Sunday, April 4

City Hall Tower

Our hotel room in Stockholm looks out across Riddarfjarden Bay, part of the city's inner harbour. City Hall, an imposing red brick building, dominates the view. Its fascade is dominated by a copper crowned tower, rising 106 metres above the harbour. More than 2.5 million bricks were used to construct the tower.

This morning, thanks to daylight-saving enhanced jet lag, I woke rather early. While Garry slept I ventured out to walk around City Hall. By chance I came upon the entrance to its main tower. The queue was short despite signs warning that only 30 people could ascend at any time. On impulse I decided to climb its 365 steps to the outdoor carillon.

I'm glad I made the effort. The view from the top was stunning, taking in the city's ice-choked waterways and the jagged skyline of Gamla Stan (old town). Stockholm's many canals and islands also become very apparent from this vantage point.

However, perhaps the most unexpected sight came into view two-third the way up the tower. In a large room I came across a 7.5 metre tall statue of St Erik, the patron saint of Stockholm. It was originally built to sit in the carillon's open platform. However, the architect Ragnar Ostberg changes his plans and the statue remains stranded in its current location.

Later, after descending the tower, I discovered that the crowd waiting to climb had grown to form a long line requiring a wait of almost an hour. Jet lag has served me well.

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