Three weeks ago I went to Stockholm for the first time (by the way that's the capital of Sweden, since going I've discovered a lot of people are sketchy about where it actually is - what?!) and it was also my first time in Scandinavia. Being a lover of Scandinavian design, I was burning to go. As we flew over Sweden I looked out the window and saw dense masses of trees, and believe it or not I have seen trees before, but there was something different about this land. I love visiting a new country and getting an immediate feel for it, but experiencing this from the plane is something pretty special.
We were only in Stockholm for two full days (the travelling days were just that so they don't count), but luckily it's fairly compact and a great walking city and we were extremely fortunate to have really warm, sunny weather the entire time which I'm told was rare for this time of year. We headed out to have a wander on our first morning after the healthiest breafkast buffet (at the hotel) that I have ever seen in my life. Almost everything was organic, all of it fresh and healthy and I wanted to take a Swede home with me to England to help me never not eat that way again. (Easier said than done, I can't even find most of it where I live!)
On our way out, we came upon two police women on horses:
And walked through a park with a fountain where people were relaxing on benches:
I had no idea where we were going and tend to like exploring a city that way - Stockholm is very safe - until I feel I'm kind of lost at which point I ask someone to point us in the direction of the city centre. Did I mention how incredibly helpful the people of Stockholm are? I'm not talking one or two people and generalising based on that, they will go out of their way for you, and it wasn't only me. I saw a man run up to a rental car sitting at a stop light with a flat tire and he told them where to take it and even offered advice for negotiating with the rental agency. That kind of warmth goes a long way in feeling immediately at home in a new city. Add to that clean streets, beautiful, painted buildings and a general ease about the people walking about - these people do not seem to carry tension with them - and it's impossible not to fall in love.
We kept walking and wound up in the exclusive Östermalm area and to our delight stumbled upon a beautiful waterfront where we had lunch:
This adorable pug was pleading for food with his eyeballs the whole time we ate, although he looks as if he's had his fair share of meatballs!
The benches are laid with sheepskins - there's always an element of comfort around it seems, and we couldn't help notice that all of the chairs on cafe and restaurant patios have blankets to keep patrons from getting chilly. Hygiene questsions aside, how sweet is that?
In Pt. 2 we take the peddle boats out (I get us stranded against a rock) and walk down the beautiful waterfront.
Photos © The Swelle Life