My third time in Stockholm. Alone and happy. A perfect moment to remember Freya Stark when she said: “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.” Couldn’t have said it better.
The flight was turbulent and we departed late, which is nothing to be upset about when one is travelling from where I am travelling. The new policy of not getting annoyed with the things I can’t change kept me in good mood. And the anticipation of my In Stockholm alone episode was thought entertaining. Stockholm is situated on 14 islands and founded in 1252. Rich history was promising an exciting affair with this city.
I was staying at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel. Such a great place to visit and experience the true Swedish hospitality. The location of the hotel itself is so convenient. You are just a few steps away from the Central Station, you have a direct bus or train lines from Arlanda Airport, so if you are one of those people who panic when travelling alone – don’t. It is impossible to miss the hotel. Also, public transportation in Stockholm is so easy to figure out so you can be completely relaxed on this point.
My room was on the 12th floor, with a stunning view to Stockholm’s Old Town. Clean, comfortable and neat. The bed was so tempting to stay forever and live in. I had only breakfast at the hotel. Great choice of food and very delicious menu. I had my other meals outside and some really adventurous stories happened on that field.
The first and second time I have visited Stockholm was due to the Stockholm University visit. A splendid complex located in Frescati area was a true vision. Gorgeous gardens and parks all around… However, it was May and Stockholm was very cold at that time. Actually, it was raining and snowing so I have decided to explore those gardens on some other occasion.
This time, the weather was marvellous. Although literally changing in seconds from bright to the cloudy sky, it was very pleasant for hiking and exploring. Another point where the location of my hotel was superb. It took me only around 15 minutes walking to get to Gamla Stan, the Old City of Stockholm that looks like a place trapped in a fairytale. It is warm and welcoming, with lovely cafes and restaurants, gift and souvenir shops. The oldest square in Stockholm, Stortorget, is situated here, as well as Stockholm Cathedral and Nobel Museum. It is a part of the city where you can never be bored. Every narrow street hides new excitement, and you just get lost in all shades of gold, the yellow and reddish facades that take you to some other, more romantic, times.
Five days in Stockholm were enough to get two major obsessions. Not to mention that the city itself is amazing and addictive, but kanelbullar and kardemummabullar are to die for. Luscious, soft cinnamon and cardamom buns are the best pastry invention ever. They aren’t glazed like the more famous Cinnabon buns, but they have chunky sugar sprinkles and cardamom on top. They are eye catching and palate obsessing. I ate 6 one day. Don’t judge me. They are just so delicious… Not to forget, the place that sells those perfect buns is called Fabrique bakery. If you plan to go to Stockholm, live in that bakery and eat. You will not regret not being able to breathe afterward.
Another thing that I ate in Stockholm was sushi, and I never eat sushi. Also, open shrimp sandwich was a perfection itself ( there is a name for it in Swedish, but it is way too complicated to remember it ). But, discovering Jerusalem kebab was my moment of internal screaming of happiness. Perfect hummus. Perfect falafel. I really have a strong Arabian gene. I blame Freya Stark, Sheherezade and my mother’s history books for that.
Boat tour around the city helps you observe Stockholm from so many different angles. In one part where we sailed along the residential area, people were sitting on the banks sunbathing and having good times. It reminded me so much of my own country before the war time. Everybody just looked so happy. Swedes are among nicest nations in the world. So friendly, humane and kind. And the country is so clean, safe and foreigner – friendly.
The museum I haven’t visited this time was Abba Museum. Music that I was exposed to during my entire childhood… Next time, perhaps. Some other things were a priority. Nobel Museum and The Swedish History Museum are the ones you shouldn’t miss. Great exhibits and so many things to learn about Swedish history. If you are a Viking lover, then Historiska Museet must be on your list! I have to say the curatorship of the museum impressed me, they did a really amazing job in connecting the old and the new.
Leaving Stockholm is difficult. It’s like those moments when you first fall in love and want to spend every possible moment with your beloved. Those moments when you simply don’t realize that some time apart will just make you love each other more… Until next time, Stockholm stays in my memories. Happily ever after…