The first port of call on a cloudy Sunday morning in Stockholm was Vasa museum on Djurgården island. My husband and I strolled all around Gamla Stan (the Old Town) the previous day so we decided to use the underground today. You can read all about our visit to Vasa museum famous for its historical warship in a separate post.
Djurgården island is a peaceful retreat in Stockholm where you can find several museums, an amusement park and plenty of green space for a lovely picnic in the summer. Unfortunately, despite being April it wasn’t warm for such activities and it even started to rain heavily. Luckily, just about when my husband finally finished with all the exhibits in Vasa museum the rain stopped and we walked back towards the underground station.
The next item on my to-do Stockholm list for Sunday was the Swedish History Museum on the way to Karlaplan station. It’s got free admission and it was a great place to spend a few hours on a rainy day (yes, it started to rain again). What were the highlights of this museum for me? Firstly, the Gold room on the lower floor which contains 52 kilos of gold and over 200 kilos of silver in the form of jewelry, religious objects, crowns and other things from different periods. Impressive, right? Secondly, I really liked the Viking exhibition on the ground floor. I am a big fan of Vikings series. At the very entrance of the Viking room I read how Vikings were perceived differently through different historical periods (and political situations). The concern today is that current portrayals of Vikings as only cruel warriors (TV, video games etc.) might leave a confusing legacy to the future generations.
The museum displays Viking weapons, clothes, tools, model ships and an interesting model of a Viking village. It is a very fascinating and informative exhibition. Thirdly, I enjoyed the exhibition A thousand years of Swedish history. It’s got a lot of interactive elements. I especially enjoyed sniffing through a small cupboard to guess which spices were brought to Sweden. I didn’t guess them all:) I also did an interesting quiz to see if I was a witch ( after all I do have a cat!). Also, this was the first museum that I’ve visited where I saw a trail through various exhibitions with the comments of LGBTQ community offering their perspective on various historical events. The museum also has exhibitions on Prehistory and Medieval life and art. I preferred this museum to the Vasa museum, to be honest.
It still rained and we were hungry after so much culture so we popped in McDonald’s near the Karlaplan underground station. It was definitely a far cheaper lunch than the dinner last night. Suddenly, it started to snow! Since I live by the sea I don’t often enjoy snow and I was pleased as punch at the sight of snowflakes. After a hearty lunch we took the underground to Slussen station, on an island across Gamla Stan. I wanted to do two panoramic walks: Monteliusvägen and Fjällgatan. I agree, it wasn’t the best weather to admire the views of gorgeous Stockholm but I don’t get easily deterred by such minor things as rain and cold so we proceeded with my plan (yes, I am the main travel planner, my husband just goes along with my plans and occasionally comes up with brilliant idea).
The first thing we saw was a kind of viewpoint on the building across the metro station so we decided to climb the steps and check out the view of the Old Town. If only it were sunny because the view was great! There was a kind of bungee jumping platform on this building previously or at least it looked like that to me. So, off to the Fjällgatan we went. Of course, where would be all the fun if we didn’t kind of get lost and took a longer route to my destination in freezing cold? However, we did see a beautiful church as a result. Do you have a habit of wandering around a graveyard and reading tomb stones? We walked across the church’s graveyard and saw an intriguing looking grave stone. Our curiosity made us google the name on the grave and we found out that the grave belonged to a prominent Swedish actress. We also saw a couple of traditional Swedish houses, a school, a tea room to which I longingly cast my glance and then we finally saw the street I was looking for! My husband wasn’t too thrilled to be dragged around in the cold just so I could admire the views of Stockholm in dreary weather.
Fjällgatan area is actually on the edge of a cliff above the Fotografiska (the famous photography museum). The views didn’t disappoint and I took a couple of photos of cute old houses. By this point we were desperate for a cup of hot tea (and a cake) so we didn’t do the other panoramic walk (Monteliusvägen) but we returned to the underground station and took the train over to the Old Town (Gamla Stan).
I remembered seeing an old-fashioned tea room/patisserie the previous day so I wanted to have a cake there. It was actually Sundbergs Konditori; the oldest bakery-café in Stockholm, dating from the 18 century. I had red tea and a chocolate cake while my husband had lemon meringue cake. They were both delicious and cost more than our lunch at McDonald’s before. Sundbergs has that Austrian cake shop feel to it with its chandelier and fine porcelain cups and royal paintings. If you want coffee you take it yourself from the big copper samovar (but isn’t samovar usually for tea?). We spent a lovely half an hour there and then returned to our hotel. However, my husband wanted to see the Hard Rock cafe which was supposedly near our hotel so we had to do that before we could rest in our tiny hotel room.
We had the address of the Hard Rock café so you can imagine our bewildered looks when we came to that address and saw a mattresses shop there instead. I though maybe the café relocated further down and suggested to walk on for a while when I saw the same street name but different numbers across the road. Very confusing! We found Hard Rock café not far from the Stockholm public library. My husband was happy!
Then we finally returned to our warm hotel room. We decided to go out for drinks later because this was our final night in beautiful Stockholm. Around 9 pm we found ourselves again wandering around Gamla Stan. The empty cobbled streets and old houses looked almost magical in dim light. I was totally mesmerized by Stockholm’s Old Town. There is more to Stockholm than the historical Gamla Stan but I was happy that I chose old squares over modern architecture for our 48h stay in Stockholm. We ended our night walk in a dodgy bar with cheap beer.
Monday morning came and we had to say goodbye to wonderful Stockholm. I didn’t have high expectations of Stockholm and it completely won me over. Maybe one day I return to this sophisticated Scandinavian capital. It was a great weekend trip!
Ps. read my other Stockholm posts if you want 🙂
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