Friday, June 26, 2015

Stockholm Syndrome

Sorry about the title, I had to!

After our two beautiful days in Norway, we hit our next Scandinavian spot, Stockholm. After an overnight bus ride- I could write a whole post about overnight buses, and I probably will at some point- from Oslo to Stockholm we arrived in the Swedish capital.

Pretty much all my knowledge of Sweden came from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series (a must-read), but since Lisbeth and Mikael aren't real, we had to explore the real Stockholm, one filled with colorful buildings, Pippi Longstocking, and boats- so many boats.

Our first day in Sweden was overcast and chilly, something I had expected, and we wandered around the city. Stockholm is a major cosmopolitan city, and it's pretty touristy, but unlike London or Paris, there wasn't anything that we had to see. One thing Tori and I would do when we arrived in cities where we didn't have a huge itinerary was to go to a shop with postcards (I tried to collect one everywhere I went), find something that looked pretty or interesting, and ask where we could find what was on the card! This helped us find so many places we never would have seen otherwise.

We headed to the old city center, Gamla Stan. If you read the Millennium trilogy you will probably recognize some of the names here. Gamla Stan is full of tiny alleys and brightly colored buildings, with an old square in the center.

Italy or Stockholm?

A statue of St. George slaying the dragon. 

After exploring the old center, we headed back across the water to Junibacken, a sort of mini indoor amusement park centered around the works of Astrid Lindgren. You may recognize her as the author of the Pippi Longstocking series (she is also mentioned in the Millennium trilogy- Mikael gets the nickname 'Kalle Blomqvist' from one of her books). 

Confession time- I was obsessed with Pippi Longstocking when I was little. Like, really obsessed. I got to the point where I wanted to watch the movie almost every single day- my family still makes fun of me for it and laments over wanting to throw the movie out the window. So, when we heard that Junibacken featured Pippi Longstocking, we were determined to go.

Junibacken is a children's museum, and if you don't visit it with someone under the age of, say, seven, it's a little awkward. It's cute, though, and Tori and I were still able to enjoy it- we were mostly driven by our love for Pippi. 

Standing on Pippi's front porch- you can tell I was pumped. 

After Junibacken, we did a little more wandering around the city, and hoped for sunnier weather.

Aaaaannddd there's the sun! Sunday morning there were hardly any clouds in the sky, and we were determined to take advantage of the beautiful weather and photograph everything that we could.

We got a recommendation from a Swedish waiter in Oslo to visit Kungstr√§dg√•rden, or "King's Garden." We were not disappointed, as we arrived when the cherry blossoms that surround the square were in full bloom. 

After about a hundred cherry blossom photos we continued wandering the city, taking in the views of the water; Stockholm is an archipelago, meaning the entire city is made up of a bunch of small islands. The archipelago itself starts with Stockholm and stretches across the Baltic Sea with 30,000 islands. 

Now that the sun was shining, we headed back to Gamla Stan to capture the old city once again. Everything seemed more cheerful and charming as the buildings' colors brightened in the sun. 

The old square in Gamla Stan. 

Then it was back over the water to Sodermalm. While we didn't get to explore the neighborhood (its supposed to be the trendy, hip section of the city), we did walk along the edge of the island, which gave us amazing views of the city. We also happened to pick a time when there was a marathon, meaning we often had to stand at the edge of the walkway to let runners pass. 

Riddarholmen Church poking above the skyline. 

The view of Kungsholmen from Sodermalm, with the Stockholm City Hall on the far right. 

A house we passed along the walking trail- right in the middle of the city!

With a few hours left to kill, we hopped on a ferry that took us to one of the larger islands in the archipelago. While the town was pretty much closed down (it was a Sunday afternoon) the trip gave us amazing views of the archipelago and all the tiny islands. 

Tori hiding from the wind.

Yes, this is a floating house. It was basically a small, two-story house, except it was floating across the water! At first we thought it was anchored down, and we wondered how they got to and from land, until we spotted it later on- the house moved! It operated like a boat, and the owners were zooming across the water. I really should have taken a video, but I can't imagine living in something like this. Houseboats are usually more boat than house, and this was certainly a sight to see.

I liked Stockholm, but Norway was, in my opinion, much better. Stockholm is cute, and maybe it would have been better if we had explored another city, like we did in Norway, but I really wish we had done only one day in Stockholm and an extra day in Norway. 

I probably wouldn't go back, just because there wasn't anything I felt that we had missed. Now, I'm sure people have recommendations for plenty of things to do and obviously there is no way to see a city in 2 days, but I stand by the fact that Norway was my favorite country that weekend.

I'm sorry this post has taken two months to get up, I just now have to time to sit down and write! As some of you may know, I am interning down in Austin this summer, and I had only a few days at home to unpack and repack to move down here! So, you can expect to finally see the rest of my semester abroad and more throughout the summer!

1 comment:

  1. You know what's better than Norway and Sweden combined?? Finland ;)