:I fell in love with Stockholm: so beautiful, rich of art and museums, the kindness of people, the islands and the midnight sun! All things that made me fall in love with this multicultural and multi-faced city. The idea to visit Stockholm came last month, my father wanted to give me as birthday present a mobile phone but I do not like them very much so I changed his mind and asked him if he could travel with me and I opted for Stockholm. At the beginning he was not much convinced because he does not like cold weather but after having thought well, he agreed. We booked everything on internet: the hotel, the flights, the bus from Skavsta to Stockholm and vice-versa, some tickets of the museums etc; we had also to change the money since in Sweden they use the Svensk Krona (Swedish Crown) but we soon understood how it worked 🙂 With us (my father and me) came also my cousin that wanted to visit Stockholm and do shopping as well. Our flight was in the morning and we arrived in Sweden at 12:30 more or less. The plane landed in Skavsta airport which is 1:30 hours away from Stockholm, out of the airport there was the Flybussarna bus, a swedish bus company that bring people from the airports to the city centre, that was waiting for us. The trip was quite long but we could taste a wild piece of Sweden! Everything around us was green: vast green fields with cows, sheeps and the typical red houses of the northern Europe. It seemed so peaceful there. On the bus we found a Nigerian that talked Italian since he lived here for a while and he told us some information about Sweden. He said that during winter the lake and the sea in Stockholm freeze and cars can also pass on it, the ice does not break!!
When we arrived in Stockholm we had hard time before finding the right way to our hotel but luckily we were helped by the underground guards. The hotel’s nearest underground stop was named Rådmansgatan, it’s an hard name to pronunce! I still have problems now to say it, after having heard it pronunced several times by the metro’s voice. We made our way to the hotel that is located in Tulegatan and the name is Birger Jarl. Birger Jarl was the founder of Stockholm city, he was the one who subscribed the first document that witnessed the birth of the city. The room where we stayed was chess-themed: the floor was black and white as well as the wall. There were 2 beds: one was little and the other one big since it was a double-bed. Besides the breakfast, our hotel also offers a restaurant but it was not included in the price of our room. After having unpacked our luggage and settled in the room, we started exploring the city. In the streets there were some trucks with some students in them that was celebrating with loud music. At first we could not understand but then we got to know that the day after would have been Sweden’s national day and for this reason many people were celebrating so did the students. We wandered around until we reached a bridge so we went up there and took some photos. Nearby there is also a big square, I think it’s called Hotorget square just like the metro stop and there were some stands that were selling fruits and vegetables and a big blue theatre.
I must admit that, even if we had a long trip on that day, we wandered a lot until we reached the port of Stockholm. There’s a very nice park in front of it that my cousin liked very much. I must say that Stockholm’s full of parks, everywhere you go you find one and the inhabitants of Stockholm love them! There’s always a family or a group of friends picnicking in a park, everyday and at every moment of the day. Near the sea there were several hotels, many of them were 5 starts and very expensive. This area of the town was built in order to look like Paris, infact if you see from the sea it reminds you a lot of the french capital. Nearby there’s also the royal theatre called in Swedish Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern that is used for “spoken drama“. It was built in 1788 by Fredrik Lilljekvist in Art Noveau style. Stromma, a swedish boat company, has its headquarter here: many tourist boats depart from here towards Vaxholm, Angso and many other islands of the Stockholm’s archipelago or there are little boats that make tours of Stockholm. You can also walk a little near the sea on the promenade where you can find nice pubs and bars.
We also had an unexpected encounter: the swedish national hockey team. Sweden is famous for its hockey team, it’s one of the strongest in the world and we were lucky to have seen them! Swedes often quarrel with Finns about which is the best hockey team in the world; hockey in Sweden is a bit like football in Italy, everyone’s obsessed with it ahaha 🙂
We passed out afternoon wandering around…before going back to the hotel we bought something to eat and stayed in our room relaxing a bit. In the evening we went out again (we are never tired baby) and we found out that the sun never goes down in summer, the so called Midnight Sun. My god, it was sooo beautiful. Even at 23:00 the sky was still bright and I could take many photos. I really liked this Midnattssol, as Swedes call this phenomen. I never wanted to go back to the hotel because it seemed that it was always afternoon. That evening we went to Stureplan, the place where all young people gather to party. It’s said there’s the biggest disco in Sweden but I did not see it, I only saw a big open-air bar where the youngest were drinking and having fun. In the square there are big screens like the ones in New York and in London that were broadcasting some ADVs about new movies. By the way in Sweden the movies are not dubbed but only subbed, maybe that’s why they can speak english so well!!
