12 Hours in Stockholm (ARN)
It's usually winter whenever I am in Stockholm --- which means its pretty cold and dark. It's a great place to visit under any weather condition - - but I had the joy of experiencing it in full daylight and summer temperatures recently. I was in the city for a convention - and I purposely arrived a day early to jam in as much fun as I could in 12 hours. Here's what I saw - and I what I reccommend.
I started off my day at Central Station. The transportation in Stockholm is spectacular and it's super easy to zip around via subway, streetcar or bus. The station itself is beautiful and looks like it's been through a recent renovation.
The Old Town
My first stop was the 'must-see' Old Town (Gamla Stan). It's a magical place made up of gingerbread like buildings, medieval alleyways, and charming shops. It has the feel of a fairly-tail village (in a good way)-- and Prince Charming would be right at home here. I could have easily spent the whole day exploring- but I eventually had to rip myself away to see more of the city.
The Vasa Museum
If you are going to see one museum in Stockholm - -make it the Vasa! It's billed as a "maritime museum" (but don't let that scare you). The main attraction is a 17th century war ship - The Vasa. It dramatically sank on it's maiden voyage (I don't think it even made it out of the harbor!). 333 years later it was pulled from the murky depth of the ocean and restored to its full glory. The ship is HUGE - and almost over-powering. To me the two main highlights include just walking around the whole thing (you can view it from different levels) - and going through the exhibits which allowed you to experience life on board.
I actually walked to my next destination - and I am glad I did! From the Vasa - I made my way back into town along the waterfront. The boardwalk was littered with eateries, anchored ships big and small (some of them looked like homes), stately buildings and elegant hotels. It's a great area to soak up the Stockholm vibe.
Stockholm Concert Hall
I eventually made my way to my penultimate stop - The Stockholm Concert Hall. This is where the Nobel Prizes are given out each year. I didn't get a chance to see the inside (that will have to be on the next trip) - -but I was very impressed with the statue installation on the outside by Carl Milles. It almost felt like they were moving as I walked around them-- and it seemed as if they were about to take flight at any moment.
The Haymarket Hotel
My last stop was the recently opened Haymarket Hotel which is directly across from the Stockholm Concert Hall. It used to be a famous department store (Greta Garbo was discovered behind the hat counter). It's been converted into a shrine to Art Deco - and they did a fantastic job . The bar felt like it was right out of the roaring 20's -- and it had an impressive wine list. It was the perfect place to rest after a long day of sight seeing. All in all - I loved my (short) time in Stockholm and I can't wait to see more of it on my next visit (probably in the winter!)