Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Scenes from Stockholm

Stockholm was nothing short of fabulous this past weekend. Again, this was one of those places I'd never really thought of visiting until I moved to London, but I'm so glad we did. Autumn is a lovely time to go: the leaves are turning a beautiful burnt orange, there's a chill (maybe a bit too much) in the air, and there's still a good amount of sunshine. And the Swedish people were so polite and helpful and almost everyone we met spoke perfect English. We didn't research a ton before going...we hardly ever do when we the week before we just picked out the top places we'd want to visit. And we easily got through all of the major sites we wanted to see in two days without rushing.. Here's a look at our weekend tour...
The view from the green island of Djurgarden, the park where the royals used to hunt. It's home to lots of  historical buildings and monuments, galleries and museums like the famous Vasa Museum. You can take the overground train from the city centre to Djurgarden, although the price is a little steep at £4 one way. 
Posing near the water in Djurgarden and loving the sunshine. All of the gardens are perfectly manicured. This was our first stop on the Stockhom tour before heading into the Vasa Museum, which houses the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world.
After the Vasa Museum we took a long walk in  the Djurgarden park. It's so green and lush and there are great views of the water and the other side of the city from every angle. 
These are the gorgeous streets in Gamla Stan, the old city which is filled with chocolate shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques. We spent hours walking through the streets and checking out the cafes and stores along the way. 

I love the colourful buildings in Gamla Stan which remind me so much of the buildings in Amsterdam. They're each so different, it's like a collage!
This was on our first night...we went to dinner in Gamla Stan and you have to walk across the bridge from the main part of town. Luckily we caught the end of this gorgeous sunset on the way. 
Loving the crisp, cool air on our way to dinner. Also feeling very relaxed after a little nap...we were so tired from a day of sightseeing!
We booked ahead at this lovely restaurant called Den Glydene Freden. It serves up fancy Swedish food and came highly recommended by our hotel (and TripAdvisor!). The atmosphere was cosy and upscale and the food was really delicious. Jim had a lamb shank and I had vegetarian meatballs, yum!
After dinner we headed back towards Slussen, on the other side of the bridge, where we popped into the Ice Bar at the Nordic Sea Hotel. I'd never been to one before although they have them in many cities around the world. It was damn cold but a really cool experience...and the cosmopolitan served in a frozen glass was fabulous.
This was on our second day...we went back to the Royal Palace where we'd been on the first day as well. You can buy at ticket for about £15 that gets you into three museums: the royal apartments, the treasury (pretty small for a treasury!) and the Tre Kronor (which houses artifacts from the palace that burned down before this new one was built).
After the museum tour we went to Sodermalm which is the more eclectic  neighbourhoody part of town. I found it really calming to walk around here as opposed to Gamla Stan, which is much more touristy  There are lots of vintage boutiques shops and nice looking restaurants (and people!). And there is a lovely park near Urban Deli shown above. where you can hang out and enjoy the sun.
I'd read about Urban Deli in a booklet from our hotel. It's a laid back restaurant and grocery store with a bit of an edge (loud music, hipster waiters) and it had a good selection of food (that is, if you like meat). I found that my selection was limited at a lot of restaurants since I don't eat red meat. But I did have a delicious mozzarella burrata dish here and perfectly seasoned french fries.
And lastly, a beautiful view of Gamla Stan and the main island from Sodermalm. And that was the end of our Stockholm tour!

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