One of the things I really like about Stockholm is that the people are as soon as the weather is good enough living out on the streets. Probably they enjoy it so much because it is so dark and cold for several months of the year and when finally the spring is in full bloom the people love to sit in the sun twice as much as others would do.
So when you walk Stockholm you find benches almost everywhere: in front of normal residential houses, at every green - small or big, at the waterfront, outside almost all cafés and in front of many shops especially on Södermalm. And that is where we started our Saturday ... walking the streets shopping and people watching and enjoying the sun. And if you leave the busy main street Saturday morning shopping at Södermalm with its record shops, boutiques, kids shops and decor places looks like this:
After spending some money we walked down to Slussen and over to the palace to start our little getaway from the lively city and ... from walking A LOT.
The abolute obvious thing to do when it is a sunny and warm weekend and you are in a coastal city with hundreds of little islands is to take a boat tour. In our case it was the litte ferry to the island Vaxholm about an hour from downtown Stockholm.
Slowly we left the pier enjoying a beautiful view on the city:
And then a couple of minutes later Stockholm was left behind and we were cruising from tiny island to tiny island, the sun shining on our faces, a light wind in the hair and the seagulls diving left and right from the boat. Beautiful and so, so, so relaxing. The citizens of Stockholm are very lucky humans for being able to enjoy this any time.
The island of Vaxholm itself reminded me - very obviously - of Astrid Lindgren's children's book "Seacrow Island" ("Ferien auf Saltkrokan"). The little town is very cute and has the typical atmosphere of those small places that smell in the summer like wind and sunscreen.
And with the wonderful trip to Vaxholm my short vacation in Sweden was already almost over. In the evening we had our farewell cocktails at Benny Anderson's (ABBA) hotel "Rival" - very nice drinks btw - before we walked back to our hotel through the never really dark night.
This was my first time in Sweden and Stockholm, but I am very sure it was not my last time. There is too much left I did not explore yet and the mixture of a lively modern city, an amazing historic old town, relaxed and friendly people and finally a breathtakingly beautiful nature is really addictive. And not to forget - the cinnamon rolls.
But there is also something one level deeper - the sweetness of childhood memories. When my sister and I were kids we spent our family vacation at the North Sea and before we went to school we did not go in July or August but at the end of May.
It is hard to find words for what it was exactly but Stockholm brought back some of those memories. I think it was the spring sun, the smell of the sea, the wind that could not be more different from any wind down in the South, the mixture of birds singing and the seagulls screaming and the noise shoes make on planked boardwalks. It's been nice to have a little memory trip back to these truly blithe days.
Hej då, Stockholm!