For many years I have wanted to visit Sweden. After all, what’s not to like from the country that has blessed us all with Abba, Bjorn Borg, Wallander, Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Peter Hoeg (Miss Smilla), Pippi Longstocking, the Nobel Prize, Ikea, Saab, Volvo, H&M, Absolut, Ingmar Bergman and so on.
Harvey and I arrived in Stockholm last night and caught the Arlande Express train in to the city centre. It was so luxurious I worried we were in First Class. It had lovely wooden trim, shutters and the seats were like arm chairs. It was easy to find the station, buy tickets and board the train. It only took 20 minutes to arrive in the centre of Stockholm and it was then a 10 minute walk to our hotel. I would definitely recommend it as a way to get to the City centre from the airport. So far we are very happy with the hotel as it is stylish and comfortable. In the evening this area is part of the bar but by day you can enjoy lunch or breakfast here. Breakfast is included in our room rate so we ate our fill and I had a 3 course breakfast. Course one was muesli with mango yogurt, fresh melon, pineapple, pink grapefruit and orange with coffee. Course 2 was a small sausage, peppers, a potato, scrambled egg, cornichons, sprouts, cucumber, 2 types of herring, beetroot, tuna, smoked salmon, turkey and ham. Course 3 was 2 crisp breads, 3 slices of cheese, sprouts, cornichons, beetroot and tuna. They were very small portions of each but it added up to one huge breakfast, the intention of which was to keep me going all day. Which it did ! Harvey also had multiple courses. It was drizzling when we left the hotel so we went shopping for a bit. Scandinavia is renowned for its design and there were so many beautiful shops to look in. This was one of my favourites. If I had more space in my luggage our blankets at home would have been upgraded for sure. Moomins. A huge sweet shop.I have been enjoying the language here but I have no idea what most of it means. A Puffar Jordgubb anyone?
Chocolate is more my temptation than sweets but I didn’t have anything although Harvey enjoyed a bag of sweets. We shopped and pottered about and then ended up in Gamla Stan, the Medieval part of Stockholm. To get in to Gamla Stan, which is on one of Stockholm’s 14 Islands, you go over a bridge and another small island.
At this time of year, Gamla Stan is very peaceful. We wandered up and down most of the little alleyways. It was such a charming place. The only stop we made all day was for a coffee in Grandens Cafe. This was our little table. The sun popped out, briefly. Very briefly. Most of the shops were fairly touristy but there were also many charming ones such as this handmade sandal shop. One of the more tasteful touristy shops. Mainly we enjoyed being outside and looking at the buildings or cobbled streets.
This is Marten Trotzig’s Grand, the narrowest street in Stockholm and only 90cm across. We came to the end of Gamla Stan, admired the views towards the archipelago and then wandered back to the city centre through different streets in Gamla Stan.
One of many charming shops; this one sold wonderful fabrics. We walked up to the Royal Palace and this is the view towards the archipelago. This is such a picturesque city. The statues in recesses in the palace walls were very detailed and I thought it was a shame they were so high up it was hard to see them clearly. Our last stop in Gamla Stan was Sotortorget, the city square.
Hard to imagine this quaint little square was once the scene of a gruesome bloodbath; in 1520, 80-90 people were executed here.
Rather than risk being caught in what looked like a heavy downpour, we returned to the city centre and pottered about in and out of shops. This is Hotorget, a square with a fruit and vegetable market in it.
All the stalls sold the same limited range of fresh produce. Lingonberries Mushrooms. After a relax in the hotel we went out for an early supper. We followed one of the recommendations in the guide book and went to Nalen Restaurang because the guide book said it was reasonable price wise but mainly because it serves classic Swedish food.
It was AMAZING !!!!
We were given a complimentary mini starter of veal sausage on carrot puree and an interesting bread and crispbread selection with 2 butters: one was normal and the other had been fried and then whipped. The flavour was incredible. This was ok. This was fantastic. We shared a starter of traditional Swedish food. The portions were tiny and when we cut them in half, there was a mouthful of each piece each but it was a fun way to sample a range of food. There was pickled herring on potato, smoked reindeer with horseradish, prawn mayonnaise on rye bread, a cheese pie with roe and some smoked salmon in a dill sauce (Gravadlax). We both enjoyed them all. I was very proud of Harvey because he tried everything and enjoyed it all too. I doubt many 12 years olds would be so open minded about trying so many new foods. He was delightful company and he looked very handsome in his new shirt and trousers we bought in the enormous H&M in the centre of Stockholm. Our main was Swedish meatballs with a cream sauce and perfectly smooth mashed potatoes. Served with cucumber and lingonberries. Every mouthful was an absolute pleasure. The setting was cosy and lively but not too loud, the service was informative and friendly and there was actually nothing I could have improved in any way. Even the bill wasn’t too horrendous although those big numbers always make me panic a bit. So by no means a bargain but for the quality and the pleasure, it was worth every
So far Stockholm has been delightful and just as interesting and charming as I was expecting. I should have visited years ago.
Harvey is choosing what we do tomorrow so I am getting our swimming things prepared as a Harvey choice will involve swimming and animals.