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Published: August 31st 2010
No... not Stockholm Syndrome in the hostage psychology context, nor with reference to the Daily Show segments (which I recommend you watch - Stockholm Syndrome
). I mean the title simply in that Stockholm infects you with its beauty. I have spent one week of my time in Sweden in Stockholm and I can confidently say that its the most beautiful foreign city I have ever been to (at least when the weather is as beautiful as it has been during my time here).
On my way to Stockholm, I drove with Adina's father who commutes to Stockholm from Halmstad for work. The trip from Halmstad to Stockholm cuts straight across the country from west coast to east coast, which provided me with the opportunity to see much of the Swedish countryside and several sights along the way. By the time we arrived in Stockholm we had made 4 stops. First in Boras, an unremarkable, but beautiful, Halmstad-sized city in the direction of Gothenburg. Then at Brahehus, castle ruins, originally built for a Swedish statesman in the 1600's, that overlook Sweden's second largest lake, Lake Vattern. Next to Göta Kanal, a canal which connects Gothenburg on the west to Stockholm on the
east. And finally a stop in Nyköping to see another castle and have dinner beside the Baltic Sea. By the time we got to Nyköping, I felt as though I had seen the entire country, but the Stockholm syndrome bit me as soon as we approached the beautifully lit up city, and I was rejuvenated with a desire to explore more on this long day. After a short nighttime walk through the city, I already knew I would love this place.
Since I arrived I have been graciously hosted by Adina's brother, Petter, and his girlfriend, Madeleine, who live in the heart of the city in an area called Östermalm. I have been more than comfortable here with my own bedroom and only minutes walk from almost all the cities top sights. The city is spectacular. It is actually built on an archipelago so waterways run throughout the city. The buildings of Östermalm are all ornately designed. The streets of Gamla Stan, the old city, have you walking back in time. And from Södermalm, the hilly streets are filled with action and great views of the city's other islands.
On my first day here, Petter took me to
the Vasa Museum - Sweden's most visited museum and one I have been intrigued with since learning about the Vasa some time ago on the History Channel. The Swedish ship sank, due to improper engineering, after only a 1500 meter maiden voyage. It sat in the ocean for 333 years after sinking in 1628 until it was salvaged in 1961. The ship is absolutely massive and being in its presence made me marvel at what mankind has accomplished. Even if the ship couldn't serve its purpose and sail in the water, it amazes me that such a thing could be built in the absence of modern day tools. The rutter alone was 5 stories high!
Today we visited Skansen on the island of Djurgarden. Skansen is a zoo/outdoor museum very near to Östermalm. We saw how the Swedes of old made their linen clothes, braided their ropes from tree bark, and baked Swedish flatbread. Best of all, we saw the Nordic animals, including, of course, the moose (which I learned in Europe is called an elk, which caused much confusion for me for several days). For whatever reason, I have always wanted to see a moose. Why? I do
Another popular area of the city which has a great view of Gamla Stan and Ostermalm
not know, yet the trip to Skansen satisfied my mysterious desire.
With the moose now off my back, I feel great about the time I have spent in Stockholm. I have only specifically referenced two of my Stockholm adventures here as the bulk of my time was simply spent wandering the streets of Stockholm's neighborhoods. I immensely enjoyed this time as my senses digested this beautiful place in crisp, but comfortable, weather that signified summer was truly over.
Perhaps the one staple Stockholm experience I missed was spending a sunny day on one of the undeveloped islands in Stockholm's archipelago. I got a taste of what the archipelago was like however, on an unplanned 2 day cruise to Tallinn, Estonia... but I'll save that story for next time.
As always, see the photos for the real story and MUCH ALOHA from Stockholm.
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