my good friend liz maly is visiting me in copenhagen, and we decided to take a weekend trip to stockholm (one of my favorite cities!) to visit our friend and uw colleague heather burpee, who is there on a valle scholarship. we had a fantastic time – visited some museums, met up with some friends from copenhagen who were also visiting, and got to see hb’s side of stockholm. i would say that the highlights of the trip were an amazing meal of swedish meatballs at pelikan, seeing the restored ship at the vasamuseet, visiting traditional buildings from all over sweden at skansen (stockholm’s open-air museum) where we learned about the origins of falu red paint (which gives many rural swedish buildings their distinctive color), visiting the dalahäst (traditional carved wooden horse) museum, and being initiated into (and heavily practicing) the swedish tradition of fika, a verb meaning ‘to take a coffee break,’ one that often includes friends and snacks, between larger meals…a tradition that i will be taking back to the states, and anywhere else i go…anyway. although that seems to be a lot of ‘highlights’ for two short days, it’s definitely an indication of what a great time we had in stockholm. here’s the photo-illustrated version:

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ahh, stockholm!

September 25, 2007

so, last but definitely not least on the fantastic scandi-russia tour was stockholm. three days there and plenty of walking around was enough to convince me that this is one of my favorite cities ever. it’s kind of funny, because i can’t think of any particular thing that made me decide this…it was just seeing so many different parts of the city and liking them all for different reasons. the streets are lively and have character, most areas are mixed-use, there’s lots of green and water mixed into urban areas, the transit systems are impressive, there’s amazing public infrastructure (stairs connecting various levels of the hilly city, bike paths, parks and benches everywhere)…everything just fits together really, really well. okay, and there’s this fantastic muffin bakery…and ice cream that was so good i ate it even though i was freezing…but those are only supporting factors. : ) ooh, i should back up and say that we took a viking cruise ship to stockholm from helsinki. it was an overnight cruise, one that is known for its wild, party atmosphere. apparently monday nights aren’t so hot…our boat wasn’t really hopping, although there were plenty of gambling and shopping areas, bars, and singers covering classic american ballads. but it was still a fun ride and definitely recommended. in the morning, we got to watch from the deck as the boat entered the harbor at stockholm…really beautiful! i can’t imagine living near the harbor and watching those enormous cruise ships (there’s a photo of our boat in my helsinki slide show) go by every day. anyway. back to stockholm. it was fantastic. we stayed in the old city, which is an island sandwiched between the northern and southern parts of stockholm (norrmalm and södermalm). there’s not really much going on in the old city besides it being the home of the castle and lots of tourist activity, but it sure is photogenic:

the old city from across the harbor

brända tomten, a famous and photogenic square (well, triangle) near our hostel

a narrow lane/the narrowest lane (35 inches wide)

some kind of royal marching band playing outside the castle

social commentary?

stortorget, another famous medieval square/cross-harbor view

old city streets and buildings

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so although the old city was beautiful, it wasn’t my favorite part of stockholm. what i really liked the most were the diverse neighborhoods and everyday urban areas, which i can try to convey here:

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so, if you get a chance, go to stockholm (and bring me with you)! : )