Late in the evening on the 23rd february began my travel to Sweden. More precisely
to the capital Stockholm. Despite we were late for more than two hours due to heavy
weather conditions the mood was great. Shortly after 22:00 we finally landed in
one the airports of Stockholm.
Arlanda Airport is situated 45km north from the capital but can easily be reached in 20 minutes by the
(a highspeed train). The train station is directly below the airport and can be access by either elevator
or stairs. Tickets can be bought either at the yellow ticket machines directly at the tracks or (better)
at the information desk at the exit of the airport. It's a good idea by a return ticket some costs 380 kronor.
The Arlanda Express leaves the station every 15 Minutes (less frequently during off times) and has got enough space to
hold all the luggage of the travellers. Make sure you hold a valid ticket as there is a ticketman in each train.
Seats are comfortable and only a low whistles reminds the traveller that the train's running at 205km/h. Time runs
very quickly and one finds himself soon in the heart of Stockholm - Centralstationen.
Directly in front of the station there's a long queue of taxi cabs waiting for
arriving travellers. Since my hotel was close to the station i passed them quickly
and reached into my bag for the citymap. But I didnät have to study the map for long
as just then my eyes spotted the hotel's sign - it was only 50m away :-). Since it was
a bit cooler in Stockholm (minus 5 degrees) than Zürich (plus 15 degrees) I quickly
went to the hotel for checkin.
The Nordic Sea Hotel presented itself as a
decent comfortable hotel of the upper middleclass. Despite its central position it was
nicely quite inside of it. My room was tidy, contained a deks, safe, tv, own bathroom with
shower and of course internet access. The link was working fine with DHCP and no outgoing
ports were blocked. Telia seemed to be the ISP. Interestingly there was an umbrella and
an iron in the cupboard. In the morning they have a nice breakfast buffet with self service.
In the lobby you can access additional computers some provide more information about all kind
of sightseeings and events. Although the browser is a little bit tricky and doesn't always
work as expected (due to security restrictions, i think). So bringing your computer is
definitively a good idea.
Those who return to the hotel late at night and still are a bit hungry should be careful.
I ordered a small clubsandwich. What I later found on my plate was a huge sandwich that
easily could nourish two people :-)
In the next morning i got up early and left the hotel to go shopping. Storgaten
(kinda like Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich) was the target. There were only few
people around so I had no difficulties getting through the traffic. However the
reason for this was that .... most shops were still closed. Some shops didn't open
until 10:00. So I had enough time to walk around and scan the area for interesting
shops to visit later on.
While walking around I made my first encounters with the locals and could speak to
them using my swedish skills. Well they kinda turned out differently than expected
as people didn't seem to use many words:
"Hur mycket kostar det?" - "Tretti kronor" - "Varsågod" - "Tack".
Right after noon all shopping was done and I went to
Kurz nach Mittag waren dann alle Einkäfe getätigt und es ging in den
This park in the Norrmalm disctrict is a place of lots of different activities.
I brought my skates with me to try them on the ice I read they had setup at the park.
And really, situated around a statue there was a nice Icefield. So quickly the skates
were put on and off we go on the ice! Despite there was no ice or cooling machine
involved the quality of the ice was just perfect. They even had a Zamboni to clean
the ice. As soon as my blades scratched over the ice they started to play music ...
ABBA, of course :-).
Next to the ice there were also some other kind of activities. Some People were
playing some kind of snow-hockey. They were running around without iceskates
chasing a red ball and trying to score a goal.
Right next to them was a ramp built of snow. A few kids with bmx cykles jumped
over the ramp and showed all kind of tricks and figures. Some were really cool
and jumped with hands off and made flips and such things. There was also a speaker
explaining the different styles and jumps. Everytime a successful attempt was made
the crowd cheered and claped their hands.
In the late afternoon I returned to the hotel and took a long hot shower and got
myself ready for the evening. First I wanted to have dinner so I went to a steakhouse
that has been recommended to me. When I got in I wanted to sit down right away - but
it turned out not to work this way here! First you have to stand in the queue and
request a seat. After that you can sit at a small side table and wait until the
waitress calls your name. Time to practise more sweedish - it turned out that
this time people were willing to talk in longer phrases :-).
After a while my seat was ready and I was called. Those who wish to test their
sweedish skills should order their table/seat in sweedish (like me). If your
skills are fine, then you'll find the menu written in sweedish at your table
(not me). Oh well, the english menu had great food on it, too - so I ordered
a moose steak. At least the waitress asked me why I got an english and not a sweedish
menu - (yessss, at least half a point!).
On the next day i went to
Gamla Stan which translates into
old town. It was become colder and some light snow started to fall from the sky. I went
over Vasabron right into Gamla Stan. Soon I was surrounded by old buildings and it felt
like having arrived in the middleage. There was dozens of small souvenir shops, small cafes
and restaurants. Some special shops were a roleplaying store and a the viking shop where
one can find all kind of swords, shields, armour and other items the aspiring
viking of today might be in need of.
Gamla Stan has got a very cosy atmosphere despite all the tourist shops. The houses
stand very close to each other and sometimes you might feel a bit like in a maze.
While walking around I suddenly spotted a sign on top of a heacy iron gate reading
"Ehret Gott! Fürchtet den König!". German text? Here? A closer examination yielded
that this was the entrance to the Tysk Kyrkan.
This was a huge church which first was the guildhouse of the Hanse and later was rebuilt
as a church on in the 16th century.
Over the time i started to feeling hungry and a place where i could warm up seemed to be
a good idea, too. So i looked around for a small cafe. The nearest cafe was called
So i entered it and was surprised about the rich plate of pies, icecream and beverages
they offered. I ordered a hot chocolate and an applepie with vailla sauce - it was just
marvellous! If you ever happen to come across Gamal Stan - visit this cafe, it's well worth it!
Warmed up and with filled stomach I left the cafe again and walk along Skeppsbrokajen passing
the king's palace and back again to Kungsträdgården - this time not for iceskating
but walking on to Djurgården. Djurgården is an island in the western part of Stockholm.
It's not so urban but rather natural with woods and not many roads and buildings. First I visited the
Nordiska Museet where you can learn all kind of things about
Scandinavia. The museum itself is huge building. Standing alone like a cathedral without towers. The
winterly weather intensified to this impression.
Afterwards I passed the botanic museum and Grönalund
(theme park) and went to Skansen.
Skansen is a large park where you can see old nordic houses, nordic zoo and lots of things made for
kids. In summertime there are people here who demonstrate old trading skills like smithing, building
houses and so on.
Very lovely is the part where you can see nordic animals: wolves, bears, lux, wolverines, seals, utter,
owls and of course mooses. I was very lucky as I arrived there right when the feeding time began. Personnel
from the park was feeding te animals and explained their habits. Actually, everyone who goes to Stockholm
should take the time and visit Skansen.
At 16:00 the park closed and so I left and went to the
The Vasa is a former warship some sunk and was recovered later on. The museum was built around the ship.
After I had bought a ticket I entered the dimmly lit museum. And suddenly, there was she: the Vasa! Whoever has
not seen such a ship before must simply be overwhelmed by the sheer size of her. The ship stands in the middle of
the museum. On several levels around it all kind of exhibitions and information has been setup. You can learn about
how the ship was built, why it sank, how it was recovered and so on. Even a computerbased 3d animation of the
former captain exists there. The museum was very dark and only dimmly lit so i apologize for the poor quality of the
Then the time has come to say goodbye to Stockholm - Venice of the North. A very interesting town I hope
to visit again.