Sweden

48 hours in Stockholm. Part 1.

Stockholm is an amazing city. Expensive – yes, but it’s one of the best destinations for a weekend escape. 48 hours in Stockholm is not enough to explore this Scandinavian gem, but there is plenty to visit in this short period of time.

I’ve got a great present for my 29 year birthday – plane tickets to Stockholm. My husband was working there at that time, so it was a great chance to visit him and explore a new city. So here I was after 4 hour ride to Riga airport and 50 minute flight, when the plane just takes off and after reaching it’s maximum altitude, is starting to land…

Stockholm is the city with contrasts, and deep history. I can’t describe the feeling when I first saw it, it wasn’t like “wow!”, or “ahhh, it feels like home”, more like I saw what I expected from Scandinavian rationality. The city is huge, and the buildings are large and classic. Everything looks in order. The first thing that I did, was buying Stockholm Card for 48 hours, as I was expecting to see the most in this short period of time.

We started our tour visiting Stockholm City Hall. This is the place where Nobel prize banquet is hosted every year. The place is stunning from the outside, but it’s even more impressive from the inside. The group tours are organized in most languages, so we joined the English language tour. The guide told us about the history of Stockholm, and the role of this building in it. The most impressive and luxurious room is the Golden Hall.

  

There is a tower in the area, from where the wonderful views of Stockholm’s Old Town could be seen.

   

Further we walked to the Old Town of Stockholm (Gamla Stan). This “island” is quite different from the rest of the Stockholm, with it’s narrow streets and small shops it looks more like a small Italian or French city, rather than a Scandinavian capital. Along the way we visited Riddarholm Church. This church is also a crypt for the royal family, full of sarcofagus. The church was built in Medieval era, and is still preserved in well condition.

Then it was time to visit The Royal Palace. The complex consists of several separate museums, like the Royal Armoury, Gustav’s III museum of antiquities, The Royal Chapel, The Treasury, The Royal Apartments and more. We were also lucky to see the royal guard changing ceremony.

Stockholm city’s Cathedral is also worth a visit when you explore the Gamla Stan. It’s famous for it’s wood sculpture of St. George and the Dragon, commemorating the Battle of Brunkeberg. This is the oldest Cathedral in the area with a beautiful interior.

It was lunchtime and burgers are on our menu J They have their own fast food chain – Max, in Stockholm. Those burgers are worth to try. I usually don’t eat burgers, fries are my option.  But the burgers in Max are really worth the sin.

Stockholm is a city of canals, so it’s a sin not to take a boat tour. You can choose from several options of boat tours in different canals, there are options of tours with dinner and other programs. We chose the one that was included in Stockholm Card. It was like a hop – on, hop – off tour, as we could leave the boat in several stations. Stockholm looks different from the water, so much greener and with lots of yachts parked on the shores.

Stockholm has a number of zoo’s an aquarium’s, as I’m a fan of animals, I tried to visit them all… In the late afternoon we went to Skansen. Skansen is the place, you can spend a whole day, and we had only few hours until it closed. There are not only the zoo and aquarium, but it’s also a living history of Scandinavia, with it’s authentic houses and types of villages, activities and crafts. The territory is so big, that one day might not be enough if you wish to involve in bread baking, or carving your own souvenir.

We went to aquarium first. One of the best aquariums I’ve ever visited. Everything is so authentic there, it feels like you walk in the tropical jungle, between the trees, rivers and lakes, once in a while it starts raining, gets darker… You can observe all kinds of fish there, and some animals, monkeys the most. There is a separate cage full of lemurs living there freely. You can walk right in to that cage and walk among them. Of course, no feeding and petting, just for your own safety.

After we left the aquarium, everything was closed in Skansen, so we just took a stroll  around the territory. There is also a zoo, with animals like foxes, bears, birds…

To be continued…

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