Monday, July 6, 2009

Short vacation in Stockholm

A basement cafe in the old town, Gamla Stan

Standing on the waterfront, Strandvagen, with
the city behind me

Aaron and I had a great trip to Stockholm. We left last Wednesday, July 1 and arrived home last night. As in Copenhagen, everyone speaks English. Even the cab driver struck up a conversation and recommended some sights to us. Our rented room was in a pretty good location and had the advantage of having a small fridge, microwave, coffee maker and toaster. We picked up groceries at a nearby market and enjoyed breakfast in our room each morning before venturing out.

We saw so many great sights and loved the waterfront feel everywhere since the city is situated on several islands. It was very crowded with tourists- even several cruise ships! The weather was fantastic- it got up to 84 degrees in Stockholm- dare I say it was almost too hot?!
On two mornings,we ran on a great trail around an island that is almost exclusively given over to museums and recreation (after the king gave it up as his hunting grounds). It had parks and trails and even an amusement park. And we walked and walked and walked all over the city! It is very pedestrian and bicycle friendly, at least in the summer!

We ate a real Scandinavian smorgasbord! Once is probably enough though! They do love their herring in all the Baltic countries and prepare it in about a dozen ways. The first two courses of the meal were fish! I had great Swedish meatballs with lignonberries at two different places and Aaron got to try a reindeer steak. The coffee break specialty is a cinnamon bun and we sampled that just before we left town- yum!

On Saturday we took a ferry boat out through the archipelago- there are about 30, 000 islands on the east coast of Sweden. Some are no bigger than a good-sized American yard but still have a cottage on them! It is rocky and heavily forested- really beautiful but also heavily populated. Most islands can only be reached by boat- no bridges! So they have an extensive scheduled ferry service and there are water taxis as well. We ended up on an island that was about one mile from end to end. There is a hotel and three restaurants/cafes, a youth hostel, a small goat farm and campground. We walked trails until it looked like rain and then found a dry spot to sit and have a drink while we looked out over the sea. We were really on the go a lot so it was a nice quiet moment to realize where we were sitting- on a remote island in the Baltic sea off the coast of Sweden! Wow!

Our return trip was fairly uneventful except for terrible traffic on the Autobahn. It took us an extra hour to get home and we discovered that the air conditioning in our car doesn’t work. We felt hot and parched by the time we made it home but it was definitely worth it. Another great adventure!
For more pictures of our trip, visit Flickr:

No comments: