Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Escape: The Islands around Stockholm

After just a short two hours on the boat, we found ourselves on the beautiful island Sandham in the archipelago around Stockholm. Although a few people left the boat in Sandham's port with us, most of the Stockholmers retreated to their red-colored weekend cabins and when we set off on a walk around the island we didn't meet anybody on the trek and had the forest and beaches to ourselves. On the forest ground, blueberries were growing, the sun was shining and the water was crystal blue along the shore. 

In the warming light the colors were so strong, it felt like walking through a postcard. The summer cabins of the Stockholmers were painted in strong colors, some red or blue or turquoise colored and the lilacs were blooming and giving the air a summery and flowery scent. 

It felt very Swedish and "Michel Lönneberga"-like, just like out of one of our beloved children books.

We had a typical "fika" with a cinnamon roll while waiting for the boat to take us back to Stockholm. With about 30 € for the return trip to Sandham, this place is definitely worth the effort of coming out there on a weekend trip to Stockholm. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Weekend Escape: Stockholm

Last weekend I eventually got to visit my brother in Stockholm where he is spending his Erasmus year. We had given our parents plane tickets for Christmas so after work on Friday I went to the airport with my parents to spend a long weekend with my brother. Although my parents used to and still travel a lot, it was kind of funny to see how taking plane is not as normal and daily routine anymore as it is to me.

Stockholm has immediately won my heart - upon arrival, the city was lit in a warm evening light that didn't fade until almost midnight. With the abundance of water and the pastel-colored buildings of the old town, the reflections were simply beautiful. The streets were crowded until the after-hours since it still felt like early evening time although it was close to midnight.

We stayed at Scandic Hotel in Södermalm, a very hip and stylish district which is great for people watching. A drink at the hotel terrace bar gives you quite the look of Stockholm hipsters - young, creative, lots of tattoos, very well dressed and also very beautiful people sipping a craft beer or a glass of champagne in the sun.

Crossing the water one arrives in Gamla Stan, the district where the old town and the royal palace is located. The water channels and the terra-cotta-colored buildings give it quite a mediterranean feeling, while the royal palace and the parliament in their architecture remind you of your northern location. I loved strolling through the narrow alleys of the old town, peeking into shop windows of Swedisch design or a small gallery. A few turns later you would find yourself down at the water or on a grand plaza in front of a majestic royal building.

We also went to visit the Stathuset, the town hall where the Nobel Prize Banquet is held. Thanks to our amazing guide it was a really fun and interesting tour. They even have the porcelain dishes for the banquet on display and the stairs down to the hall have been adapted in their size and hight for women wearing high heels and long gowns, this architect was a genius and had a very clever wife ;)

Another great place to go is the Fotografiska Stockholm Museum with top-notch photography exhibitions and a really great café with great views over the water and the Stockholm skyline.

We had great food at 17 Österlanggatan, a young and stylish restaurant with tuna burgers and tartar de boeuf on the menu. Unfortunately, the service was a bit slow and our waiter not the nicest, however, since the food was really good, I'd still recommend the place.

And since I could't narrow the pictures down, a few more from our walk through Gamla Stan....