TRAVEL DIARY: STOCKHOLM
Back in the old music career days, I visited Stockholm a couple of times. But as usual with trips where it's on a plane-in hotel room-do a show-on a plane, you rarely get to see much of a city. This time we were going with a group of friends with the sole purpose of having fun and doing some vintage and flea market rummaging! Here's my photo diary...
In a group of 6 adults and 5 children, the first thing I noticed about Stockholm is how incredibly easy it is to get around. The Tube system (called the T Bana) is as frequent and easy to navigate as the London system. But the difference is (and I will sound like a right mum here) is that all stations have lifts and all of the tubes are on platform level so it's really easy to get on and off with a buggy. Even in 'rush hour' there was still plenty of room. It was a dream! It made it so much easier and less stressful to take kids around the city and explore. The fact that some of the lifts looked like the pic above was a big plus too!
On the first proper day we visited Gamla Stan, which is Stockholm's old town. We ate Pizzas on the street in the sun and popped into some of the local shops. Gamla Stan is full of cobbled streets and historic statues with a mixture of tourist fodder and unique boutiques, galleries and antique shops.
On the second day we took a trip to Skogskyrkogården, which is a beautiful graveyard where a friend of my husband's is buried. We went to visit his grave and admire the beautiful scenery. The graveyard was like nothing else I've ever seen, it's huge and maintained to such a high level. It's probably one of the most peaceful and thought provoking places I've ever been lucky enough to visit. It was a sad trip to make but lovely for the whole group to go and visit together with the kids as well.
After that we took a ride on the T Bana over to Vårberg to visit 'Loppmarknaden', simply translated as flea market. Before going to Stockholm I did a little research on where the good antiques, vintage stores and flea markets were, but I knew that with a crew rolling deep with 5 kids it was going to be tricky to be too bossy about where I wanted to go, so I was happy to go with the flow and see what we came across. When we arrived (after being lost in the depths of what I can only describe as something similar to Elephant & Castle's shopping mall) it wasn't so much like a flea market that we have here, but rather a collection of sellers sharing goods of any nature. Old shoes? You got it. A used drill? Yep. It was a fascinating mix of the weird and the wonderful.
We then took one stop on the T Bana and visited Skårholmen, which is home to a shop called Myrorna which is a wicked collection of second hand / vintage homewares and clothes with all of the proceeds going to charity. I managed to pick up a vintage Valentino Boutique skirt for less than a tenner, which I was pretty pleased about! Reminds me of when I had this awesome charity shop haul back in March. Sometimes you just get lucky! We were running short of time and I would have loved to spend more time in that shop as there were SO MANY vintage goodies to be had! I find it hard to shop, especially for vintage, when you have people with you as there's a lot of pressure to be quick. Anyone who does vintage shopping knows you really need to take your time to find the gems, and I don't like the rush!
On day 3 the rest of the gang went to visit family, so Jason, Marley and I headed over to Djurgården on the ferry (a short 7 minute or so ride from the dock at Slussen). Djurgården is an island which hosts the Royal Park, home to loads of museums and tourist attractions. We visited the Vasa museum which contains the 17th century warship of the same name (Vasa) that sank on its maiden voyage. It's been brought up from the seabed and restored inch by inch over 20 or so years. You can even walk by the restoration team working their magic on pieces of the original ship and ask them questions. It was pretty flippin epic.
I think it's really cool to host most of the tourist attractions in one area as it just makes it easy to get around and see a few in one day, though we just took strolls along the dock and enjoyed the scenery after visiting the Vasa.
Afterwards we decided to head back to Slussen as it looked pretty cool when we passed through on the way to Djurgården. Slussen is the main stop in the district of Södermalm. We took a stroll around there which is definitely the 'Shoreditch' of Stockholm. Lots of cool boutiques, cool fashion stores, vintage shops and trendy cafes. We even came back the day after to further explore the design stores and walked back up to Gamla Stan again too.
Vintage shopping is actually pretty affordable in Stockholm, I was pleasantly surprised.
Then, before we knew it, it was time to get ready to head back home to London!
Overall, we had a great trip and I can't wait to go back and explore some of the other districts. Perhaps I'll start learning Swedish...
Have you ever visited Stockholm? What / where are your recommendations to visit?