Scandinavia Mania: Swedish Cities
We spent about a week of our trip visiting the two largest cities in Sweden: Stockholm on the east coast and Göteborg (a.k.a. Gothenburg) on the west coast.
In Stockholm, we saw the royal palace, browsed the public library, took in the view from atop the Katarinahissen, visited the vintage stores in Södermalm, and ate lots of quiche and pastries at our favorite konditori.
The city is spread out over an archipelago, so we spent a couple of days riding the ferries to and fro.
Since we were out during the day in the middle of the week, the islands were pretty quiet. We saw lots of young families on playdates, a few retired couples, and a smattering of other tourists. I was surprised at how many fathers we saw taking their kids out for the day, pushing strollers around and chatting with other dads. Swedes must have better paternity leave benefits than we do.
We spent one day visiting Fjaderholmen, an island with lots of artisan workshops and ice cream stands. What better way to follow a glassblowing demonstration than with a scoop of chocolate on the patio? We rested our feet and watched kids play with a giant Parcheesi set.
The next day, we visited Skansen, an open air museum and zoo on the island of Djurgården.
It was fun to go inside the historic buildings, but my favorite part was seeing the animals. We stood with dozens of other people watching the brown bears wrestle in their enclosure, and the reindeer nibbling moss in theirs. Stephen made friends with the goats at the barnyard. The only animals I tried to steer clear of were the noisy, aggressive peacocks, which would belly up to the picnic tables and loudly demand a bite of food.
A few days later, we took the train from Stockholm to Göteborg, the country's second-largest city. This city is also situated on the water, but we didn't visit any islands. We did go on one boat, though: our floating hotel! We had a harbor-facing window from which we could watch the sun set in the evening, and there was a good view of Skanskaskrapan, the bright-red skyscraper commonly referred to as the Lipstick, from the roof.
For an even better look at the city, we took a ride on the towering Wheel of Göteborg one evening. There was a VIP booth with tinted windows and white Christmas lights, but we just rode in one of the regular carriages.
I really liked Göteborg. I had heard that the city was more industrial than Stockholm, but it had a youthful energy and we found some awesome cafes and museums during our brief stay (not to mention the lovely botanical garden that we stumbled into when looking for a public bathroom). I'd like to go back someday--I'm sure there are more treasures there.
But there were still many other places for us to visit. Yet to come: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and a Midsummer adventure!
Posted by Heather at 8/20/2010