Stockholm reunion ~ Art & Fika

Here we go again. This May, I spend a few days in Sweden and have been on a diet with cardamon buns and good coffee, with ABBA songs in my head. Honey honey! A friend reunion, museum visits, time in nature, plus a ferry between the 14 islands that make up the city of Stockholm.

Center. Old and new. Voulez vous

When in doubt, start exploring Stockholm in the old town. Or Gamla Stan. Cobblestone streets in a well preserved medieval center. One highlight is the main square Stortorget, right next to the Nobel Museum. And most important, the old town also hosts several palaces, including the baroque Royal Palace.

Some narrow streets, including narrowest Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, before the sunset at the small island Riddarholmen. And time for a sweet treat with cinnamon and later, at Evert Taubes Terrass, more waterfront views of the City Hall, where each year the Nobel banquet takes place, and see the Gamla Stan in the evening lights.

After the old town, new city center and modern Stockholm starts in Norrmalm, Sergels Torg square. I liked both Kungsträdgården area and Odenplan in elegant Vasastan that seemed like parts of the cities where locals also enjoy going out. Even if I have to admit, it was colder and windier than I am used to in the middle of May, but I was grateful for the sunshine.

Djurgården & Södermalm. Chiquitita

The green island of Djurgården in the middle of the city hosts many museums, including Vasa museum and the ABBA experience. We had a lovely nature walk until open air museum Skansen, world’s oldest open-air museum, that my friend Anna recommend. Before, we paid a visit to Nordiska Museet / Nordic Museum for the Paris of the North exhibition.

Next day, Fotografiska in Södermalm island was a nice photography gallery. Before the trip at Fotografiska, we wondered in the island in the SoFon area with coffee places and concept stores.

Art & History. Dancing queen

Several metro stations have been designed by artists since the 1950s and seem an underground art gallery. I decided to visit 3 subway stations, all in center on the blue line, not crowded at all even in the evening:

  • Kungsträdgården Station – the most colorful, with red, green and white tiles, water and sculptures
  • Rådhuset / City Hall – a spectacular rusty-colored rock, giving the impression you are in a cave
  • T-Centralen – Created by Per Olof Ultved, with flowers in shades of blue for their relaxing effect on many commuters and traveler’s at the Central Train Station

Finally, last day best decision was a perfect boat sightseeing tour on Lake Mälaren and a great history lesson in the same time – Under the Bridges of Stockholm Boat Tour with Stromma. During the tour we passed sights of the city and we learned many facts about Sweden and Stockholm. For instance, that Sweden has been at peace for 200 years and that is the largest of the Scandinavian countries, but the population is nine million, which explains how Stockholm felt a place with a lot of space, not crowded, without long lines, without having to book in advance, relaxing.

Food & coffee. Mamma mia!

Saved best for last. The food and coffee moments are important for me to understand a country and enjoy the experience in a new city. A memorable meal was a delicious lunch prepared with white fish at the very cool Urban Deli, followed by breakfast at Kung Carl Hotel, fika break at Bröd & Salt bakery and at Café Pascal.

Coffee was good everywhere and fika (afternoon coffee and cake break) is an integral part of Swedish social life, similar to “kaffee und kuchen” in Germany. The Swedes prefer the dark roast coffee, perfect next to Oatly, another Swedish export, and next to a sweet treat. I wanted to go to Café Pascal since I read it won an award for the best coffee in Stockholm. This made me remember with a smile last summer in Bologna and went to the gelateria that won an award for best ice-cream in Italy.

However, a typical Swedish experience is the well known meatball with mashed potato and lingonberries jam. And two fun facts, was unexpected that menus were available just in Swedish, and that these days I’ve been in the only completely mask-free country since early 2020.

Scandinavia was close to my heart since I studied in Denmark and saw the White Night one Midsummer in Helsinki. And even though Copenhagen is my favorite, the Swedish reunion enriched my connection with this part of Europe.

Last walk in the park Humlegården and is time to head to the train station to go home.

More about photography thoughts and exploring the Stockholm Archipelago tomorrow.

Central Train Station / T-Centralen subway station

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