That day, on our way back, we saw a beatiful hot-air balloon! It was so cool, I had never seen one so far. The next evenings we saw even more and they always were in the sky after the 21:00 PM, I wonder why. Well, after all it never gets dark in Sweden during summer so they can do what they want.
The day after we went to the Globen that is located on the outskirts of Stockholm, much far away from the city centre, infact we used the metro to go there. The weather was not one of the best on that day, you will see that my photos are a bit dark. The globen, better known as Ericsson Globe, is a multi-purpose plant and the biggest spherical building in the world. In 2010 they installed a kind of elevator made of 2 glass cabins that is capable of bringing 16 people up to 130 metres; we took this one and we had a great view of the whole city of Stockholm, it was really excting to see how much the elevator was going up. Near the Globen there’s the Tele2 Arena, a huge stadium used for sport events, concerts and many other things; the works finished in 2013.
Drottninggatan is the main and the most popular pedestrian street in Stockholm where you can find many different kinds of shops especially H and M: Stockholm, besides the parks, was full of these clothes shops! On this street there’s the biggest mall in Sweden that is Åhléns City. We can say that it’s like a swedish Harrods, it’s very expensive since there are only branded stuff in it. In the past the name of the street was Stora Konungsgatan that means Great King’s Street but later they changed its name to Drottninggatan that is Queen Street in honour to Queen Christina that ruled from 1632 and 1654, the years when the street was built. In the evening there were not many people walking around but during the day it was really crowded, I could not even move! At the end of the street you can reach the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan. Before leaving for Stockholm, I had searched on internet information about the attractions to see there and I found out that some years ago in this street there were 2 bombings by Islamic extremists so I was scared of being involved in something like that while I was walking around xD Near Åhléns City there’s a very huge square with a weird obelisk and a fountain in the middle, I remember that during the night it was all brightful and there’s also a metro stop named T-Centralen. here several demonstrations and protests are held: for example when we were in Stockholm some people were demanding freedom and peace for Colombia.
A little girl climbing up?! How can it be possible? :O
The second day we decided to visit Skansen, an open-air museum where there are many typical swedish houses carried here from all over Sweden. They’re authentic old houses used by Swedes in the past, it’s a perfect reconstruction of the typical life of the Swedes. It was very interesting to see how they lived, there were also many stands that sold souvenirs or food and many people were wearing the typical swedish clothes, my cousin and I managed to take a photo with one of them. In this park you can find the typical nordic animals like the seals, the bears or the wolves. Since it was swedish national day there were some concerts where people sang typical swedish songs and almost everyone had the flag of Sweden. I wanted it so badly that my father had to buy it for me, actually I went around the park and the metro waving this flag ahaha xD This amusement park is located on Djurgården, one of the many islands that Stockholm is composed of and in order to reach it we took the tram number 7 and in 15 minutes we reached the destination. We had a ticket that was valid for 3 days and we could take every kinds of public transport except for boats, it’s a very good solution if you intend to visit the whole city of Stockholm.
In the evening, after eating, we used to walk around the city, in this way we found out a lot of beautiful places like the Stockholms Stadshus (Stockholm’s Town Hall) that offers a wonderful view of the city; in the evening it’s even more beautiful because there’s a magic atmosphere thanks to the sun that never goes down, there’s an endless sunset on the city. The town hall is located on Kungsholmen, an island on the west part of the city, facing the Mälaren lake. The building contains offices, a luxury restaurant, celebration rooms and the banquet room of the Nobel prizes. The town hall was built by the swedish architect Ragnar Östberg who was inspired by the italian renaissance palaces but he mixed the italian style with the typical swedish style. The works started in 1911 and finished in 1923. You can also book a guided visit of the town hall that explains you a lot about the architect and the architectural style by paying, if I remember correctly, 15€ but you can simply visit the tower paying 5€ and you will have a great view of the city. We went there in the evening so we did not have the chance to go to the tower but the view was wonderful the same even though it was very windy and cold.
