Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sunny Stockholm.

Pärlans Konfektyr - perfectly elegant confectionery.
Push My Buttons - Vintage and records.

Our first afternoon was spent wandering around our Air BnB appartment's district, Södermalm, poking our heads into it's array of vintage shops, with the help of Herb Lester's fantastic guide to Stockholm. Our favourite shops are listed above, as well as Papercut, Pop, Beyond Retro and our favourite of all, Grandpa. Next door was our home-from-home hangout, Il Cafe, where we could have been back in East London. Generally we found that in every cafe we visited,  fresh sourdough and loose-leaf tea were served as standard, there wasn't a tea bag in sight! Our pampered London taste buds were definitely catered for.

Day two was spent spoiling ourselves in the most decadent 1904 public baths, Centralbadet, pictured above. (For only £20ish each, might I add). Adorned with grand palms and wood panelled booths to relax and watch some swimmers, we spent hours basking in all the various jacuzzis and steam rooms. To reward our hard work we went to nearby Vete- Katten for afternoon tea. Described perfectly as, 'Where Miss Marple would go to meet her Swedish pen-pal', we had the BEST vanilla bun yet.

Beautiful Vaxholm

Day three was spent exploring the coast of Vaxholm, a stunning tiny fishing island only an hours boat ride away. It was pretty idyllic stuff; classic Nordic seascapes, mixed with secluded little beaches, and coastal woodland walks, and inland was full of unusual and pristinely painted pastel houses. All finished off with more excellent cake and hot chocolates at Cafe Silltruten watching the water, before returning back to our lovely appartment.

Our last day was spent on the more central island of Djurgarden, a fun-filled set of parks and gardens, and above all, the theme park, Gröna Lund. We picnicked by the water, and ventured off to visit Rosendals Trädgård, the most beautiful garden shop I've ever seen (there, I said it), surrounded by biodynamic gardens and secret areas to sit and sun ourselves, and a very fancy farm shop and cafe where we could have spent all our pocket money stocking up on foodie souvenirs.

The afternoon was spent with wide eyes and sugar highs in the theme park Grona Lund; not like any theme park I've seen in the UK, everything on the ground was edged with pretty borders of colourful flowers, and everything in the air was edged with circus lightbulbs. And I mean everything. It was immaculately designed in a kitsch 50's style, overlooking the water, worth a visit, if you can manage to catch it when it's open. As it was the first opening of the year, we just got a pass into the park without ride passes, as the queues for the roller coasters were hours long, but we were more than happy exploring and marvelling at how beautiful and perfectly designed it all was  (and stuffing our faces with candy floss) and spent a long afternoon by a fairground kiosk on a little pontoon on the water enjoying the sun and listening to the screams.  Ahhh, were dreamy. I forgive you for making it too expensive for us to be permanently hungover.

Footnotes: So the rumours are true, Stockholm is crazy expensive, but we still loved it. A pint was around £8 everywhere we went, and a cup of tea or any single journey on the tube was £2.50. We rented an Air BnB apartment in Sodermalm for £35 each/night so that we could self cater, it was absolutely perfect and felt like home. Our day trip to Vaxholm was £12 to get there on a boat and £3 to return on a bus, and the lovely Grona Lund was £11 for a 'non-ride' ticket. 

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