A Scandi city break

July is as good of a time as any to spend a long weekend in Stockholm. Being used to walking everywhere, we were surprised at how wide the roads were and our feet were very tired at the end of each day. We must’ve walked at least a half marathon over the weekend! A desperate foot massage needed.

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Here is Gamla Stan, the Old City where colourful and pastel coloured buildings dot the square. Of course, we spent our fair share of time trying to take the perfect postcard photo too. The colours are even more gorgeous when you go at sunset.

We didn’t do many standard touristy things but one of our highlights was cycling to the island of Djurgården, home to the Vasa Museum and Skansen, both of which we didn’t actually go into. Instead, we cycled around the island and went into the beautiful Rosendals Gardens where you can sit at the outdoors garden cafe and enjoy fresh food made from ingredients grown in the garden. We had the fish salad and sandwich with hummus and red cabbage. Very tasty indeed.

For those of you who are interested, renting a cycle for 3 hours cost SEK250.

Another highlight was the Fotografiska museum which is a must for any photography fans. We were excited that Nick Brandt’s latest exhibition ‘Inherit the Dust’ was showing at the time we went. In short, the exhibition shows photos of life sized safari animals like elephants and lions in the places where they used to roam.. which is of course now destroyed by civilisation. It is a powerful visual exploration of the impact of development not only on animals but also on humans.

If you are at Fotografiska, don’t forget to go up to the rooftop cafe which is the perfect place to take a break. Other than its cool interiors, the cafe gives you an excellent view of Gamla Stam and Djurgården.

We also tried one of the free walking tours in Södermalm district which took us to places with great viewpoints, like Monteliusvägen pictured below. We saw a couple who cycled up to the viewpoint and enjoyed their lunch from one of the benches here. What a magnificent view. Walking tours are great to learn about snippets of history.

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Lastly, no trip is complete without trying various local restaurants. This time, we’ve had our fair share of cinnamon buns, herring, swedish meatballs, and shrimp. We especially loved the alfresco dining at this time of the year. Places we would recommend include Fabrique, Slingerbulten, and the deceptive looks of the food truck outside Slussen station, which sold some seriously tasty herring wraps.

One thing which took us by surprise was the number of shops that accepted card only. This meant that we were charged 2.75% for every transaction we made. This was the case for small shops (like Fabrique) and museums alike (like Fotografiska). Only later did we find out that cash transactions in Sweden made up barely 2% of the value of all payments. Future tourists, beware!

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