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A Duck flies north - to Sweden and Norway

OZDUCK

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The two flights to get to Stockholm went pretty well with only a few bumps - mainly over the Bay of Bengal. It always seems to be bumpy there and it is where I was most scared on a plane. Flying through a monsoon at night on a British Caledonia DC8 in 1976. Plenty of big drops twists and shakes.

For the fourth time on this trip QR changed our seats to put us together in the middle row. We changed them back to window seats at check in. To teach us a lesson the flight was then mostly above clouds. I had the back facing suite and, as other people have said, after takeoff you don't really notice the difference. My only problem was getting so relaxed and forgetting which way things would move on touch down and thus depositing my camera in the aisle - but no damage was done.

I really like the suites except for the foot room. I am 6' 3" - old money - and my toes were a bit squashed until I reclined.That vent is in the wrong place.

I never tried it in bed mode but I think it might be a bit squishy then as well.

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The view of my fellow pax I liked best

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The menu for Sin - Doha

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I started with the mezze

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followed by the noodles. They were fine but really didn't take my fancy that much and I left a few noodles behind.

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I haven't had much Austrian wine before so I tried this one. I will not be rushing back to try it again. It was pretty insipid.

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I was going to try their 'gourmet' ice cream but they told me they had run out of it. However, they told my wife that it had melted ---?

The J cabin was barely 25% occupied.

We spent about 90 minutes in the lounge in Doha and it was very quiet. I doubt if it was filled to much over 15% capacity. You can see how empty it was.

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OZDUCK

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The flight from Doha to Stockholm was just over 6 1/2 hours. There were only 12 pax in J for this leg. The window shades were lowered about halfway there. Nothing was said when we popped ours up about half way - no-one was near us and the setting sun was on the other side of the plane.

We flew over some (in)famous places like Baghdad and Mosul. I hadn't really realised how rugged the country was in the Caucasus area.

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The menu

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A little taste of beef to start - I had already eaten the garnish

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I had the carrot and coconut soup. It was delicious. The stain on my napkin was from me bouncing the meatball starter into my lap.

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I tried to order the veal but it had run out so I had the pasta which was actually also very nice

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A few hours later I had the date and walnut pudding which was also very good. The catering on this leg was excellent except for the missing veal.

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We flew over Eastern Europe and crossed over the Baltic near Riga but again it was mostly cloudy. As we tracked into Stockholm from the north we passed over some lovely wetlands. This was at about 20:45 and there was still plenty of light about.

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Just before touchdown

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Interestingly, on takeoff from Doha they slaved all the monitors to the tail camera view. It was fine for us but some nervous flyers may have not liked it.
 

OZDUCK

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As we arrived pretty late we stayed at an airport hotel. It was about 1/2 the price of the city centre ones and offered a free shuttle transfer. The rooms were fine if small. But check-in & out was rapid. You checked in & out on-line and your card was waiting on the front desk to be picked-up thus avoiding the queue. At checkout you just threw the room card in a box. While basic, the hotel offered an excellent breakfast.

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The City Hall

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Around Gamla stan - the 'Old town'.

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The cruise ships disgorge people in floods.

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Who said I can't speak Swedish?

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The correct sign for a Science Fiction bookstore.

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OZDUCK

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Drottning Slott. Construction began in 1662 in the Renaissance style. Many baroque features were added plus a bit of redesign in the 19th century. Since 1777 it has belonged to the Swedish State and not the reigning monarch. The Royal family is "allowed" occupy part of the palace.

It does not have the magnificence of, say, the Wurzburg Residence but it has not been bombed out or burnt down so there are no reproductions. The tour guide also made the point, several times, that what looks like gold is gold.

As you approach it

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The main staircase area

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Typical ceilings

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The Queens formal bedchamber

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The library, it still contains over 4,000 of the original books. The Queen selected the books with help of Carl Linnaeus - "the father of modern taxonomy"

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The view out the front of the palace

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And out the back. Looking over the Baroque Garden

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Views of the rear of the palace

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OZDUCK

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A few more of the palace.

The porcelain 'Chinese ' stove- made in Russia

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These three paintings are of, from r - l, Queen Victoria, King Oscar 1 of Sweden and Napoleons nephew, and Emperor of France, Napoleon 111. King Oscar 1 was the son of Marshall Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's Marshalls, who had been 'elected, to the position of King due to the lack of a heir of the Wasa dynasty. Apparently Oscar 1 was not respected around Europe as he was not of 'real' Royal descent. So his wife wrote to the major monarchs of Europe asking for portraits of a nominated size. They were then arranged in this room so her husband could be seen with 'his' Royal equals.

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Next to the Baroque Garden is an English Garden. It can be easily recognised by its lack of formality and the use of long sweeps of grass and water features.

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OZDUCK

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The 'Vasa". If you intend to go to the museum do it as early as possible. We got there about 0915 and got in straight away and chad a 'generally, uncrowded look for about 1/2 an hour. After that the crowds poured in. When we left a couple of hours later there were about 10 - 30 tour buses lined up plus more circling the block. Stockholm, in general seemed to have more tourists than I thought it would. I guess the 'Baltic Cruise' loop is part of the cause.

As most of you know the story of this ill-fated ship I will add little commentary.

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Some of the carvings from the ship. They have been restored to the original colours except for the ''brown' parts

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The stern - as is

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And as was. It was certainly not a monochrome vessel.

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Pretty much the state we saw it in 1976- being spayed with polyethylene glycol. It was basically in a big shed in those days. The new museum was built in the 1990's.

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