Discovering Stockholm: A Charming Nordic Gem

Discovering Stockholm

 Stockholm, Sweden….A few weeks ago I hopped aboard a plane and headed to Sweden for the weekend. The truth is that Sweden has never been high on my wish list radar, as a destination, so I just have been skipping it year after year. However, living in Poland, Sweden has a huge advantage as a holiday destination. It is located so close to my homeland that it is easy to visit. I only need to cross the Baltic Sea and I’m there. The plane tickets to Sweden are usually bloody cheap … if only the weather there could be better.

Weather is always a strange thing. Every time I visit the Polish coast and look North, it seems that Sweden has better weather, as there are usually no clouds on the horizon. But the reality is far different. The weather in Sweden is cold and windy most of the year, except in summer.  I didn’t want the Scandinavian weather to deceive me as  I booked my ticket. I hoped that the sun would have mercy on me and would appear in Sweden during my stay. Sure enough, the weather had its way! I left sunny Poland and landed in quite a cloudy Sweden. During my stay, the sun tried to defeat the clouds but failed. My consolation was that it did not rain.

My motto is “like the places to which you travel and appreciate that you can visit them, no matter what”. Seems to me, as a traveller, that we should want to go everywhere and find something interesting anywhere. Consequently, I always try to see the best in each country I visit. Before going to Scandinavia my number one wish, while there was to experience the fjords! But that’s in Norway. Thinking which Scandinavian city would be my number one choice, I had a feeling it would be Stockholm. Now, after returning home, I can confirm 100%, that to me, Stockholm is absolutely the number one city in Scandinavia.

Stockholm is blue!

 Nordic cities in my opinion are hit or miss. You love or hate them. They don’t have many landmarks, are very expensive and at first glance, they look just boring. Nordic cities such as Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Reykjavík share one thing in common. They are coastal cities. I usually love cities bordering on a body of water, as a relationship with water adds a whole new dimension to city life … and Stockholm has lots of water!

People say that Stockholm is the Venice of the North. The city is spread out over 14 islands, that are connected by 57 bridges, with an eye towards my beloved Baltic Sea to the East. There’s something incredibly soothing about almost always having water in sight and that makes Stockholm a nice destination to explore on foot. It is pleasant to stroll when you are never more than a stone’s throw away from the water. There’s so much water everywhere that sometimes it seems like there’s more water than land. Hence, it may seem that there are more boats than cars, in the city. They are moored to the shore and sway on the gentle waves.

But such a picturesque location has also cons. A few times I found it slightly annoying to not be able to get somewhere, located just a few meters away from me, just because there was no bridge exactly where I needed it, and I had to walk around a channel, that made the way much longer.

All in all, I think that water is what makes Stockholm charming. It makes the air feel fresher and clearer. Waterworks for Stockholm especially when the day gives way to the evening. Sunset in Stockholm is a magical time. It is so nice to be near the water when the sun is setting and see Stockholm in its magic hour.

Discovering Stockholm

Stockholm is colourful!

 The second thing that struck me the most about the city was the colour. Everywhere, from the gems of the Old Town to more modern architecture, colour seems to be present on every surface. I think that the colours are Stockholm’s heaviest weapon against gloomy and cloudy weather. There is no logic or scheme to the colours of buildings, as they would have never been treated as a wholeness, but as individuals.

Stockholm is expensive!

 It’s more expensive than Paris and London, but it’s not as expensive as people expect. I spent most of my money on food.  I’m glad that I had a hotel breakfast at the price of my room because going out for a meal more often than once a day would have ruined my budget.

Stockholm is very quiet!

 The silence in Stockholm really hits you when you arrive. The cars seem to move in a silent mode and there is almost a hushed feeling everywhere.

Discovering Stockholm

Stockholm is old!

 Sweden’s capital city is a 700-year-old European city. It attracts many visitors each year looking to experience Sweden’s largest city, however, there were fewer tourists than  I expected. Thanks to that Stockholm has a very relaxed feel. There are not many people on the streets and sometimes it seemed to me, that I  had Stockholm, just to myself.

The city has an atmosphere that is very calm compared to other European capitals. Perhaps it is the people living here. Most Swedes seem patient and quiet. Maybe it’s because there are so many open spaces and of course water. Maybe it is because of the history felt in the air. Or maybe because the buildings are so colourful and in some way, they force you to stop and stare at them. Maybe it’s all of this put together…..

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