My time in Stockholm (after consecutive weekends in Copenhagen and Iceland) was short and sweet, only 1 night. And despite good intentions to make the most of it, fate had a way of ensuring it ended up being v-e-r-y chilled out.
We were booked onto a painfully early Saturday morning flight, and after patchy bits of sleep on the train and plane, we landed in a tiny little Swedish airport seemingly in the middle of nowhere. For future reference, Stockholm has 4 airports*:
- Skavsta – far
- Vasteras – far
- Arlanda – moderately far
- Bromma – least far
*This is not an official guide
The Flygbussana bus company seems to service all the connections between the airports and city, and is reasonably priced too (Arlanda also has a train option). We arrived in Skavsta and left from Vasteras – each trip taking circa 1 hour by bus. After racking up hours of commuting around, the remaining time left to actually explore Stockholm was reduced to about 22 hours.
With time ticking, the first thing we did was visit one of Stockholm’s famed hot dog stands, Östermalms Korvspecialist.
Once satisfactorily fed, we checked into our Airbnb before rushing back down to Old Town to do a free walking tour (gotta be cultural, ya know). However, the tour crowd was massive, making it near impossible for Em and I to see or hear anything. Then suddenly, within 15 mins of the tour, a very dramatic rain cloud started to form in the near distance. Next minute, the exciting history of King Frederick was put on hiatus whilst people ran in all directions for cover, being soaked by howling Nordic wind and rain.
Tough times usually bring out people’s true colours – and it was in this mildly troublesome moment of being caught in the rain for a few minutes, that we decided “Let’s go drink, we’ll be cultural later”.
And drink we did. For about 8 hours.
But prior to indulging in one too many quirky concoctions at Pharmarium Bar (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED IF IN STOCKHOLM), we did try to explore the Old Town and its plethora of alleyways and shops as best we could given the conditions.
Whilst looking for a momento of Stockholm, we wandered into a tiny dark antique shop where we met a really interesting, old Swedish man seated on a rickety old wooden chair amongst mounds and mounds of antique maps and books. He had this wise and mythical demeanour, kinda like Dumbledore, which made the whole interaction feel otherworldly.
Amongst the old explorer’s maps, books and statues, I found a neat little metal placard (actually handcrafted by the Swedish man’s wife and son), bearing the phrase ‘Oegentligheter Undanbedes’ – something not directly translatable to English, but loosely meaning ‘Do no fraud’ I think (please correct me if I’m wrong). Though I will never know the location or name of this little Swedish antique shop, the experience of stumbling into it and meeting the mysterious old wise man has made this one of my favourite souvenirs collected on my travels.
Anyway, shopping done and a bunch of tasty (and potent) cocktails later, we naturally became ravenous. And this called for Swedish meatballs!!
The meatballs at Restaurant Pelikan, with lingonberry jam and gravy were to die for, and to this day, I still reminisce about that meal. Probably one of the biggest highlights of our time in Stockholm. However, if there’s a next time, I’d be keen to try the meatballs down at the very literally titled restaurant ‘Meatballs’.
On Sunday, we weren’t left with much time to see or do anything, so we settled for a nice little breakfast at the Vette Katten dining hall, before wandering around the town and heading for the bus back to the airport.