Saturday, 20 April 2013

Hej Sverige! (AKA Storming Stockholm with Friends)

View from the City Hall (Source - TRGTALP)
I posted a few months back about my impending trip to the Swedish capital, Stockholm with my two friends (see 'Stockholm Syndrome').  I expressed what I knew were going to be completely unfounded fears about travelling with other people.  The three of us had a brilliant time exploring the historical Gamla Stan, trying to be hip and happening in hip and happening Södermalm, wandered the rarefied streets of the Östermalm, strolled the Djurgården and sampled lots of great places to eat across this fantastic Scandanavian city.  We took the free tour (as I always recommend), with our sweet, if a little hapless, guide who told us that, "Greta Garbo was founded in the PUB department store" and that there was nothing of historical importance on the Kungsgatan, but the gym which was the site of the first meeting of the Crown Princess, Victoria and her buff beau, Daniel.
Gustavus Adolphus would be proud! (Source - TRGTALP)
I would highly recommend a visit to this awesome city, but must warn you of two things:
  • Number 1 - Prepare to hemorrhage your bank balance or take a few bars of gold with pay for breakfast.  I had heard about the country's reputation for being pricey and, boy, the people who had warned me were not wrong.  Despite having paid more than double the price for almost everything you would in the UK, I (a tightwad Yorkshireman) still think that Sweden is worth the money.  The quality of the food and shopping, in most instances, make it worthwhile.  Getting round this, might involve self catering in your hostel accommodation for a night or two.  Or, taking advantage of the fixed price, set menus on offer at most restaurants and cafes at lunchtime to fill yourself up.
  • Number 2 - The reputation holds fast...Swedes of both gender are absolutely gorgeous.  The women have legs that go on forever with luscious blonde locks and model-esque cheekbones that could cut granite.  The men are tall modern day Viking warriors, with luscious blond locks, thick beards and model-esque cheekbones that could cut granite.  Do not...I not go to Stockholm if you have a low self esteem.  The Swedes won't remind you of this beauty disparity.  I don't think they even know that they are a supremely good looking nation, but one simple walk down most streets in the capital will render the individual to a lustful mush or speed-dialing a plastic surgeon.
Places I would recommend a visit to:
  • Cafe Gildas Rum - Skånegatan 79 - Great cafe with the best brownie I have ever eaten!
  • Cafe Saturnus -
  • Cafe Albert and Jack - - The breakfast meal deal, service and surroundings at the Gamla Stan branch were impressive!
  • AG Restaurant - A meat feast.  Dress up in your finest gladrags for this one!
  • Le Rouge - A great restaurant in the Gamla Stan -
  • Pelikan Bar in the Södermalm -
  • The Saluhall in the Östermalm district -
  • Scandi design shopping in both Östermalm and Södermalm.
  • A walk round the Djurgården.
So, that's Stockholm!  Until the next journey...hejdå!

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