In the interests of not banging on about every little thing in these posts, we’ve decided to combine a few of the smaller and less adventurous parts into single posts. For example, this post, in which we talk about Stockholm and Copenhagen together. Also in the interests of mobile readability, many of the photos that would normally accompany these posts are heading to Flickr and Instagram instead.
Ten Great Stockholm Bits
- Our accommodation was billed as the Room With A View,
and it didn’t disappoint! 8th floor views over Stockholm – Great location from Airbnb!
- The riverbank walk. Sparkling blue on one side, and alternating sets of lush grass peppered with sunbathers, cooling, shady groves of trees and classic architecture on the other, with a welcoming fringe of floating waterside bars for the enjoyment of all.
- Stockholm City Hall. It’s an imposing, take-no-prisoners red brick building with archways and columns, verdant sculpted gardens and no shortage of couples who are just here to get married. We saw seven brides in the thirty minutes we were here,
the couple and witnesses to huge swarms of frantic family buzzing
around the happy couple. Standing as it does on the edge of the water, the City Hall is interesting from both an architectural and human perspective.
- Old Town. Imagine a maze of sandy-walled, cobbled streets, in which one can find everything from gelato, pubs, a 7-Eleven – even a science-fiction and fantasy bookshop (where we spent a bit of time before they kicked us out at closing). Every corner reveals new secrets, as well as creating a constant flow of people both local and tourist. I particularly liked the pubs that welcomed Pokemon Go players into the beer garden with promises of a Pikachu!
- The main street of Sodermalm where we sat street-side of a pub with a bottle of wine and watched the ebb and flow of locals and tourists out for a warm Saturday night. Everything from massively tourist-focused places to dingy local haunts, and a reasonable climb up the hill to work up a thirst.
- Skanegatan Street. Full of great restaurants like the Brickyard and Urban Deli, and with the calm and charming park Nyortoget, it’s a boulevard with plenty of gastronomic and anthropological delights to experience.
- The Palace.
Imposing and an odd mix of reliably square and festooned with decoration. Hugely tourist-focused (note the buses in the photo) but classic for all that.
- The Modern Art Museum. Perched out on an island, it’s a comfortable walk from the Old Town, and full of interesting pieces and exhibitions. It’s also just a nice place to walk around – an airy, light gallery on an airy, light island.
- The riverside perches where sundowners can be enjoyed on the water. There’s no shortage of choices, and our host gave us a map of where the good ones were for looking westward across the water.
- Lastly, the riverside swimming spots, where the merest hint of sunshine can apparently conjure swarms of scantily-clad Swedes faster than a dropped sausage brings seagulls. We spent our last evening down at one (modestly-clad!), watching the sun slowly disappear and drinking in the shared vibe, last golden rays of Vitamin D and vino.
Ten Great Copenhagen Bits
- The vibe. Bustling but unhurried cyclists zip past, golden-limbed and active families hold impromptu picnics. There’s a palpable sense of comfort and enjoyment in the air, which felt ratcheted up to eleven after the slightly showy vibe of Oslo, and the frantically independent feel of Stockholm.
- Our accommodation was brilliant, and just off a great little street with median-strip picnic green spaces, sports grounds and plenty of shops. It didn’t take us long to find a reason to sit outside with a bottle and enjoy it!
- The Street Food Market. We found this a bit by accident while walking around to the Opera House, and it was so good we came back again the next day! Everything from local delights like Smallbrod
to specialities like pulled roasted duck burgers, egg tortillas and home-made fried potatoes in cones. Crowded, chaotic and charming all at once!
- Cocktails at Lidkoeb. I’m not kidding – this is a bar that’s definitely worth a visit. Beautifully light and airy and very natural feeling, it was a delight to sit and enjoy some of their homemade concoctions.
- The Design Museum. Even if you aren’t a design geek like I can be, it’s a stunningly comfortable space to explore. Everything from furniture and industrial design to knick-knacks, graphic design and cars is on display, past and present, and easily absorbed thanks to a brilliant layout of the museum.
- Copenhagen is no stranger to grandiose architecture, and the huge variety in the shapes and sizes of churches and state buildings makes for a fun exploration around the city. There’s always something to look at!
- The Green Light District. There are no photos of the Green Light District because they ask very politely for you not to take photos. It’s the dope-friendly part of Copenhagen, and while the vendors can look menacing in their face-shrouding balaclavas, the feeling of the neighbourhood was very chilled and startlingly technicolour, with lots of street art and bright paintwork. It was an off change of pace, from the manicured gardens and riverside walking paths to this suddenly sprawling Hobbiton amidst the trees and hedges.
- Landmark buildings on the river. FromThe Opera House,with itsconservative sandy beige bulk and louvered exterior, to the Black Diamond, reflecting and absorbing light at the same time, to the Concert Hall, whose ebon angularity sits like a guard dog on the riverbank.
- The Little Mermaid. While the experience of seeing the Little Mermaid is a bit underwhelming (the tourists, the scads of buses, the futility of trying to get a different photo from all the ones you’ve already seen), the walk there, through the sculpture park and around the waterfront, was absolutely lovely. Particularly recommended to do with a gelato in hand.
- The big park Sondermarken & Frederiksberg Have. On our last night, we went out west and found two huge, sprawling green spaces to have an evening picnic in. The rain decided to invite itself, and so our picnic became us huddled on a park bench under a tree canopy, drinking our vino from plastic cups and cutting wedges of brie with a pocket knife to put on crackers. Once the rain had stopped, the space unfolded as the gardens of an old palace, which gave us a lovely experience to wander around.