Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stockholm: The Scandinavia Diaries, Part III

Stockholm was a surprise; I had not expected such a beautiful city. Built on islands, there is water everywhere. It is no doubt best appreciated in high summer with the play of sunlight on all that the water. We decided to go in September when prices are lower and crowds thinner, but it was colder and grayer than I would have liked. We did have some sunshine, fortunately, but if we go again we’ll put up with the high prices and summer crowds for the long days of the midnight sun.

There’s a reason Stockholm is sometimes called the Venice of the North, with all those bridges and buildings right at the water’s edge:

I had also not expected such a rich architectural heritage. I realized when we visited Stockholm’s excellent history museum that I knew next to nothing about the history of Sweden. I had forgotten (if I ever knew) that Sweden was a major imperial power in the 17th and 18th centuries and that wealth means imposing architecture and museums with impressive collections.

We stayed in the picturesque, beautifully preserved old town, Gamlastan, with its narrow cobblestone streets and gorgeous squares. Gamlastan has the reputation of swarming with tourists , and we worried that it might be a mistake to stay there. But we loved our apartment on a little street right off beautiful Stortorget Square and all the very good restaurants within easy walking distance. (However, it might not be a good idea to stay in Gamlastan in high summer.)

The Stortorget Square right near our apartment in Gamlastan

The cafe near our apartment where we had many an Irish coffee

Street scene in Gamlastan

Street scene in Gamlastan

Swedish food a can be very good; among the best restaurants are Fem Sna Hus and Gyldene Fredens. The bad news is that restaurants in Stockholm are very expensive. The bills have been coming in and they are a lot higher than we had planned to spend, but we don't regret visiting Scandinavia. Just hope we don't have major home repairs this year!