Arrival at Arlanda International Airport
This was my very first trip to Sweden and enjoyed already the great views while landing at Arlanda. Seen from the sky the landscape made of small hills, many lakes and islands make me already want to come back to Sweden though I haven't yet set foot on the ground. After being welcomed at the hospitality desk, I got a ride to the Clarion Sign hotel in downtown Stockholm. The place is perfect and love the large room. The hotel elevators with their disco, pop, jazz and rock themes are very original too and fun to take.
Views on the countryside and lakes while descending to Stockholm Arlanda airport
First walk in the streets of Stockholm
I only have three hours in front of me before heading to the Friends Arena. I get out for a stroll in the old town.
First impressions. View on Norrbron bridge
A church in the old town
Another view on the church from a narrow street
Lunchbreak at Paul's in the Scandic Haymarket
I improvise to find a place to stop and have lunch. On Hortoget Square where a fruit and veg market is held, I see a nice terrace. Paul's is part of the Scandic Haymarket and I am tempted by the menu. To access the restaurant you first cross a large wall of screens in the hotel lobby featuring famous swedish stars. Before taking a seat you need to order and pay upfront what you're going to eat. Strangely, at least to me, you should already tip for the service. The service is nevertheless excellent and enjoy on an outdoor table a fantastic fried halloumi salad (120 SEK). It's really delicious and give it a five stars.
Tribute to cinema at the Haymarket
I advise this fried halloumi salad at Paul's (Haymarket)
Stall on the Hotorget market: asparagus, mangoes, cherries and strawberries
The game: Manchester United vs Ajax Amsterdam
When I was young I was a huge fan of Ajax, so it could not be a better team to watch and support. All was so well organised from the "VIP" welcome, the hospitality event and all the transfers. Unfortunately for me, ManU lifted the trophy after a deserved 2-0 win and a triumphing Zlatan Ibrahimovic running around the pitch, injured, with his crutches.
Players entering the pitch during the 2017 Europa League final at Stockholm's Friends Arena: Ajax Amsterdam vs Manchester United
Second day, enjoying every minute before heading back home
After a short night and having my return flight at the end of the day, I leave the hotel with good intentions: re-visit the old town, the Royal Palace and open-air park in Skansen. Finally, I change my itinary throughout my day. Going early enough in the morning is a good idea to be able to stroll quietly in the streets before shops open and before it gets crowded. I first bypass the Royal Palace which allows me to take some nice shots and finally decide I won't visit it to preferrably stay outside and enjoy this nice warm day.
One of the facades of the Royal Palace
The Palace and the Crown
Blue earthenware vase in front of one the gates
A Royal Guard
A quiet street in Gamla Stan, in the old town
Tyska church Bell tower, under a blue sky
Saint George and the dragon, one of Stockholm's emblems. If you look closely, you see his face is all white covered.
Heading to Skansen, world's oldest open-air museum
From the old town to Skansen it takes about half an hour. It's a pleasant walk along the waterfront. At the foot of the funicular and Skansen's secondary entrance, I try to enter Wärdshuset Ulla Winbladh, a restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet pocket guide I purchased when I arrived in Stockholm. The opening hours visibly indicate 11:30. It is past noon. The doors are closed but I see a dozen waiters and other staff members having lunch! Um, not so good. The line in front of the Skansen's ticketing booths is long and I do not want to wait any longer. I leave towards the main entrance of the park 500 meters further away. It's not better there. It is almost 1 pm and I have only two and a half hours left. Skansen could have been nice to see but considering how vast the park is, I change my program.
Solsangåren or "The Sun Singer" : I am so lucky to see Stockholm in a warm day. Maybe it's him who brought me the luck!
The roofs of the Nordiska Museet (Nordic museum)
An old tram in Djurgården
Behind the Skansen museum shop
Program change: heading to Vasamuseet to see a 17th century war ship
There are many museums around Skansen. I decided to go to the Vasa museum where the ship of the same name, which sank in Stockholm harbor in 1628 in its maiden voyage. While walking, I first pass in front of the ABBA museum, the Spritmuseet (museum of spirits) and a herring stand where many locals order fried fish toasts and burgers. I'm too hungry and order a toast I eat on the waterfront. It's very tasty and only costs 65 SEK (about 6 Euro).
ABBA museum entrance
Loved this small fish stand. When you see this many people it must surely be a good place. This one is located between the Spiritmuseet and the Vasamuseet.
My delicious and tasty fried herring toast
Stockholm is a city of water : people are initiating themselves to standup paddle
Intriguing music instruments
The Vasa sank in 1628. Poorly designed (much too narrow in relation to its height), this warship only sailed a few minutes before tipping under a gust of wind. It will stay preserved for 333 years before it got brought back to the surface. After many years of restoration, the ship can now be visited (adult entry: 130 SEK - about 11 Euro) but only from the outside and be seen from multiple levels. You won't be able to board it but it was great seeing a real warship of the 17th century with thousands of ornaments and learn about its history. Take also some time to watch a short movie in the theatre to get some better understanding of how it got restored and get some interesting details.
No, this is not a model. This is the real Vasa war ship that sank in 1628.
One of the many faces on the Vasa. Not very attractive, they served to impress and frighten ennemies
Good memoroes from Stockholm, Sweden
My trip to Stockholm already ends but I was happy to have seen many facets of the city in just 24 hours. I would need to come back for a longer time to know Stockholm better and to discover its surroundings that seems to be beautiful. Why not in winter when the atmosphere must be different.
Last picture from Stockholm before heading back: boats on Djurgardsbrunnsviken.
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