As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.
So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.
Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.
And a very special thank you to our Guides (moderators), past and present, who kept our forums a happy place to be. You are the glue that held everything together, and we are forever grateful to you. Thank you aliceinwdw, Caldercup, MrsM, WillCAD, Fortissimo, GingerJ, HiddenMickey, CRCrazy, Eeyoresmom, disneyknut, disneydani, Cam22, chezp, WDWfan, Luvsun, KMB733, rescuesk, OhToodles!, Colexis Mom, lfredsbo, HiddenMickey, DrDolphin, DopeyGirl, duck addict, Disneybine, PixieMichele, Sandra Bostwick, Eeyore Tattoo, DyanKJ130, Suzy Q'Disney, LilMarcieMouse, AllisonG, Belle*, Chrissi, Brant, DawnDenise, Crystalloubear, Disneymom9092, FanOfMickey, Goofy4Goofy, GoofyMom, Home4us123, iamgrumpy, ilovedisney247, Jennifer2003, Jenny Pooh, KrisLuvsDisney, Ladyt, Laughaholic88, LauraBelle Hime, Lilianna, LizardCop, Loobyoxlip, lukeandbrooksmom, marisag, michnash, MickeyMAC, OffKilter_Lynn, PamelaK, Poor_Eeyore, ripkensnana, RobDVC, SHEANA1226, Shell of the South, snoozin, Statelady01, Tara O'Hara, tigger22, Tink and Co., Tinkerbelz, WDWJAMBA, wdwlovers, Wendyismyname, whoSEZ, WildforWD, and WvuGrrrl. You made the magic.
We want to personally thank Sara Varney, who coordinated our community for many years (among so many other things she did for us), and Cheryl Pendry, our Message Board Manager who helped train our Guides, and Ginger Jabour, who helped us with the PassPorter-specific forums and Live! Guides. Thank you for your time, energy, and enthusiasm. You made it all happen.
There are other changes as well.
Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:
We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
Moving on with a spirit born to run
Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.
It's time to move on and move forward.
PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.
But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.
So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.
And we are no longer charging for the Live Guides. If you have a subscription, it's yours to keep for the lifetime of the Live Guides at no additional cost. The Live Guides will stay online, barring server issues and technical problems, for all of 2019.
That said, PassPorter is not going away. Most of the resources will remain online for as long as we can support them, and after that we will find ways to make whatever we can available. PassPorter means a great deal to us, and to many of you, and we will do our best to keep it alive in whatever way we can. Our server costs are high, and they'll need to come out of our pockets, so in the future you can expect some changes so we can bring those costs down.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!
If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.
So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!
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The booklet they give you with your Stockholm card
Here you can see where we traveled as we began our first day in Stockholm. You can find the Central Station where the Flygbussarna dropped us off. You can see the subway station stops. You can see Sverige Huset (Sweden House) where we purchased our Stockholm Cards.
We picked up this booklet that describes all sorts of sights and activities that are going on during your stay at the Sweden House.
This map shows the parts of Stockholm we visited on Day 1.
Sweden was not a big colonizer of the globe, unlike Spain or France for example. Consequently, the majority of people who speak Swedish are in Sweden. As a result most Swedes in Stockholm speak English. There was virtually no language barrier in our travels in Stockholm. I had no time to learn Swedish and only picked up a few words out of courtesy. Tack själv mycket (thank you very much).
The view looking out our hostel window
Our first order of business was to head to the Royal Palace and watch the military parade and the changing of the guard. We had arrived at the airport around 8 am. It is now around 11am and the changing of the guard takes place at noon. We secured our spots at the outer courtyard so we could see things clearly and not be annoyed by crowds. It is a nasty overcast day with the threat of rain looming above us. Written descriptions of the changing of the guard were very positive. It turns out that, just like tourists, the travel writers must visit in summer. I believe they make a much bigger production in the summer. While enjoyable, I would not say that the changing of the guard is a must see. I was struck by how young the soldiers were. I guess it is a sign that I am in fact aging <sigh>. Seriously, some of these guys look like they still belong in school. Apparently, the soldiers come from all over Sweden in every branch of service to perform this duty. I read information about a band performing. We saw no band. I guess the band must perform during the summer for all the tourists. We who slog through the crappy weather of winter get to see units of men parading around a courtyard with a trumpeter and drum announcing the changing of the guard. It was entertaining, yet I don’t think it was worth all the time we took to claim a spot and watch the whole thing. We probably spent a total of two hours at the Royal Palace courtyard for the event. It got colder and colder as we stood. We decided we both were hungry as it now was around 1 pm and we hadn’t eaten since we were on the airplane. The plane had landed a little before 8 am.
