Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gamla Stan & The Ice Bar in Central Stockholm

Breakfast at our hotel was included and I must say how impressive it was. Eggs, home-fries, bacon and more were in those chafing dishes on back tables. Coffee was strong but in a good way.

As the gang was about to take this taxi van to work; I headed to the train station for Stockholm.

When I got to the train station in Stockholm, everything was clearly marked and I found the subway right away. I took it 1 stop to the island of Gamla Stan (old city). Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.

I asked a girl which way was south and I found my first item of interest immediately. I was off to a good start and my anxiety quickly disappeared in this quaint part of the city.

Mårten Trotzigs Gränd (Alley of Mårten Trotzig) is the narrowest alley in Stockholm -- 3 feet wide:

Looking up

Looking down

Västerlånggatan (The Western Long Street) - Cute shops here

My next order of business was Sundbergs Konditori. My Frommers' travel book claims that it's the oldest pâtisserie in Stockholm.(since 1785)
I don't believe I have talked about the weather yet. It still feels like winter; The Swedes cannot wait for spring to arrive. The temperatures were in the 30s at night and 40s during the day. They are dying to enjoy the outside and sip their coffee or beer.

Bulle with a cappuccino

Tyska kyrkan (German church)

Stortorget- "The Great Square" with Storkyrkan - "The Great Church"

Many cafes like this one had blankets for their outdoor patrons! Spring -- hurry up!
And, yes -- that is Psalm 37:5 written in German above the door!

Inside Storkyrkan:

"The Silver Altar" is a wooden triptych with an ebony veneer with sculptured reliefs in silver.

Ceiling detail

 St. George and the Dragon - Created in 1489. (Made from oak and elk antlers) The legend of St. George and the Dragon tells of a terrible dragon that demanded human offerings from the town of Selen in exchange for not laying waste to the town. The day the King's daughter is to be sacrificed, St. George comes riding by. On condition that the town's heathen inhabitants convert to Christianity, he slays the dragon.

If you had the money and you wanted to be buried here, the church would find the space for you. But the detail of this 16th century stone doesn't last. 

The Royal Palace below -- I'm just in time for the parade honoring the visit of  Finland's President!

Views from Riksbron --"The National Bridge"

More of the parade. Do you see the bayonet?

Now I'm looking for the Medieval Museum.
I thought I had found the Medieval Museum. I had 20 minutes before they opened so I followed others upstairs to their cafe and sat down and took this photo. Maybe it was after 10 minutes that I realize my mistake. This was the Medelhavsmuseet and not the Medeltidsmuseet!!!

Medelhavsmuseet = The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities. (Not on my itinerary!)

I then went back to the bridge and tried finding the Medieval Museum again. I asked a few people but nobody knew.
Gustav Adolf's Square -The square is home to the Royal Opera, the Swedish State Department, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense.

The parade was still happening. Two lovebirds:

I then checked out the island of Riddarholmen. It's west of Gamla Stan (very close to the Royal Palace).
(It's off season for tourists - that's why you don't see many people.)
The Riddarholmen Church -- Parts of it date back to the late 1200s. It's the burial church of the Swedish monarchs.  The congregation was dissolved in 1807 and today the church is used only for burial and commemorative purposes.
The church is only open during summer months, but was open for a private tour when I was there. I happened to be at the end of the line when I got questioned and then the doors were shut. hehe

House of the Nobility (Riddarhuset) - The French-born architect Simon De la Vallée started the planning of the building, but was killed by a Swedish nobleman in 1642. The plans were eventually finished by his son, Jean De la Vallée, in 1660.

View of Gamla Stan from Riddarholmen.

Monks Porter House on left & a laser surgery clinic to the right of it.

 I stopped at O'Connells in Gamla Stan for a pint of Guinness before taking the subway back to City Center.

Subway wall

Central Train Station - there's a lot of construction going on in the city

T = Tunnelbana (subway)

NK - Stockholm’s most luxurious and prestigious department store, established in 1902. 

The basement level had an impressive gourmet grocery store and eateries. As well as general shopping. 
 Since Viking Times, the horse has been considered a holy animal. Wooden Dala Horses originated in the 1700s. The original Dala Horse (Dalahäst) was created by Swedish woodcutters in the province of Dalarna near Mora.  During the long winters, these lonely men would spend their evenings away from their families, and passed their time by carving little toys for their children.  While these carved wooden toys, made from the scraps of the men's occupation, were mostly horses, some were also roosters or pigs.  However, the most enduring of these little creatures remains the Dala Horse.  Next time you're browsing through an Ikea catalog, see if you can spot the horses decorating the furniture.

Lunch at Café Entrée at NK:
 This hit the spot for me because it was table service. 

 Yum! I ordered their brie crepes special.

After trying one of these mint chocolate cookies, I knew I had to wrap up the other in the napkin for Scott Babe to enjoy later that evening. He loved it.

Time to find the Ice Bar...
Sergels Torg - Sergel's Square  - it's the most central public square in Stockholm, named after 18th century sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel, whose workshop was once located north of the square.

Konserhuset - Concert Hall built in 1926

 The Ice Bar is in the Nordic Sea Hotel

 My drink in an ice glass: "Reindeer" -- Absolut Ruby Red, lime, sugar, soda



  1. Great Shots Tricia! Looks like you had a lot of fun!

  2. I loved reading all of the anecdotes...what an interesting trip!!

  3. You captured it perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  4. oh my gosh so many cute alleyways ! Is everything beautiful there? I never knew how interested it would be to travel there. Impressed

  5. All the places I visited were beautiful! I can't wait for my next posting to be ready. I fell in love with the Östermalm neighborhood in Stockholm. Stay tuned!