We escaped construction on Friday to fly for three days to the beautiful northern city of Stockholm. I have been to Sweden several times during the famous midsommar of late June and early July when the sun hardly sets at all, to our friends' summer home in the southern Swedish coastal town of Torekov. These same friends now live the majority of the year in Stockholm, and since we had not been to the city (and since I wanted to experience Sweden in the winter) we took advantage of their kind invitation for a visit.
Stockholm had been written up last week in Corriere della Sera as the Christmas shopping city, replacing New York. While shopping was not really on my mind, I was anxious to experience the atmosphere in this famous design city.
Over the next few days I will be writing about my impressions of Stockholm and the outlying areas, which I am still processing. The city is simply amazing; simple and fancy at the same time, full of ambience, warmth and beauty. We did seem to do a lot in a short period time; we spent quality time catching up with our friends, spent time in the historic city center, visited a wonderful country market and got to meet my internet friend Karin Eriksson at her lovely shop Manos. We visited the beautiful costal town of Vaxholm and ate a traditional Swedish "Christmas table", complete with seven different types of herring salad.
We even ate elk burgers. And, we got to experience what it is like to experience sunset at 2.30 in the afternoon and complete darkness by 3.00. It is no wonder to me that Swedes have some of the most beautiful interiors in the world -- considering the amount of time they spend inside in the winter.
Today I have posted some photos of our visit to Gamla Stan - literally translated as "old city" - which is on a small island in the city. The shop windows are amazing and the atmosphere is quintessentially northern. The city was bustling, the many cafes full and the skies grey. We ate at about two in the afternoon and came out of the restaurant to pitch darkness. It was wonderful.