Day 3: Stockholm
Stockholm Travel Blog› entry 7 of 13 › view all entries
Risking a copyright infringement claim I will quote Lonley Planet guidebook here: "Once you get over the armies of tourists wielding ice-cream cones and shopping bags, you'll discover that the oldest part of Stockholm is also its most beautiful".
Never before has a guidebook description been so accurate. In short: Gamla Stan is beautiful. The old town, the original island where Stockholm originated and sprawled from has a wonderful atmosphere, interesting old buildings and is an absolute joy to wander around for a few hours. But sadly it is also the most touristic part of town, and we had to wade our way through hordes of tourist groups all frantically trying to follow their own guides.
Fortunately for us all groups seemed to be following the same general route, and it turned out to be easy enough to walk around the groups.
Oddly most groups seemed to pass the tiny alley of Mårten Trotzigs Gränd completely. This alley, less than a metre wide and containing some steep steps is the smallest, and definitely one of the most scenic alleys in all of Gamla Stan.
After Gamla Stan we took the ferry to Djurgården. This island that used to function as a playground for Swedish royalty and these days functions as a playground for the Swedish common man. There is a theme park, an open air museum, several other museums and a few nice parks and some woods.
We hired a couple of bikes to ride around the island, enjoying having some exercise 'outdoors' and admiring the picturesque views of the city's waterfront.
The ferry docks right next to the Gröna Lund Tivoli theme park which is a very clever thing, because although we weren't planning on visiting another theme park this trip, I just couldn't let the opportunity pass to ride the really cool looking Jetline rollercoaster which is located at the waterfront. So we bought some ride coupons and went for a stroll in this rather small and cramped theme park. It has been in business for more than a century but apart from the buildings at the entrance little remains of those glory days. The park is now packed with fairground attractions and loud music.
The Jetline was worth it though - this is one of the coolest compact coasters I have ever seen.
We had dinner in an Austrian restaurant/beer garden in the park.
In the evening we went back to the city centre again, to have a look at the famous Ice Bar. The Ice Bar is based on the famed Ice Hotel in Northern Sweden, only without the snow. Basically it is a huge freezer where you huddle around wearing a puffy coat and gloves, sipping cocktails in glasses made out of ice. It is a really, really cool place, but also ridiculously expensive. Whether or not the hefty 30 euro entrance fee was worth it, I still haven't decided. The first drink is included in the entrance fee, but after this drink not many people will stay around much longer - after all, it is cold in there.
But the interior *is* really cool. The walls are made of blocks of ice. The bar is made of ice. The furniture (what little is there) is made of ice, with a deer skin to stop your butt from freezing. So yeah, even though we didn't spend more than half an hour in this place it was still a good laugh.
After this we went back to Stureplan for some more partying. This time we were early enough to get into one of the nightclubs. Stockholm nightclubs are all about queuing, we found. First there was a queue outside to get in. Well, we have these in Holland too, so nothing strange there. But then once inside we could only wander around at ground floor level. If we wanted to go higher up (I think there were five levels at least) we had to queue again! And perhaps even pay more entrance fees, I don't know, as we didn't bother. The level we were on had excellent music, and plenty o'beer to boot, so we stayed here the rest of the night.