Friday, August 12, 2016

Our Nordic Trip: Stockholm in 12 Hours

Yes you read it right. 12 hours was all we had to spend in Stockholm, which was one of the ports of call during our Nordic cruise. 12 hours was also surprisingly ample'ish for us to see almost all the things we wanted to see. 

No words can describe the beauty of this city. So much so that I immediately wanted to go back for a longer stay. Stortorget (Swedish: The Big Square) in Gamla Stan (old town) was our first stop after we were let off the ship. 

Picture below: Stockholm Norrbro Bridge overlooking Rosenbad. We walked by the palace area enroute to the old town. 

One can't say they've visited Stockholm without an obligatory shot of this landmark. I figured out a perfect vantage point to take panoramic pictures of the building - go to Google Maps and follow this coordinate 59.326011, 18.061498 on Norra Riddarholmshamnen 5. You can thank me later. 

Picture below: The iconic colourful buildings in Stortorget. The most ornate one is the facade of the red Schantzka Huset (the one with stepped gable), built in 1650 and decorated with a porch with figures of Roman soldiers.

Picture below: quiet streets leading to Stortorget.

Don't you just love such a creative landscaping design? 

A Romanism-styled building at the corner of Storkyrkobrinken and Högvaktsterrassen, I wanted to guess this used to an opera house? 

From Storkyrkan, we took a scenic walk across Norrbro to NK Stockholm. Nordiska Kompaniet is similar to Hudson's Bay in Canada or Nordstrom in the US. 

Picture below: Nordiska Kompaniet.

The entire department store has an art deco vibe. I was immediately drawn to the home section. 

Strangely enough, I was also very attracted to their grocery store. Talking about one-stop shop right? 

We had a quick lunch at Nordiska Kantinen on the 4th floor. The food was fresh, healthy and delicious, perfect for people on the go. Hot beverage and salad bar were complimentary. 

We stumbled upon King's Garden (Kungsträdgården) on the way which was a pleasant surprise. The blooming field of blue Catmints and giant globe Alliums was mesmerizing. 

Not sure what happened here - either this granite bunny sculpture was pushed over or it was simply a Swedish humour? 

Our next stop took us to Skeppsholmen, and boy, was I happy we ended up spending the majority of the afternoon there. That wasn't the plan as we intended to get to Djurgarden earlier. If waterfront views are your kind of scenes, you'd definitely want to spend some time on Skeppsholmen to take in the unlimited harbour breezes and savour the serenity. 

Picture below: Vasa Museum.

We took a long and slow walk down the Östra Brobänken along the water. That's where you can spot all sorts of ships and boats. 

Djurgårdsbron (bridge connecting Djurgarden and Ostermalm) lends the best perspectives for photoshooting the mainland. 

Stockholm was by far my favourite stop during our Nordic trip. Everything there looked so good including the Nordic sky. The only downside to watch out for is the traffic in and out of Gamla Stan which seemed to be impossible - it felt like rush hour anytime of the day. So budget extra time if you are driving or taking any public transportation. 

Picture below: traffic was so congested in the palace district that mounted police had to manually divert vehicles. 

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