Sept 25, 2016
No, not that syndrome. This post is about Stockholm, I was just trying to be artsy with my title. 😀
We left for Gamla Stan (which literally means “old town”) at around lunch time on a Sunday. It was a good 20-minute leisurely walk from our apartment in Central. Autumn was fast approaching; it was evident as we braved the chilly weather and walked along the urban streets lined with shops and cafes, trees beginning to yellow.
Past the souvenir shops along Drottninggatan (“gatan” means street), we finally reached one of the bridges that led us to the majestic gates of the Old Town.
Gamla Stan is comprised of those familiar European small buildings painted in autumn colors (mostly orange, red and yellow), put up in a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and sometimes steep alleyways. There is something magical in walking these little streets lined with cute cafes with al fresco seats, shops selling waffles and ice creams, souvenir shops, and even specialty shops selling an assortment of vintage items.
I really felt like I was in Diagon Alley shopping for robes, wand, books and school supplies. I was half-expecting to see Ollivander’s (Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC) and Gringotts Bank, and more pathetically, a pet shop where I can buy my own snowy owl.
I was dragged back to reality when we reached Stortorget, the most photographed place in Stockholm. We actually emerged there from the side of “that famous red building”.
There were many tourists because it was a Sunday – both Asians and Caucasians taking selfies and photos of the surroundings. Benches are plenty in the center of the square, beside the fountain, where you can sit while sipping your hot (and expensive) coffee and enjoy a quiet sunny afternoon, or you can even feed the doves. For some reason, the birds in Europe seem to enjoy the company of hoomans.
Facing the red building, there is an alleyway to the left going to the Stockholm Palace. Also called the Royal Palace, according to Wikipedia it is “the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch.” We didn’t enter it, but we were satisfied with its grand façade.
It was around 2pm and we haven’t eaten yet so we decided to have lunch. Rean suggested to eat in T.G.I. Friday’s. We left Gamla Stan and walked through Kungstradgarden where the restaurant is.
I didn’t notice how far we’ve walked since leaving the apartment; it became evident how tired we were when we ate our scrumptious food.
After the pleasant refueling, we headed to Djurgarden, still by foot. Walking is actually a good way to explore Stockholm if you want to admire the beautiful buildings and parks.
We reached Strandvagen, the cobbled baywalk that offers a scenic view of the bay, boats and distant buildings on one side, and the grandiose line of buildings and trees on the other. There are a few cafes and restaurants along the walkway – and they’re probably busier in the evening because I often see them near-empty.
We headed back to the apartment somewhat early because Rean had to go to work the following day. Also, it is getting colder after sunset and we were already tired after all the walking. Nonetheless, it was worth it! I was so impressed by Stockholm’s beauty I decided to roam around alone the following day.