A Travellerspoint blog

Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

sunny 23 °C
View Honeymoon World Tour on Nick-n-Charlie's travel map.

When we boarded the train from Gothenburg to Stockholm we understood why it was so much cheaper than the "high-speed" train (which was only actually 45 minutes faster) yet nearly double the price. You could describe our train as vintage as it would not have looked out of place in the 1960s, it was wicked, although Nick thought it was a little uncomfortable. Four hours later we arrived in sunny Stockholm!! Our hostel was only a short 10 minute walk from the central station and was pretty funky, with lots of common area's with mis matched furnishings and funky vintage items. We checked into City Backpackers; Urban Hostel http://www.citybackpackers.org, but unfortunately for Nick it was mostly underground which he didn't enjoy as he had just coped with our windowless room in Gothenburg, so did not seem keen on another 3 days without windows. I thought it was cosy, but slightly annoying that you didn't know what the weather was doing.

Bags dumped and Nick feeling slightly happier (more than likely due to the sunshine and 23 degree heat!), we grabbed a free map from reception and set off - first stop a much needed coffee! The hostel had suggested one around the corner which was really nice (and a reasonable price at £3.80 for a Latte) so nice we ended up visiting it again the next day. Feeling suitably perked up from our caffeine injection we began to wander along the large pedestrianised street Drottninggatan, or Queens Road which is basically the main shopping street with one corner that has no less than FOUR H&Ms - they are Swedish after all! The road eventually led over a bridge giving great views of some of the other islands of Stockholm as well as providing access to Gamla Stan (Old Town) with the Royal Palace at it's centre. This island is lovely with cobbled streets and old leaning buildings and at nice was a beautiful walk down all the winding lanes.

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Our first full day and the sun was shining again, so we headed to the main square to meet our free tour guide (as has become the norm - they are such a great way to get to know your way around the city, see the major sights, but more importantly get some great tips on what else there is to see and do!). The tour focused on the "new" town of Stockholm taking in the sky blue coloured Konserthuset (Concert House) where the Nobel Prizes are awarded each year as well as various other sights with funny and factual tales along the way, including seeing the sight where Stockholm Syndrome was coined, when a 6 day bank heist had the hostages siding with the robbers and pleading with the police to let them go, one hostage nearly married on of the robbers!

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where Stockholm Syndrome was coined

where Stockholm Syndrome was coined

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After the two hour tour finished we went for a picnic (and nap/sun-bathing) in a close by park (again becoming the norm!), before embarking on our second Free walking tour of the day - this time of the Old Town; Gamla Stan (which we had already seen some of the previous evening). This tour focused on the more historical side of Stockholm exploring the Royal Palaces, numerous winding cobbled alleyways, courtyards and hidden statues (including the smallest one in Stockholm a 6 inch statue of a seated boy), again with interesting facts and funny stories along the way.

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Our second day started slow as we had decided to hire bikes but had to wait until 10:00 to see if any were free. While waiting we started chatting to a lovely woman and her mom who were from Colchester and were trying to encourage us to join them that evening for Swedish meatball making. We were tempted but it was £12 each so a little expensive and I make meatballs all the time. Discovering that all the bikes had gone for the day we decided to walk our route instead and take in the Vasa Museum http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/. It's a little more then we normally spend on a museum at £13 each but was worth it, there is even a free 25min English tour and 20 min movie (with English subtitles) about the salvage. This museum was built around the full sized 17th century ship that sank on her virgin voyage in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later in one piece. Over 98% of the ship is original and in good condition due to the brackish water surrounding Stockholm. It took nearly 13 years to preserve it in a wax solution to protect it and the thing is colossal. The museum is over 4 floors and at the top you are still not level with the crows nests. They are still studying it and analysing paint fragments to discover how it looked in it's hay day, there are some parts that still have gold on them after being water for so long.

