It’s been difficult to find time to write since we’re always on the move here. I’m going to take us back a few weeks to our first week in Stockholm and recap some of the fun experiences we had there.
Stockholm is an amazing city for planners. It has a fantastic metro system, an easy to use bus system, excellent pocket parks, and a good mix of old and new. We stayed in a hostel called Zinkensdam in the Sodermalm area of Stockholm. The hostel was in a great location- close to the metro and surrounded by Tantolunden Park. It was really easy for us to explore the entire city and we worked hard to see as much as we could in a week.
The first day we spent most of our time exploring Sodermalm in small groups and getting to know the area better. Day two we visited with Tyrens, one of Sweden’s best known consulting companies in urban planning and learned about some of their big projects in Stockholm. It was a great presentation and they were incredibly kind and willing to answer all of our questions. After the presentation we crossed over into Gamla Stan (the Old City) to explore the narrow streets and the Royal Palace for a few hours.
On our third day we explored Ostermalm, and Djurgarden and walked along the famous Strandvagen waterfront over to Skeppsholmen. A few people went to the Modern Art Museum and the Architecture Museum while others went to Kastellholmen and continued to get to know the area better. Around 8 pm we met up to have a traditional Swedish dinner as a group in Gamla Stan. Reindeer, fish, bread and lingonberry jam were the main Swedish items that we tried and everything was really good.
We went to the New City Center on our fourth day and did a ton of walking all over Norrmalm, Vasastaden, and over to Ostermalm. Karlavagen Boulevard was really impressive and we walked from the start of it at Kungliga Humlegarden Park all the way south to Djurgarden and the Vasa Museum. The Vasa Museum is a building with a large completely restored war ship that sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628. It only sailed 1300 meters before it sank and it sat at the bottom of the ocean until 1961 when it was retrieved and restored. The ship itself is really impressive, but the story is not something the Swedes should necessarily be proud of. After the museum we split into smaller groups and continued to walk around the city and get to know it better. That evening we participated in Stockholm’s nightlife and had a great time meeting new people.
Day five we traveled to Sodra Hammarbyhamnen, a new development along the waterfront just south of Sodermalm. The area was used for industrial purposes until the early 1990’s and then transformed into mixed-use housing and apartment rentals. The focus is on environmental responsibility and connection with the rest of downtown Stockholm and the area is accessible by ferry, metro, light rail, and bus. We spent most of the day in Hammarby and spent a lot of time enjoying the weather along the waterfront. Later that evening we had a picnic in the park and made efforts to go salsa dancing in Vasastaden.
Our last full day in Stockholm took us to a famous cemetery outside of the city called Skogskykogarden. The way the designers used the natural landscape and the large pine trees to create a peaceful space was really well done, and we all divided up and spent some alone time there. Afterwards a few people from the group went tunnel hopping in some of the old abandoned metro tunnels under the city. We had a guide and headlamps so it was pretty safe, but dark tunnels are always a little creepy and at one point we turned off all the flashlights and stood in complete darkness for a minute. That evening most of the group took advantage of the sauna in the hostel and the opportunity to do laundry before we left for Copenhagen.