Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Loving Stockholm

I have not always loved Stockholm the way I do now. My love affair with Stockholm has grown over the last four-five years, as I have travelled there with my family and sometimes with friends, too.

It's fairly inexpensive to go there on a 'day cruise' from here. Actually, it's two nights on the ship and you get about six hours in Stockholm. Six hours, though, is plenty of time for visiting a museum, going for a coffee and perhaps even popping into a shop or two. And walking and enjoying the city.

Stockholm, Old Town
When we arrived on our last trip, the skies over Stockholm were gray and damp. Sharp gusts of wind felt cold. No problem; we're used to this weather. At least it didn't rain (much).

We walked through the Old City. We stopped for coffee and cinnamon rolls at a nice café. We walked some more, looked into a second-hand shop, visited a museum. And walked back to the ship.

I was teary-eyed for the sheer joy of being able to walk all those distances. (Like, six kilometres altogether. For our family, it's not that much. But it feels like a lot when coming out of an injury.)

I love Stockholm at any time of the year.  The autumn and the winter are the times when cruises are at their cheapest, especially with a club card and special offers. So that's the time of year when we get to go most often. My son loves those cruises. He's still young enough to enjoy the children's programmes (sweets bingo!) and old enough to relax on his bunk bed with a good book when there's nothing special on the programme. Stockholm has wonderful museums with hands-on activities and other interesting exhibits for children, too - fantastic field trips for homeschoolers, who can take advantage of travelling outside the peak seasons. *)

But summertime in Stockholm is wonderful, too.

The summer starts with the Stockholm Marathon (usually end of May or first weekend in June), which my darling Ultra Runner has ran a couple of times. Yes, they were some of those "romantic getaway for an ultra runner" type of holidays for us two. Just you and me, honey - and thousands of runners...

At a café in Skansen. So, what do you want to have with your coffee?
There's Skansen. Open-air museum, zoo, just a wonderful place to spend a summer day.

There are lots and lots of cafés, outdoors and indoors.
Swedes know how to have a coffee break. They call it "fika": a coffee break, a good cup of coffee and a sweet, with friendship-fellowship on the side.

And the water everywhere. Just imagine what this will look like in the summer, blue water reflecting the blue skies.

And the Swedes can have a quirky sense of humour, too...

God willing, we'll be back. Sooner or later. 
If not for the Marathon, then perhaps for the Ultra...

*) I'm not saying that Helsinki does not have good museums. At some point or another, I'll write my love songs to it, as well as other places I love to go.

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