After a late night at Personalfest we caught the 9AM train to Stockholm to spend the weekend checking out the capital. This was the first trip to the “big city” for each of us even though we’ve flown into Stockholm a few times each now. The train makes the trip a breeze going city centre to centre in just under 90 minutes.
All the superlatives you may have heard about Stockholm being a beautiful, clean, efficient, expensive, etc. city are true. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect (what can you expect in October) we really had a nice time checking out the city and are already planning a return journey in December to check out the famous Christmas markets. Two days was just enough to give us a little taste; I think you could easily spend a week checking out the sites.
Saturday was quite grey with on and off rain, but we have Gortex so we braved the conditions and explored the city. We started by crossing Lake Mälaren into the old part of town on the island known as Gamla Stan. The old town’s narrow cobbled streets are lined with various shops, some very touristy and others not so much. It reminded me a little bit of Old Town Prague but more narrow and less twisty. The crowds were still decently large given the weather, so I assume that in the summer it must be packed. The old town is home to the Royal Palace as will as the Riksdaghuset (House of Parliament).
We kept walking and made it to Södermalm where we climbed up the cliffs to Katarinahissen which gives a nice view of the city.
As we were getting kind of cold and wet we decided to check out the nearby Stockholm Stadsmuseum which happened to be free which is always a bonus.
The museum was quite interesting; we learned about Stockholm’s development as a city on one floor and on another was a large exhibit of items related to Stockholm on film. Some of the craziest pieces were a number of props used in the Kenny Begins movie. As best we can tell it’s a fairly low budget Swedish sci-fi spoof. Many of the props were put together (quite ingeniously) out of stuff probably found at the local junk yard – notable were the phaser guns made from old hair dryers and the the costume of one of the “heroes” that looked like a bunch of waffle irons. Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the museum.
After seeing the museum we were kind of tired so we checked into the hotel and had a little rest before dinner. We ended up eating at a vegetarian restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet guide. It turned out to be a nice buffet for a reasonable (for Stockholm anyway) price with a low-key relaxed atmosphere. We commented afterwards that a place like that in Vancouver would have a line around the block, but we were able to walk right in and have our pick of tables.
The weather was much improved on Sunday so we were able to see our attraction of choice: Skansen. Skansen, opened in 1833, is the worlds first open-air museum and it has charts the history of Sweden through the ages spread out over the large hill on Djurgården. There are many buildings (all wooden of course) from various periods showing how people lived, worked and played. There is also a zoo showcasing many of the animals of Scandinavia. Skansen is well loved by Stockholmers and is the site of many celebrations throughout the year including the Christmas, Midsommar, and attendance by the Royal Family on Swedish National Day (June 6th) each year. Even though many of the exhibits were closed for the season there was plenty to do and we stayed almost until closing time. Here are some of the highlights:
After a busy day at Skansen we wandered back to the train station and caught the 17:30 train which got us home just in time for dinner.
Here are a few more images of Stockholm taken during our wandering around: