My trip to Stockholm
Ready for yet another photo spam? ;) I finally took the time to upload the photos from my trip to Stockholm and wanted to share. There are lots of images, so consider yourself warned. And as always the full album is on Flickr.
Stockholm is said to be one of the most beautiful capitols in Europe, if not the world, and now that I’ve been there to see for myself it does sounds plausible. It is such an amazing city with lots of things to see and do, beautifully preserved old buildings and since it’s built on 14 islands – just where lake Mälaren meets the Baltic sea – you are never far from water. It actually made me feel quite patriotic to see what a lovely capitol we have.
There are LOTS of tourists there in the summer. Like, I barely heard anyone speaking Swedish – it was all English, Russian, German etc. Restaurants and such seemed to have lots of English-speaking personnel as well. I had to use English quite a few times which I hadn’t expected, but I definitely didn’t mind.
So… if you plan to visit Stockholm to meet Swedes you should know you might have to search around a bit, at least if you’re visiting in the summer. :P
Central Stockholm isn’t THAT big so most of what you want to see is within reasonable walking distance from each other, and it’s a great city to walk in! There are lots of pretty buildings and little squares and random statues and such scattered about everywhere. You can walk along the main shopping street, cross the bridge to the palace, and then continue across the island to Old Town in one afternoon. And you don’t even have to make any turns, just follow the street.
According to me, the coziest and most beautiful part of Stockholm is Old Town, famous for it’s narrow cobbled alleys between tall medieval houses. There are lots of cute little cafes and restaurants and also lots of small but interesting shops. I could easily have spent a whole day just exploring all the nooks and crannies there! :) If you go to Stockholm you really shouldn’t miss it!
Vasa was a Swedish warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. She only managed to get a few km out of the harbour too, so it was a total fiasko. The ship was lost to the world until the 1950’s when they found her and decided to bring her up after spending over 300 years under water.
What’s cool about Vasa is how well preserved she is, that almost the entire ship is intact. I know it doesn’t sound all too exciting, but when I saw her my jaw dropped. The ship made me think of The Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean!
Skansen is like a huge park that works as an outdoor museum with lots of buildings and exhibitions and animals. They have an aquarium with reptiles, fish and a few small monkeys but other than that it’s all nordic animals like wolverines, wolves, lynxes, reindeer etc. The coolest animals there have to be the European buffalos though. So big!
Personally I have a complicated relationship with zoos as I don’t think wild animals should be kept in cages. I mean, the reptiles and the farm animals are one thing, but the others? Skansen actually seem like a good zoo, with large enclosures full of trees and bushes so the animals have room to move and rocks to climb and places to hide if they don’t want to be seen but… Wild wolves have territories covering acres upon acres of land, far more than any zoo would be able to provide, so even if the wolf pen at Skansen is big and lush and all that it’s still pretty sad to see.
On the other hand having the animals like this is excellent for education and awareness, and in case of endangered animals zoos might be the only way to keep them around. The European buffalo for example would be extinct if it wasn’t for zoos and now they’ve even started a project to try and reintroduce them into the wild. So it’s not like zoos are completely useless, but I still feel rather ambivalent about them.
So, Stockholm is a wonderful city to visit. She’s old as dirt with much of her history still preserved and visible – but she’s also a fun and modern metropole. If you’re anywhere near Sweden you should definitely consider paying her a visit.