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After the museum we decided to walk round the huge park that covered most of the island of Djurgården where the Ship is, stop for lunch and then take the bridge back over to Östermalm. Once over the over side the river (which is actually the sea) it started to look like a lake, very strange and beautiful. You could very easily forget you were in a huge capital city. We ended up walking 10km that day but it I think we do that on average most days.

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Back at the hostel we bumped back into the British ladies and they were still trying to get us to do the cooking, but we were tired and had to be up at 04:30 the next morning to get our flight to St Petersburg so declined and instead went out to have a coffee and cake. We did however end up going to a fast food place (as our tummies rumbled) called Max which is the Swedish version of McDonalds. It reminded me why I hate those places so much, I Nick enjoyed his burger though. It was then back to the hostel for much needed sleep and an early start.

Posted by Nick-n-Charlie 17:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged stockholm vasa_museum Comments (1)

Gothenburg, Sweden

sunny 23 °C
View Honeymoon World Tour on Nick-n-Charlie's travel map.

After a very relaxing couple of days we boarded our train to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, and only an hour and half from Båstad. We purchased a 5 Trip card from the transport desk in the station 90SEK each (£9), however we have since decided once you have dropped off your bags you can easily walk the city. After a few wrong turns figuring out whether to get a tram or a bus we arrived at our hostel Slottsskogen Hostel http://www.sov.nu/index.php/en/and checked into the smallest room we have ever stayed in. It was literally the width of me, with no window and those fold up beds like you would get on a train. It was only for two nights though and was comfortable enough and was a private room at a really reasonable price for Sweden!

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The sun was shining and it was lovely and hot (so obviously Nick was happy!), even though it was nearly 16:00 by this point. We took a short(ish) walk to Skansen Kronan (the Crowned Fort) which overlooks Haga; the Old Town of Gothenburg, before stopping for coffees and cake in a really nice cafe where we spent the next couple of hours enjoying the evening sunshine, before taking a stroll along the riverside and slowly weaving our way back towards the hostel.

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We only had one full day in Gothenburg so had already decided to try and make the most of it. We got straight on a bus to the main station to sort out our train tickets to Stockholm the next day and were horrified when the first train that came up would have cost us nearly £170!! Luckily we managed to find a cheaper train (£95 for both of us), so tickets in hand we set off to explore.

I had already read about the Röhsska Museum of Swedish Design, Fashion and Decorative Arts (http://rohsska.se/en/) and they had a temporary exhibition on Evil Design which sounded really interesting. After a short stop in a park close by to read our guidebooks and leaflets (did I not mention we had visited the Tourist information?!?), and for a quick sun-bathing stop (Nick’s idea of course!), we hit the museum.

Annoyingly, we are no longer under 25 so could not enter for £2, although the lady at the counter kindly asked if we were! The ticket price was only £4 each and the ticket was valid for one year plus you could use it in other museums so a good deal really. The museum had exhibits on Japanese and Chinese arts and crafts, as well as a timeline of Swedish Design from the 19th-21st Century, a little like the V&A's. The most interesting exhibit though was the Evil Design one (http://rohsska.se/en/aktuellt/nu-pa-rohsska-museet/64/), which took a really novel look at how design can be viewed in a negative way, for example how mass production in design through sweatshops is often overlooked, or how similar Calvin Klein adverts compare to Nazi propaganda about the perfect image of the Aryan Race (compare the two - it is quite frightening!), plus the fact that someone had designed, concentration camps and the Nazi flag and if a fashion designer say's or does something unethical does that make their clothes undesirable and therefore unpopular?. It really made you view everyday things in a new light.

Feeling successfully cultured, we walked to the “main square” to see Poseidon's Statue only to see a young student with his mouth to Poseidons special area. Apparently it is freshers week in Gothenburg and there were armies of young students being given tasks and dares to do to humiliate themselves - those were the days! From there we weaved our way to Slottskogen, a huge park in the centre of the city which is known as the Green Lung of Gothenburg which has lakes, a small petting zoo (we saw seals and even a moose!) and is where most of the locals spend their weekends. The sun was still shining and it was baking hot, so we settled down for a picnic and ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in there!

