Our first day in Stockholm started after we were -finally- checked in into our hotel around 3pm. We had gotten quite lost trying to locate the Stockholm Visitor Center (at Sergels Torg) to pick up our Stockholm Card and then gotten lost again trying to find our hotel. Saying that the area around the Central Station is chaotic would be a gross understatement. So if you plan on arriving there, make sure you have a detailed map of the area!
Anyway, after we were all settled, we took the bus (number 50) to the City Hall for a tour of the building itself. In about forty five minutes we were shown the halls of this beautiful 20th century building. In the Blue Hall, the Nobel Price banquet is being held every year, but the most impressive room is definitely the Golden Hall, which is adorned with golden mosaics. The City Hall can only be visited with a guide, but there are plenty of tours available so it’s not really that hard to get into one. The tour costs about 100 SEK, or is free when you got the Stockholm Card.
Apart from the City Hall itself, you can also visit the City Hall Tower. This tower is about 105 meters high and offers a stunning view on Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s old city). It’s best to go up in the late afternoon, as the sun is then shining on the old city (if it’s shining of course!) You also have to book a “tour” for this, but in fact it’s just on certain times that you are allowed to go up to limit the number of people. We weren’t able to get a tour on our first day anymore, but went back the second day in the morning to book the last tour of that day at 5:15pm. This costs 50 SEK, or is also included in the Stockholm Card.
While you wait for the tours to start, be sure to check out the garden in front of the City Hall. It’s a lovely place to relax and the view on Gamla Stan is already quite beautiful from there as well.
Next we headed to Norrmalm, where we walked from the south up to the north back to where our hotel was located.
We started our walk at the Opera (which I will tell you all more about in my next post as we visited the Opera on our second day), passed the St. Jacobs Kyrka and then headed to the Kungstädgarden, a lovely park with many terraces surrounding it. When we were visiting a Thai festival was taking place which brought along an amazing atmosphere. The next day the Stockholm Pride was also supposed to pass in the park, so I can only assume there is always something to do there.
While you’re at Kungstädgarden, you should also go check the subway , as many of Stockholm’s subway’s have amazing art. Kungstädgarden is one of the prettiest.
It quickly became quite late so we headed for La Neta (Barnhüsgatan) for dinner. I had read that Swedish people usually go eat tacos on Friday evenings, so following that pattern, we went to have tacos and quesadilla’s at this Mexican fast food restaurant. It has also been chosen best fast food restaurant of the year, and it definitely deserves that title. Very effecient serving and delicious food! It’s no place for fine dinning as you’re having your food on plastic plates and in a cafeteria like setting, but it’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner stop.
Bellies full, it was time to head back to the hotel, although with a little detour around the Obversatorielunden (which wasn’t all that interesting) and the Vasapark where Astrid Lendgren (author of Pipi Longstocking)’s home was located along. Once again, not a very special park, but apparently many of Astrid’s stories were based on this park, so I just felt like I had to see it.
And then, since I had been up since 4:30 am, I was dying to get some sleep so off to bed it was. But I couldn’t wait to explore more of Stockholm!
Until next time,
With love, Ellen