Friday, July 27, 2007

So after an enjoyable but wet time in Norway, we jumped on another plane and made our way to Stockholm. As we waited for our luggage to come through, we wee suddenly hit by a wave of text messages from Bristol advising us that the Ashton Court festival had been abandoned because of the wet weather, we looked through the terminal windows and saw the sun shining through.

The super efficient train link whisked us into to central Stockholm and before we knew we were meant by the owner of our next temporary home. This time we had a very large apartment in the swanky Ostermalmstorg part of town, we were going to be the last people staying there, as the owner was about to sell it and move in with her partner.

Stockholm is a wonderful place, the architectural pomp and grandeur of Paris, the waterside attraction of Venice, the quirky leftfield areas of Berlin, and the cakes – the wonderful cakes of all the best cities of the world!

After coming from Norway, Sweden felt positively like bargain city, now that is obviously stretching a point but in truth it was nowhere near as expensive as we had been led to believe. We particularly enjoyed the excellent set price lunch offers, which everyone appeared to have. If we are reading our guide books correctly the “Dagens Ratt” or daily special system was set up to keep the worker happy by ensuring that they good have a good subsidized meal at an affordable price. Now that’s what I call Socialism.

As well as the huge amount of excellent waterfront walking, viewing and sitting to be done, Stockholm is blessed with a huge number of fantastic parks. Consequently we spent quite a lot of time sting in these lovely surrounding reading books and making the most of the sunshine. When we did venture inside, we spent the best part of a day in the combined modern art and architecture museum. Lot’s of interesting shopping, including some excellent record shops, the pick of these being Pet Sounds in the delightful “SoFo” district.

As the prices were so much friendlier we bought cd’s, went to the cinema a few times, and spent money on clothes and books. Wherever we went we were met charming people who almost always spoke impeccable English. Also saw lots of interesting Swedish design stuff, be it building household goods of clothes the Swedes have had so many wonderful ideas over the years.

Often when we leave great cities after a holiday I try to imagine what it would be like to actually live in somewhere like New York, Paris or Tokyo. Normally I think that it would be fantastic if you were lucky enough to have a large bank balance, now as I indicated previously, you could not really say that Stockholm is cheap but I think that you could enjoy a very good life there on a reasonable income.

I should also say that Bla Porten on the island of Djurgarden may just be the greatest cafe in the whole world!

I hope that we shall return to both Sweden and Norway in the future


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