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A quick pit stop back at the hostel later that evening and we decided to go back to Haga (the old town) for a last night drink. Sadly it seems to be more of a day-time destination as many of the cafes were closed. We did find a bar though which was lovely, albeit very expensive at £6.50 a pint, so after only one drink we called it a night (much to our bank balances relief) head back to the hostel for some food and sleep as we had another early start to catch the train to Stockholm.

Posted by Nick-n-Charlie 17:00 Archived in Sweden Tagged museum gothenburg röhsska Comments (0)

Båstad, Sweden

You don't pronounce it how it looks!!

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Honeymoon World Tour on Nick-n-Charlie's travel map.

Much earlier in our trip, Nick's friend Annika who he used to work with many years at Paul Smith has since moved back to Sweden and she had invited us to stay with her. Now she lives in a small town called Båstad which is actually pronounced Borstad, something we learnt after booking our train tickets and getting a few funny looks!

Annika met us at the train station though and it was so lovely to see her again as it has been a couple of years at a mutual friends wedding. Her flat was only a short walk from the station (as is everything in Båstad as it is so tiny!) and after dumping our things in her beautiful (and very Scandinavian looking) home we realised that she only had one bed and that she was going to be sleeping on her own sofa! We were of course mortified and had no idea that this would be the case when she had made the offer. We of course protested, but she was adamant and it turns out she slept really well on it!

Annika suggested that we all head out for a picnic and to enjoy the last of the evening sunshine before watching the sun set which sounded like a great idea to us. She gave us a short tour of the town explaining we had arrived about two weeks too late to miss the Summer Season before heading down to the marina and settling down for some food and Prosecco and watching the sun set into the Baltic Sea.

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The next morning Annika was up (very) early to go to work, so we had the day to ourselves. We decided to stay local and explored more of the town stopping for brunch at a cafe Annika had recommended before going for a walk along the coastal path and simply sitting on the end of a pier watching the world go by. It was very overcast and stormy looking but with perfectly calm waters so was beautiful and was somehow fitting for both of our moods. We were both feeling rather home sick at this point in the trip due to some sad news we had received while we were in Berlin and we were really starting to feel the distance of being away from our family and friends for so long, so it was nice to simply take some time to be together without feeling the pressure to do and see everything.

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That evening Annika cooked us a traditional Swedish dish of which I can't remember the name of, but it was a sort of chicken casserole in a creamy tomato sauce with warm bananas and peanuts served with rice which sounds very strange but delicious!! As all of us felt rather full, we decided to go for a walk along the seafront to get some fresh air before going for a beer and talking the night away. We were all a little shocked when we realised it was gone midnight and poor Annika has to be up in 6 hours to go to work!

Our final day in Båstad and Annika was going to try and finish work early to meet us and had suggested we take the train to the nearby town of Helsingborg; another sea-side town, but on a much lager scale. Nick and I woke up late, so by the time we arrived there is was already 14.00! Wearing our most colourful clothes, we set off to explore on our own for a while before meeting up with Annika and heading for coffee at an amazing, award winning coffee shop http://koppi.se where we spent ages chatting and waiting for Annika's boyfriend Patrick to meet us, before heading for food at a Mediterranean restaurant which was really good food and surprisingly cheap. Sadly Patrick had to leave after this, so the three of us headed for a stroll along the promenade for yet more coffee and to watch the sunset over the sea. It was the perfect ending to our time in Båstad and our stay with Annika.

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Unfortunately we had to do our goodbyes that night as Annika was up (stupidly) early again to be at work for 07.00, so we had the morning to ourselves - just enough time for a final walk by the sea (in glorious sunshine this time) and buy some thank you flowers for Annika before heading up to the train station (the hill did not seem that steep walking down it!!) to board our to Gothenburg to continue the Swedish leg of our trip!

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Posted by Nick-n-Charlie 17:00 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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