Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stockholm travel diary.

Stockholm is a fascinating city. It might be far in the north, it might be expensive and it might be cold and without sun, but it has become part of my top 3 favorites. 5 days are enough to discover Stockholm's islands and visit some unusual places, but be prepared with comfortable shoes.

There are 3 reasons why I found Stockholm fascinating.
First, it is the place where you can see parking for baby strollers, many fathers walking with their children and generally many people being so much into sports and healthy lifestyle. People jog all day long and everywhere. There is also very much attention drowned to the equality of rights for women and men and the social system is very developed. That is why the state imposed mandatory paternal maternity for fathers, allowing the employees a payed one hour of sports, encouraging active health style.
Second, it is a city of design and style. The laconic Swedish design. Honestly, it is a pleasure to walk around Stockholm. People are well dressed and well mannered like they are all going to fashionable events. Not that it would count so much, but generally people are the face of their country. And I have to admit Sweden (Stockholm) has such a beautiful face!
And third, as a tradition already happening almost every year, Stockholm hosted my 25th birthday! And these memories will always stay in my heart.

This post covers my 3 visits to Stockholm from March to May. I must say that Stockholm was still cold in May as it has been in March and even more beautiful in April, with all those pink blossomed trees around. It's recommended to discover Sweden during summer. 
(visited in Spring 2015)

Gamla Stan 
As well as being home to the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, and the Riddarholm church, Gamla stan also boasts Kungliga slottet, Sweden's baroque Royal Palace and plenty of other places. It has become a tourist attraction as the charm of its medieval, Renaissance architecture and later additions have been valued by later generations. There are plenty streets to walk along this historic island. 
Tip: go to the Stortorget square and enjoy a coffee right there. 
Tip: the iconic buildings no. 18 and 20 are positioned in the same square. Juuuust perfect for family photos!!

1. The Vasa Museum was our first visited museum in Stockholm and is a local must. It was the first time experiencing a visit to a museum where you can observe an only item, but what an item! The Vasa is a ship which sank in 1628 and was brought to surface after 333 years. Entirely preserved as it looked in the 15th century, the Vasa is interesting to be observed as it was fully recovered to initial state, object by object, and was afterwards moved to the preservation museum. Start your visit with the documentary screening about the history, building and exhavating the ship for a better understanding.  

2. Fotografiska Museum 
The Swedish Museum of Photography has become one of my favourite museums in Stockholm. We have visited the Ewa Stackelberg Photograms and the provocative exhibition of Andreas Serrano Redemption. It is a place of exhibitions proving creativity which goes beyond limits. Even for non-amateurs of photography, depending on the exhibitions, it is an unconventional place. The 'Best of the year' exhibition was impressive and eye-opening. Plus it has a cafe/restaurant giving fantastic views over the Swedish capital. Worth paying a visit for around 2 hours.

3. The Nobel Museum is definitely a must! Being impressed by the captivating interior, I think it is a place for broadening the general culture about the well known Nobel prizes and Nobel laureated together with their inventions. The audio guide is this sense will make the visit be logically organized and help with lots of information. The Exhibition presents Alfred Nobel as a person, inventor and idealist and not only sponsor to the international perspective of Nobel prizes. Beside this there is a behind the scene small exhibition presenting some of the most genius inventors and a thing belonging to the, which either describe, belonged or imitates the creation of the inventor. There is also an overview per decades of the inventions in all the domains of the Nobel awards. The Nobel Museum opened in 2001 and is situated in Gamla Stan, in the most beautiful location, near the famous colorful buildings no.18 and 20-the symbols of Stockholm. You might take the chance, as we did, and visit the museum for free on every Tuesday from 5 to 8 pm and be sure to come with a full battery on your phone for the online audio guide. Unfortunately my camera discharged to the moment visiting the museum, so no available photos from inside.

4. The Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde (or Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde). You will not find this recommendation in any place. A local recommended us and I found this place to be the most romantic park in Stockholm. the museum itself is not worth, I guess, we didn't even entered, but who knows? Read more on their site.

5. Sodermalm is the creative part of the city. It is full of people and it's very trendy everywhere. This neighborhood offers a myriad of vintage stores, eclectic shops, Swedish fashion, galleries and design stores, mixed with an abundance of places to eat and drink. Södermalm was ranked as the "coolest" neighbourhood in Europe in Vogue magazine in September 2014. Convincing?

6. The Royal Palace. 
The Palace is open to the public and offers no less than five museums. The Palace was largely built during the eighteenth century in the Italian Baroque style. It is not for sure that you meet the royal family here, but the change of the guards are very popular, and it is located in the city center, so it is hard to avoid to at least see it.

Where to eat? 
Eating in Stockholm is more expensive in any way. But there are some places which I liked and I think I should recommend. If you are a fan of Jamie Oliver, pay a visit to try some Jamie Oliver Bar's food. The food itself might not be as delicious as one could imagine, but I liked the interiors and the personalized details, all these marketing stamps "Jamie Oliver" on every detail. Intriguing thought.
Definitely try the John Chris coffee. The location is right on the tourist spot, so it's very convenient to go for a morning coffee, a breakfast or a salad (with free re-fill for salads, how cool is that, ha?).
Try the espresso house or the local networks of coffee, both which I liked. Having a long fika is a local must, so enjoy long discussion with a large latte (and it's really large).

Taking the cruise boat from Riga or Tallinn to Stockholm, it is a must trying the morning and dinner buffets on the boat. It is also quite convenient to take the breakfast on the cruise. Do not forget to enjoy the view over the Stockholm islands in the morning, the view is fantastic! And the evening buffet... mmm... it is simply enormous! So many types of food in one buffet I have never seen in my life. To see and die :)

From Tallinn we took a cruise ferry to get to Stockholm operated by Tallink, which is an unusual experience. The huge ferry is providing a cruise night with entertainment for all ages and tastes and also provides a cabin for sleep

Location in Stockholm is as usually very important. Stockholm is a very big city and the metro or any kinds of transportation have their costs. Better invest in your living. You will have a proper view from the balcony and a pleasant walk every morning to your tourist destinations. We were lucky to be hosted at our friend's house and we mostly walked and used the metro extremely few times.
Ah, already missing Stockholm!

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