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I've been listening people commenting Sweden as the golden standard for various things, mainly social aspects, since I remember myself walking without aid. Needless to say if I needed further motivation for this trip. I jump on the plane and a few hours later I feel lucky enough already to see the capital of Sweden from above on a gorgeous bright sunny day:
It is late July, a typical sunny summer day but as I step down underground to take the metro I feel like this is where they hide the winter till it's time to wake him up a few months later. It's MUCH colder down there. A super tall, quite old but in great shape guy approaches me and asks me a question. It's all Swedish to me so he turns to English saying "Oh sorry - I just wanted to ask you which direction the metro will arrive from". "Oh, bingo - I'm only a few minutes here for the first time in my life" I replied and that cracks him up.
As I get off the metro and walk up, Stockholm already feels pretty close to how I had this city in my dreams: neat, pedestrian friendly, cute, noiseless. I must say though that the absolutely perfect weather takes the whole thing to another level putting an extra smile to the already kind enough local faces. And floods the local parks with girls in their bikinis:
I am not working for The Sun or Bild so don't expect me to zoom 🙂
I feel like home already in this city and every random image I take on my way to my AirBnB is hard to regret:
I arrive at the apartment I've booked, located at the North side of the city. It looked like the most VFM i could find and it really is. At least if I ignore the fact that the host has a totally different opinion on "clean" than I have as a host (and a guest). The kitchen was in almost in post graduation party condition but still good price for having a whole apartment for myself in Sweden's capital. I soon get attracted by interesting Swedish design details as I observe the place and step by step makes sense to me why IKEA and SAAB were born there. Sweden knows the way to make something simple, functional and beautiful. And that's not easy as it sounds. Remember the famous quote "sorry for the long letter but I had no time to write you a short one"?
The day is still young and perfect so time to walk around under this playful sky:
My first target: "Stockholms Universitet":
Instantly jealous. Not that I couldn't have similar images when I was attending my University in Athens, I finished the Agricultural one so we had a whole Botanical garden to walk around if we fancied. The things is that we weren't as respective to the infrastructure as these guys seem to be:
Brunnsivken lake, only a few steps away from the University complex. And it's so nice:
It's getting a bit late and I already have walked several km so I decide to walk back to the apartment. There I get the chance to grab a bit of sunset view from my balcony:
Funny to see how late the sun sets in this region. That's 9:37 pm actually.
Next day I wake up very early and decide to walk North again but this time intending to explore the area around Hagaparken. From the first view of the lake's water and the green of the surrounding vegetation I know I am at the right place:
Remember I told you about the Swedish art simple beautiful and functional? Look at this boat:
At the same spot, yours truly in a rare case of a selfie:
As I continue walking in Haga park, I see a bunny jumping in front of me:
This is the closest shot I took from the one and only wild bunny I managed to see in any of the cities I have visited so far.
Are you looking for a place to rest your senses and soul surrounded by green and water? Haga is the way to go:
As I continue exploring the beauties of the park I see behind the trees Gustav III's Royal pavilion, built two and a half centuries ago:
In this kingdom of peace and silence in front of the pavilion some ducks enjoy their business as usual, one more day out of the office:
Time for a more close up of that pavilion:
I like how it's faded yellow contrasts with the green. But have a look at the "Echo temple" nearby, Gustav's dinning room:
Boy they had quite the meals up there...
Impossible for a place like this to not be populated by swans as well:
Cuteness goes on at "Haga parkmuseum":
In the heart of Haga you find this lovely green carpet generously offered by nature and it gives such a soothing view:
Yes, fungi lovers won't be disappointed either:
A new tree is planted, well taken care of to offer its beauty and shade to the next generations:
Now who's the lucky b@st@rd who stays in a park like this at a house like this:
On my way back I find some ducks drying themselves in front of my favourite boat:
I really like the statue of August Strindberg (Swedish playwright) near Carl Eldh museum (the latter is also the maker):
What a lovely house:
I'm back at my apartment for some rest and lunch, but I'm out again in the afternoon for some more walking. The day's too nice to not Carpe Diem. This time heading South to explore more downtown areas. The towers at Kungstornen connected by a bridge offer some punchy urban beauty:
At the same neighbourhood I spot the perfect opposites of the bike world:
Fancy some Christianity in devil's red? St. Jacobs Kyrka's got you covered:
I'm already where the heart of the city beats and it's wonderful. Have a bite:
A rare case of a not so neat image in Stockholm is the traditional tour ship smoking as its older than stones engine idles at the dock:
Karl XIV Johans showing the way to victory in front of the Royal Palace:
At the same spot, here's the 22m obelisk to remind us the war between Sweden and Russia a couple of centuries ago:
The Royal Palace is too massive for my humble lens:
Here's the aptly named "House of Nobility" of Sweden:
If you make it up to Riddarholmsbron bridge, this view is your prize:
If I was obliged to describe Stockholm or Sweden in general by one single image I would go like "look at their parliament". I mean look at that:
The spot where it is located is stunning. Here's a panoramic:
I was lucky to record a clip there while a street musician was doing a nice job sound wise so check that out on the video at the beginning of the page. Here's some more from this masterpiece:
I definitely have something with horses so...
A full day of walking around beauties must come to an end before I finish my shoes and my feet. I'm totally in love with the city already and its people. I visit stores and they almost apologise when they speak to me Swedish before realising I am not a native. They're also the masters of recycling. They have a dedicated recycle bin for every single thing: green glass, transparent glass, cardboxes, newspapers, I think I saw around 10 bins at the recycle spot of my neighbourhood. If weather was better through the year I'd reside there in a heartbeat. Speaking of weather though, I experience a rare case of me being abroad and enjoying the weather more than home. Cause here they have the perfect summer days: warm but not hot. It's so nice that I ask a local "How many days like this you have per year?" And he goes "around 10". I couldn't be any luckier...
Next day I start with a visit to the Swedish Environmental Research Institute which is close to where I stay and has this interesting construction in front of it:
The local hospital looks nice too:
Olympic stadium, more than a 100 years old, gives a rather Viking vibe at first glance:
Can you pronounce "Djurgardsbrunnskanalen"? Well, it looks much better than it sounds. Enjoy:
Blame Rosendals slott located there for the following images:
On a special day like (one of 10 in total annually) boat owners take the chance to tour around the canals with a big smile on their faces. And of course why not - look at this:
This odd and cute thing is the Skansen museum. World's oldest open air (1891):
Next day I decide to explore Norra Djurgarden and its lake. As I enter the area I am impressed by the fact that such a forest feeling only a couple of steps away from the main city. You really forget there's anything urban around you while walking there. I see a lot of huge old tress around but this one steals my heart with its size and age:
This picture says something for the local trees. The diameter of this thing is taller than me:
Well, seems that I praised the weather too much so it's now time for some rain. No problem, I knew I could have to spend some time indoors due to weather even in the heart of summer here up North. Rather productive afternoon actually as I found time to virtually rearrange my living room on my laptop and save time about it when I'll be back. Another North thing I experience later at my sleep is when I open my eyes around 4ish am (don't ask me why) and it wasn't all dark like it is down South. Really long summer days!
My Swedish time is over and so does the good weather. What a perfect synchronisation. As I make my way to the airport it's already almost like Greek winter. Sweden thank you very much, you're as kind and cute as it gets. Don't be surprised if you see me again on first chance, this time on my bike.