We arrived in good spirits in Stockholm last Thursday ably prepared for cold weather and sky-high prices only to be pleasantly surprised by neither. It was both warm and sunny but not too hot and the price of beer, food and other goods was nowhere near as bad as we had been lead to believe. Our hotel, the Nordic Light, was clean, minimalist and sported a way-cool light system that I just could not stop playing with (sorry Stu!).
The city itself had a lovely European feel to it residing on 14(?) islands with loads of bridges and ferries and what not. On many islands were picturesque palaces, cobbled streets and ye olde worlde buildings – in fact the centre seems to have been pretty well untouched from days of yore. Neutrality dividend?
What newer buildings there were looked terribly though. Great lumps of concrete which did little to enhanced the Swedish reputation for style. An odd mix really.
The first night we arrived to went to a Schlager night. Schlager is basically euro-pop with a Swedish twist. Think Eurovision/bubble gum pop. Very me. We got chatting to Edward, the DJ, who rather took us under his wing and showed by an open-air club Lino where we danced the night away watching the sun come up at 2am (yes, 2am!).
Dragging our weary bones out of bed on Friday we started out on a walking tour of the old town (Gamla Stan) taking in the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). Then we crossed over to another island to see the Modern Art Museum (Moderna Museet) including Paul McCarthy's rather shocking exhibition(ism). Back for a snooze we tubed it down to Side Track for a beer or three, failed to get into the leather bar SLM but got picked up by two Swedes and taken to Connection where we shuffled the night away.
I just have to say at this point that Swedes sure know how to shove. We were pushed and barged in the street, bars, churches, boats, trains, queues, clubs and on the tube without a by-your-leave. This wasn't particularly helped when we were in bars or clubs everyone (and I mean everyone) seemed to be completely pissed. Boy, those Swedes can knock them back. We got tottered into, staggered over, fallen on and beer spilled on us. Not that I'm complaining really - hey, I live in bargey old London for God's sake! - just remarking upon it.
On Saturday post gigantic breakfast we ventured onto a guided boat tour round the islands and past the cliffs of Soder (bit boring to be honest) and then on to the Vasamuseet to see a really quite impressive 300-year old warship. Suckers for walking we then headed off to Skansen - an expansive open-air historical theme-park - where Stuart committed an unspeakable act on a moose. Well, you would, wouldn't you? I nearly wet myself laughing.
Back for a disco nap we decided to stay in on our last night to be daisy-fresh for the last day. Being another hot one we kept it low-key and simply ambled over to the world famous Stadshuset - Stockholm's iconic tower and home of the Nobel Prize banquet. Climbing the tower seemed a good idea at the time but once down on the ground we were just good for a beer and nosh before heading for the airport.
Landing at eight we were tucked up in bed by ten exhausted. Stockholm is a great city break and much to recommend.
The full set of photos are here.