After a great start to my first solo trip, I spent three days in the city of Stockholm. In this post I have tried to highlight more on the places which I covered within those three days instead of focusing on details. I went to a lot of places and would like to cover as many of them as possible, along with some important information.
We woke up with a massive hangover, thanks to the night before (read it here). Iris and I packed our lunches and left for the ‘Royal Palace’. It is an extremely impressive building located at the centre of the city. We got to see the ‘Change of Guard’ Ceremony, which was taking place when we got there. I had witnessed the British Guard Changing Ceremony in London but the Swedish version was a first and it turned out to be quite entertaining. Stockholm is full of museums and there is literally no end to them. We decided to visit only a couple of museums which were famous for their uniqueness. Our first museum visit in the city was the ‘Vasa Museum’ (Entry Fee: 100SEK). We took the ferry to another island (the ferry expense was covered by the SL card) called ‘Djurgården’. What makes the museum so special is the original 17th Century ship of King Vasa displayed there. It is enormous and amazing to look at; I was fascinated to see what ships looked like in that era.
The second (and last) museum we visited was the ‘Medieval Museum’ (Free Entry). Iris was a great fan of Medieval History and it came off as obvious because the way that Swedish History was embedded within the heart of the city, it was difficult to not fall in love with it. Even a person like me (who has no interest in history) can’t possibly resist getting excited about it so I recommend it for sure. The Medieval Museum was also extraordinary. It was small but had a good collection of medieval artefacts collected throughout the city’s evolution. As if this wasn’t enough history for the day, Iris took me to a medieval-time themed bar in Galma Stan called the ‘Medeltidskrogen Sjätte Tunnan’. This was probably the best thing which happened to me in Stockholm. The place was located underground, at least two floors below the road. The interiors were exactly like the medieval times and the waitresses were dressed in medieval era costumes. It blew my mind and I just couldn’t get enough of the place. We tried a special Medieval drink known as ‘MEAD’, a must try if you are in Stockholm.
Iris had some seminar to attend the next day, so I took this opportunity to visit some places on my To—Do list which had already been paid for. While she was away, I went to see the ‘City Hall’ of Stockholm. I took a guided tour which was around 100 SEK. The City Hall (also referred as ‘Stadshuset’) is the place where the Nobel Prize banquet is held each year. The Swedish parliament sessions also used to take place in the same building before the current parliament was built. It was fascinating to stand in the same hall as where some of the greatest Nobel Prize winners must have shared space in past. It was an informative tour and worth every penny. I highly recommend adding the City Hall on your list while in Stockholm. Ever since childhood, we have heard about people winning Nobel Prizes and I was proud to finally have the opportunity to see the place where the Prize Ceremony took place. There was also the ‘Concert Hall’ (also known as the Cultural Centre). The Concert Hall was a part of the paid tour of the Cultural Hall building. Within 60 SEK,we had an English guide who told us interesting stories about the Ceremony Hall. All I can say is that at that moment, there was a sense of pride inside my heart just for standing in that atmosphere.
I roamed around the city and took the tunnel to random stations while enjoying some alone time just to realize what it felt like to be alone on a trip. There is another important tip you should know if you are planning to go to Stockholm: buying alcohol is not as straightforward in Sweden as it is in other European countries. In Sweden, the government has a chain of liquor stores called ‘Systembolaget’. One can’t buy alcohol from any other places (except bars and pubs of course). Keep in mind that while the drinking age in bars & restaurants in Sweden is 18 years while you have to be at least 20 years old to purchase alcohol at the Systembolaget. Always carry your age proof because if they ask you for proof and if you don’t have it, you won’t be able to buy the alcohol. The most bizarre fact is that if you are with another friend and he/she looks younger than the required age, they may ask for the age proof of both even though you are the customer and they may not sell you alcohol since your friend does not look old enough. The logic behind this bizarre rule made me laugh my heart out.
It was my last night in Stockholm and we decided to take a break from bar hopping and bought some wine home to drink and spend quality time as we had been travelling all over the city since the past three days and hadn’t had the time to talk. There is a huge Silent Revolution going on in Sweden about gender equality and Iris was a part of several feminist groups in Stockholm. I have never had a ‘feminist’ friend before so her views and arguments seemed interesting to me. Not being engaged in these sorts of social revolutions made me a fresh point of view for her and our endless talks were on the roll. We talked, argued, debated and ended up with highly altered views (and change of heart as well). I also told her about politics in India and how India actually is versus what people perceive it as. She had never had such first-hand views about India so it got her attention as well. The next thing I knew was that she was watching the Indian Prime minister‘s speeches on YouTube. It was great catching up with her. I invited her to England and she agreed to visit me sometime in the future with the condition that I would be her host.
These were the things I did on my trip. There were more things which I had wanted to do there but couldn’t for some reasons. I would still like you to consider them if you are going to visit Stockholm. Let me list them below to make it straighter forward for you guys.
1. Drottningholm Palace
2. ABBA Museum
3. Sigtuna town
4. Uppsala Town
5. Kayaking in Stockholm
These are some things you should definitely try to cover the beauties of Stockholm on your next trip. Also, Sweden is one of the best places to encounter the ‘Northern Lights’. It’s also on my Bucket-List for the future. So if you are planning to visit outside Stockholm, seeing the northern lights should be your first priority. Thank you for reading this blog post. Any suggestion and comment are more than welcome.