I first visited Stockholm in Spring 2018, practically the same dates as this year, although this time we were there for a very different reason.
In May 2018 we did the usual tourist trips ( http://perpetually49.com/stockholm-in-the-spring/). We were lucky again with the weather and this time we spent the majority of the time walking in the easily accessible parks and riverside trails seeing a different side to the city.
We stayed in the suburb of Aspudden, the local Metro trains made travelling around the city very easy.
A new find was the park known as Vinterviken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinterviken).
Originally the site of Alfred Nobel’s dynamite factory it now hosts really good cafés and a restaurant area, parks, small lakes, gardens. Allotments, attended to by local inhabitants, in the park are open to the public (as long as they do not pick the produce and remember to keep the gates closed to keep the deer away!). In our 10 days we must have visited 4 times, it is a very popular area for family gatherings and walks yet never appeared crowded.
My tourist guide (Lonely Planet) had an 8Km walk along the water’s edge in the city which we followed one evening, it was not difficult although had a couple of ‘uphill’ sections. It meandered through historic houses and views of the city, then alongside the water’s edge of Gamla Stan, passing the Royal Palace, the Medeltidsmusset, over the Noroboro (north Bridge) to Steppsholem. This is one of the many small islands that are part of the city and it led onto the islet of Kastelholmen to view the Kastellet Fortress.
All the time enjoying the panoramic views across the water. Once we had finished we realised – the walk was not a circular route and we then had a 4Km walk back to our restaurant for dinner (‘could have thought that one through’ I said).
Now, my husband loves a museum and is always determined to read every printed word on every display and I always have to ‘manage’ such visits in order not to be the last visitor at closing time. The museum of choice for this visit was the Medeltidsmusset (https://medeltidsmuseet.stockholm.se/in-english/). This small area of the city’s history was only discovered when the site was being prepared as a car park – the diggers unearthed preserved city walls! A museum depicting medieval life was constructed and opened to the public. We invested in the audio guide – which was very informative so I would recommend it. The cost was small and as entrance to the building is free I felt we had contributed. The added bonus of the audio guide was that my husband had to keep up with me as we had one machine with a dual set of earphones (!). We were in and out in just over an hour – a small but very interesting museum.
Nearby was an outdoor café with seating overlooking the water so purchasing coffee and cake we sat to watch what we thought was a local festival – it was the mid-point of the annual Stockholm Marathon. So we leisurely watched both energetic runners and the strollers before moving on.
Whilst we did see plenty that was that was new to us we also re-visited areas that had impressed us on our previous visit and one of those was ‘Meatballs for the People’. As suggested by its name this restaurant’s focus is the national dish – meatballs. Again, lunch was tasty and I suspect this is somewhere we will visit every time. http://meatball.se/en-se I would recommend going at lunchtime, evenings are very popular and the queue is literally out on the pavement.
Another re-visit was to the Fotogrfiska, the photography museum in the city https://www.fotografiska.com/. The main exhibition was a selection of the work of Jesper Waldersten – not known to me although I did find it interesting https://www.fotografiska.com/sto/en/news/jesper-waldersten-all-over/. There are also smaller exhibitions and visiting the museum café is very worthwhile, try to obtain a seat near the windows and watch the boats pass as you eat delicious traditional foods.
Stockholm is very much an island city so you will not be surprised to find that sight-seeing by boat is very popular and readily available.
Last year we took the short trip to the royal palace at Drottningholm and this year we decided to travel further afield taking a 2.5 hour round trip along the Stockholm Archiplelago to Vaxholm. The day was sunny and the water calm so even ‘seasick’ husband managed to relax and enjoy the journey, helped by listening to the guide using the Tannoy, pointing areas of interest and snippets of local history. It was possible to leave the boat at Vaxholm and return later in the day.
From what we could see the area certainly looked worth a visit – we have added it to our list for next time.
As well as the many parks easily accessible from Aspudden there were also the small islands to explore and one that we all enjoyed was the island of Langholmen. An easy walk from the Hornstull metro station the island once housed a large prison (currently a hostel and museum) although now a popular site for both locals and tourists.
There are walks, water, bathing, boats and cafes. On a warm sunny day there is nowhere better, and I am guessing that a brisk walk along its shores in the winter is also a joy.
Sweden’s National Day is June 6th and is celebrated with parades, displays of national dress and the Royal family attending a public event in the open-air museum at Skansen. The city was busy that day but in a good humoured and friendly way.
And the main reason we had dashed to Stockholm – our first grandchild – and with no bias (?) I can say he is an absolute cutie.