Now I will talk you about Gamla Stan, a part of the city of Stockholm I mentioned of throughout the article. Gamla Stan in swedish means Old Town and it was the first settlement where the inhabitants of Stockholm resided, it dates to the XIII century. It’s located on a little island embedded between Södermalm and Norrmalm and it’s composed of many little alleways and medieval streets; I must say that they were really clean, no a trace of chewing gums or paper on the streets! Gamla Stan was influenced by the German baltic gothic architectrual style, it can be seen from the church that reminded me a lot of Germany. As I said before, this was the original heart of Stockholm but with the time, also due to plague’s epidemics, the city grew bigger and people started moving from Gamla Stan to the other islands that Stockholm is formed from. In Gamla Stan you can find also the Nobel Museum and the narrowest alleway in Sweden, it’s called Mårten Trotzigs gränd, there’s also an hotel with the same name nearby. If you will ever visit Stockholm, I suggest you to buy souvenirs here because there are so many shops that sell nice and cheap stuff: I bought the typical viking hat with the horns and long blonde pigtails xD To have a great view of the city I suggest to go to a street called Fjallgatan, located on Södermalm. I went there in the evening and it was wonderful, I could see the whole Gamla Stan and the midnight sun made it even more beautiful.
The most famous square located in the heart of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, there are some very nice typical swedish house and nearby there’s also the Stockholm’s stock exchange, Börshuset in swedish . In 1520 on this square it took place the Stockholm’s massacre, a repressive action against Swedish nobles caused by Christian II of Denmark. Stortorget is also well-known for its beautiful christmas markets, similar to ones that are in Germany and Czech Republic. When first we visited this suqare was the swedish national day and for this reason it was crowded by people and also the bars and pubs were full of people, there were so many swedish flags around (I had one too :D).
Fika is a swedish noun and verb that basically means drinking coffee and it’s usually accompanied by another sweeter drink such as juice or lemonade. It’s a social instution in Sweden and an occasion for Swedes to stay together and socialize. There are also swedish pastries that are referred to as fikabröd literally meaning fika-bread. In italian this word has another meaning in fact my father misunderstood ahaha xD
At the end of Drottninggatan and at the beginning of Gamla Stan you can find the Stockholms slott (Stockholm’s Castle) and the Riksdag (the Parliament House). The Stockholms slott is the official residence of the royal swedish family while the private one is located on Drottningholm, an island nearby Stockholm. When I was in Sweden the Drottningholm castle was not open to the public because there was the baptism of a member of the royal family so we gave up on the idea to visit it. The Stockholms slott was built in 1697 by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger who was inspired by the pictures of the italian architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini used for the Louvre museum in Paris and for Barberini palace in Rome. I also studied Bernini this year at school, it was really interesting, I liked his art works. The residence is one of the most important witnesses of the baroque architecture in Sweden. Before, in the same place where now there’s the residence, there was a fortress wanted by the Stockholm’s founder, Birger Jarl, in order to protect the Mälaren lake. Now I will say a few information about the Riksdag. The Riksdag is the swedish national parliament composed of more than 300 members elected every 4 years. The swedish word Riksdag is the same as the word used in german to designate the parliament, that is Reichstag, literally meaning Kingdom’s Assembly.
The third day we decided to make a tour of Stockholm by boat and to do so we went back to the port that we visited the first day, where there’s the Stromma’s headquarter. This time, instead of walking until the port, we took the underground. You must know that the Stockholm’s underground is all painted and decorated by artists and the most beautiful and the most famous is the one that we took that day, the metro towards Kungsträdgården. And yep, it’s a difficult name to pronunce, my tongue goes where it wants when I try to say this word ahaha 🙂 Kungsträdgården has also a meaning, the translation is the garden of the king, if I do not mistake. I remember that we could not find this metro stop but after asking information around, we found out that it was in the last floor, it was so windy and cold down there! The metro stop reminded me a lot of a nuclear disaster but there were also roman elements in it such as Poseidon and Roman/Greek statues. There were so looooong escalators, it seemed that we would have never arrived outside! When we finally reached the light, we found a nice second-hand market, we stopped there giving a look and then we headed towards the port.
Arrived at the port, we paid the ticket and waited for the boat to come because our guided tour would started at 11:00. After a while the boat came and we were all happy to stay sit a bit since we wandered around for day, walking xD The boat showed us the entire Stockholm: the several islands, the most interesting places, the residential areas etc The tour was avalaible in 10 languages: estonian, finnish, swedish, english, italian, french, german, japanese, chinese and others. The things that they said wwre really interesting, for example Sweden is one of the biggest counry in Europe but despite this, it’s one of the less inhabitated: 9ooo milions people in a area of 449.9oo km² and many of them are immigrants; yes, Sweden is a perfect place for these people that escape from the terrible government they have in their countries! Here even if you do not work they pay you the same, I was quite suprised when I got to know this. They explained us that the royal family is only a symbol, they do not have any powers and a princess also married his personal trainer, it’s a bit like the prince of the UK that married a normal girl 🙂 Another thing, as you maybe already understood from my article, in Stockholm there’s a lake and the sea and we pass between these two when we were on this boat, this was my first time doing such a thing ahaha 🙂 I took some photos from the boat, they are not so good because there was the glass bothering but I hope you will enjoy them the same.
