Stockholm was our first stop in Sweden after leaving London. It was also the first place we realised the extent of the kindness of the Swedes. It was in Stockholm that I fell in love with both Sweden and her people.
We arrived in Stockholm quite late at night (it’s a LOOONG bus ride from Skavsta airport!), only to realise that we had no clue how to get to our hotel or even where it was! We asked our bus driver who happily directed us as to where we could confirm which bus to take, along with how we would go about buying the tickets. Our next bus arrived and the bus driver made a special stop close to the hotel so that our walk with bags was a bit shorter. Amazing.
In Stockholm we stayed at Hotel Skeppsholmen. This hotel has beautiful rooms, beautiful views, has a great location and AMAZING breakfast! Instead of butter with your bread you get whipped butter, which tastes like the beautiful love child of butter and cream: light and fluffy like whipped cream, but with the taste of butter. And the salmon, oh the salmon! Huge platters of fresh gravadlax every morning. The best we had our whole trip!
Our first morning in Stockholm we made our way to Gamla Stan, the old city. I could happily spend days wandering through the beautiful cobbled streets staring at every piece of adorable Elk, Moose and Viking curio. I also managed to drag ET into one or two home stores where we found the most beautiful Nordic Ware bundt tin. I would have loved to bring one home, but they are cast iron and our luggage was already overweight. My heart still breaks a little looking at this picture.
We had arranged to meet up with my big little brother outside the palace, as he had flown in from London to spend a few days with us. It just so happened, that our meeting time coincided with the changing of the guards. It turned out that this only happens once or twice a week! It was very interesting: they communicate with each other through a series of stamps while they’re on duty. Definitely worth trying to catch this.
We went on the free walking tour of Gamla Stan that afternoon. Really interesting and a great guide! We visited the narrowest street in Gamla Stan, the Nobel Museum, the statue of George and the Dragon and learned about the different styles of buildings and what to look out for when wandering the streets.
Our second day in Stockholm we made our way to Skansen. It’s a combination of a cultural museum and a zoo. So much fun! I wanted to skip the cultural part and head over to the zoo, but my brother and ET had other plans. Thank goodness they did, because we found this old fashioned bagariet (bakery) in amongst the collection of buildings from Sweden’s history.
When we got to the zoo part we saw our first Reindeer and Elk, as well as mountain lions and wolves! On our way out of Skansen we stopped at a quaint restaurant across the road from the entrance where I had traditional Swedish meatballs and Lingon berry sauce. Delish and perfect for the cold weather.
Next stop for the day was the Vasa Museet. A museum built around a ship that never made it out of Stockholm harbour, but was almost perfectly preserved by the brackish water. Before going, I didn’t see how I could be interested in walking around some sunken ship for an hour. The museum, however showed me otherwise. The detail on the ship is exquisite and the guides along with the plaques at each display provide a rich background and story to the ship from both a historical and scientific perspective.
I would have loved to have spent more time in Stockholm exploring the city itself. We spent three days on just two of the islands (Gamla Stan and Skansen), but I don’t regret it for a second. I’ll just have to start planning my return trip. Although next time I think it’ll be in Summer!