Arriving late, I took the Arland Express train direct to the city centre of Stockholm, and took the five minute walk to the Radisson Blu hotel where I was going to be staying for the next four days.
The check in was faultless and the young blonde receptionist was charming, with perfect English. The suite was excellent, as they always are in the Radisson, and the views from the window showed me twinkling lights indicating, apparently, waterfront and big buildings,
The first morning of my Easter weekend stay, I woke early and threw back the curtains …. to see….. this:
Oh great. This doesn’t bode well. Breakfast in the hotel then out for the first day’s sightseeing. Plans were to walk everywhere, to go to the Royal Palace, the Old Town and the Royal Island. A long day, but one that was hopefully going to be dry and enjoyable.
The sun soon appeared, and by the time I got into the town hall opposite the hotel it was shirtsleeves all round.
Sweden being a country of islands, there is water everywhere. The other side of the town hall, I looked across to see this:
Bridges in today’s society means of course the ubiquitous padlock with names and keys thrown into the water, Stockholm has hundreds of bridges, almost all of them festooned with the modern day love token.
Some of the architecture in the city is spectacular, but this commercial building really caught my eye:
Onto the Royal Island. Back in the day, the Royal family used to come here to hunt and picnic, and the tradition still exists today, on Sweden’s national holiday, the Royal family come to the island by horse drawn carriage to mingle with the people.
Nowadays they appear to cultivate a rare and unusual type of tree:
A full long day, finished off with a few quiet drinks in the Stockholm Ice Bar. -7C, a great place for an unwind, even if the clothing provided makes you look like a Smurf.
Day two dawned, with very tired legs. I’d noticed on the first day the “city bikes” all over the place, so to save my legs, the decision was made. Into the central train station to buy the cards, the blonde receptionist was excellent and sold us what we needed for around £3 a day. I was given a map, but being rubbish I had to ask directions from the two young blonde helpers, and within a few minutes I was upon my trusty steed. I found it slightly tiresome that the bike has to be re-registered on a stand every three hours, but notwithstanding, a great scheme and a brilliant way to see the city. They are adjustable (within limits) and weigh a ton. The cycle lane system is absolutely superb and a lesson to many a city on how to do it. Very rarely to bikes and cars come into contact. The only threat you have is colliding with a runner. I lived for over 20 years in Aldershot, for a long time the home of the British Army, but I’m not sure if I ever saw as many runners in Aldershot as I did in Stockholm. Fit City indeed.
As a keen angler it was somewhat incongruous to see people fly fishing for sea salmon in the middle of a city centre, but was fascinating.
Stockholm …. a wonderful city. I did see some people with dark hair, but that was mostly myself in the morning when I was shaving. Men walking ferrets, Abba Museum, High Tea in the Grand Hotel, Fantastic architecture, the list goes on. I have hundreds of pictures, could write thousands of words but have unlimited memories.