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What do you need if you are going to eat out? Money! It is time to go find an automatic teller machine (ATM). The Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) sits on a corner of the island, Gamla Stan. Just as we headed out to get something to eat it started to rain. We wander all over the island looking for an ATM. We thought that this would be easy to find. How wrong we were! We slogged through the rain sharing the one umbrella I brought along. Eventually, we find an ATM and made our withdrawls. I consulted my handy dandy Rick Steves’ guidebook and found the Grillska Huset. This was a relatively inexpensive cafeteria run by a charitable organization for the poor. It is centrally located on the central square of Gamla Stan. I was just happy to get in out of the rain and dry off. It was so chilly and wet out there! The menu was in Swedish. However, how hard is it to figure out food? You point and grunt and the staff figures out what you want. We both chose the cheapest option on the menu – the 70 kroner ($11) salad bar. I loaded up my plate with all sorts of goodies. My favorite was a salmon cream cheese spread that I generously lathered onto some whole grain bread. Ideally I would have liked to have had a hot meal, but beggars can not be choosers. I was so hungry I wolfed that lunch down like there was no tomorrow.
The Grillska Huset
Once we were finished with lunch, the rain eased up considerably. We decided to take a self-guided walking tour of Gamla Stan with the aid of my guidebook. I love walking tours. I believe you really get to explore an area with some depth. Bus tours move so quickly I don’t feel like I get much out of them. Gamla Stan, since it is the oldest part of the city, is the most charming and photogenic. Up until the 1600’s the city was strictly on this island.
We begin our tour right outside the Royal Palace (right side of the picture). I love cobblestone streets. Behind me you can see the obelisk and the Storykyrkan or Cathedral (green topped building).
The statue of King Gustav III with a great view of the National Museum on the island of Norrmalm behind it.
We started our tour back at the Royal Palace with a statue of King Gustav III. He was the king in the late 1700’s that upped the ante and brought sophistication to the city after traveling through Europe. He loved the arts and founded the Royal Dramatic Theater and the Opera.
The obelisk served as a landmark for us whenever we wandered and got lost. It was erected to honor Stockholm’s merchant class in it’s support for a war against Russia in the late 1700’s.
This was my favorite activity in Stockholm. I felt like I was learning about history and finding all sorts of nooks and crannies that I would not have discovered left to my own devices.
The Finnish church which originated as the royal tennis hall.
The Iron Boy is the tiniest public statue (out of 600 statues in Stockholm). Josh is rubbing his head for good luck or wisdom which is the local custom.
Don't you just love this public telephone booth? I wonder how long it will stick around. I know that here in the USA public telephone booths are becoming an endangered species now that everyone and his mother has a mobile phone.
Exterior of the Cathedral
Josh is about to enter the Storykyrkan or Cathedral flanked by the statues of Caution and Hope.
The interior included a great organ and a magnificent statue of St. George and the Dragon.
At this point daylight begins to wane. What time is it? 3:30 pm! By 4:00 the sun will have set. My contact at Travelocity had sent me a ton of brochures and pamphlets. Among what she sent was information about gay life in Stockholm. It's time for a cocktail! I was able to make heads or tails out of our maps and managed to get us to a really great little gay bar on the edge of Gamla Stan. It is called Torget. The bartender was friendly. We were the only patrons in there. It is rather early even though we have had a long day. Remember I did not get much sleep on the plane. Add the fact that it is now dark and it seems like night time to me.
Making our way to the gay bar
How far did I travel? How many miles across an ocean? What do I order in the bar? The same thing I frequently order at home…Ruby Red Absolut vodka with cranberry juice. You would think I would get something uniquely Swedish…something with lingonberries or something. At least Absolut vodka is Swedish. Squatsie, the Travelocity gnome, was in a partying mood and joined us. Alcohol is exorbitant in Sweden. I milked my beverages as long as I possibly could. I probably had a total of two cocktails. As I recall, they were reasonably strong. However, as Princess Sharon and Poohsgirl can attest I do like my cocktails very, very, very strong. The bar was quite attractive and we enjoyed our stay. We would have stayed longer had we more money. A few people entered while we were there, but no one worth wiping the drool from our mouths. I would totally go back here should I ever visit Stockholm again.
As I’ve said I was tired. Josh was tired. We retreat back to our humble room aboard the red boat.
Josh sitting from our perch on a banquette that oversaw the entire establishment.
Squatsie joins in the fun
My view from my seat on the banquette
MMmmm, Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
NEXT: How many boats are in this inlet and where is ours?
Love this report - especially since we'll be spending a day in Stockholm in just a bit more than a month! We're planning a day using the hop-on, hop-off boat, and seeing Gamla Stan, Vassa, and ohhh, can't remember the other spot.....Skansen?
We have the Rick Steves book as well - love it. They also have Rick Steves videos on Hulu that are good.
Looking forward to your next installment!