, I think) community. There were clubs, families, gay couples, hetero couples, children, drag queens, bands, Brazilian Carnivale groups, African groups, Amnesty International, socialists, communists, Liberals, what looked like scout groups, a group from the police(!), and on and on. Surprisingly, we didn’t see any opposition. No backlash. Just a lot of people having fun, with some good music and good cheer. There was also a party/concert at the end, which we didn’t stay for (speeches in Swedish). We later found out it was the last day of a 5-day festival. Talk about serendipity!
When the parade was over we walked back to the hotel (through the city park) and checked in. It was Sunday evening, so most places were closed. We did discover that there seems to be no place nearby to do laundry. “We don’t do that in Sweden.” (You don’t do laundry?) We could put some items in a bag for the hotel to have cleaned for us. I was hoping to do a week’s worth of laundry. So I washed out a few things in the sink. That should keep us respectable as far as Copenhagen, at least.