A hidden place where u can get such a breathtaking glimpse of the city…
During this trip in Stockholm we also visited a nearby town called Sigtuna that is said to be the first village of Sweden. We saw some photos of the town in a swedish magazine and we liked it very much so we went to the tourist information centre near the underground stop T-Centralen and they explained us everything. First of all we had to take the pendeltåg, which is a suburban train service, towards Märsta. This town is located on the outskirts of Stockholm, the trip to Märsta took, more or less, 1 hour. Then in Märsta we had to take the bus number 570 or 575 and in 30 minutes we were there. The buses were much comfortable and cleaned, there was also a radio playing songs. Sigtuna is the place located more in the north that I have ever visited, I was so excited! I was really much far away from home, Italy was down down ahaha 🙂 But now a few information about Sigtuna. Sigtuna’s the oldest city in Sweden, it’s said to be founded in 980 on the shore of Lake Mälaren but there are no safe sources about who the founder could be: some claim that it is King Eric the Victorious while others say is King Olof Skötkonung. This little town has picturesque medieval streets full of shops, cafés and restaurants, the main street is called Stora Gatan. The houses are relatively small but very nice and made of wood. There’s also a nice café located on the lake’s shore where you can admire the beautiful landscape that is in front of your eyes. Unfortunately when we went there it was sunday so all the shops were closed but the opening times in Sweden are a bit weird: shops open at 12:00 and closes at 18:00. I do not know if it’s the same in your country but in italy shops are open all day long :O In the town there was also a little book kiosk where you can borrow some books for a while, I was so surprised, I have never seen something like that so far. And there was an haunted house, yep I’m pretty sure that house was haunted! It looked like a doll house and there was something creepy about that house, I will post the photo xD
And now I will talk you about my last trip of this beautiful holiday in Sweden, it was to Vaxholm, one of the hundred islands of the Stockholm’s archipelago. Vaxholm is the biggest and most populated island of the archipelago. In order to reach this place we had to take the boat from the port that I talked about before. This boat was like a bus, it has several stops in many islands before arriving to Vaxholm so I could enjoy well the archiepalgo’s beautiful landscape. There were little and isolated islands where you could see some houses, I wonder if people really live there or they’re just vacation houses; they were all red, the typical swedish houses. The rip took 1.30 hour, the first boat was very comfortable and modern, I could take beautiful photos from there instead the second one that brought us back, was a bit old and the windows were small so I could not take any photos and then I was tired so I just listened to the music with my cousin.
Let’s say something about Vaxholm: as I said before it’s the most inhabitated island and takes its name from the castle that was built by the king Gustav Vasa for defense purposes in a very little island in front of Vaxholm’s port. Despite its the small number of inhabitants, in Sweden they usually refer to Vaxholm as a city, Vaxholm Stad meaning city of Vaxholm. The town was founded in 1558 when the king Gustav Vasa bought some farms from a swedish nobleman. Later the town grew bigger and became famous for its spa. When we wen there, the weather was super: hot and sunny. We could enjoy in full the island and its beauty. The shops were open so we gave them a look but everything was expensive so we gave up and bought some food. We rested a bit on a bench near the port eating some peaches and then we starte walking again until we reached a little port where there were some art works by swedish artists, it was very peaceful and nice there. We explored the whole town, even the smallest streets and my cousin and I fell in love with these beautiful dolly houses! I really liked this place, I wonder how it looks during winter :O
The article is not finished yet! Before I must tell you all my experience with swedish food. I tought it was terrible and full of fish (I hate fish) but instead it’s not like this. The meat is really tasty especially the meatballs that I ordered, I love them, I was sad when I finsihed eating it. The food is delicious but the portions are small andcost much xD Anyway I think it is worth it, when you visit a country you should always taste the food 😉 My father wanted to taste also a typical dessert so I asked the owner and he suggested us a cake that he really loved when he was a kid, I really cannot remember the name though 🙁 It was a kind of ice cream filed with cream and bananas I think, my father said it was delicious 😉
Okay now it’s finished, I think I wrote much but I wanted to share with you all my experience in Sweden. I really loved this country, people were so kind and the places were beautiful. I’m happy I chose sweden as my birthday present, it was worth it and I hope that the article will convince you to visit this beautiful country 😉
Kisses by Tede :3