Stockholm was surprisingly sunny this September. I had five days of clear blue skies and the perfect conditions for vibrant autumn colours.
Getting in and where I stayed
It felt like it took forever, but at 9pm my train from Copenhagen finally arrived at Stockholm Central. I bought an SL card for 20SEK, got some credit and jumped on the train to Bredäng where I camped a few days to save some cash.
Bredäng Camping was 145SEK per night during low season and it was much more basic than the campsites in Denmark. I can imagine it would be tough to share so few cook tops in summer and if you’re not used to the relaxed Scandinavian take on nudity, the showers were communal. Personally, it just makes me think of prison showers, but with sauna.
And guess what! They don’t believe in the European Camping Scam that existed in Ribe. I had planned to pay for my last two stickers in case it came in handy next year, but Bredäng Camping didn’t believe in the concept. Ha!
Camping still saved me a fair bit though, because hostels were 350SEK or more on the weekend. After a couple of days camping over the weekend it was nice to check into the Generator Hostel in the city (210SEK for my dorm) which unlike the weird ass hostel in Copenhagen, came with sheets, lockers and sensible design. Actually, it was a pretty modern hostel overall and had a really good vibe.
On the first day, the streets of Gamla Stan were quite windy. I had no idea that was where I was though until much later. I just walked out of Central Station and walked wherever looked appealing.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that I ended up in the charming streets of Gamla Stan. Warm orange flats, cobblestone streets, cafes, shops and the odd church. When you’re lost in the middle you really forget you’re in a city.
It’s becoming a bit of a dirty habit, but once again I was on the lookout for cool doors and found some.
Stockholm was a great city to just walk around. In the end I walked all the way across to SoFo (Södermalm nicknamed after Soho) and up and down the cliffside looking for somewhere to watch the sunset. There’s a walkway called Monteliusvägen on the west side of Gamla Stan and Fjällgatan on the eastern side where there are viewpoints.
The Vasa Museum
On the island of Djurgården lives probably the coolest museum in Stockholm, The Vasa Museum (entry 180SEK). Inside, is a 70m long ship that was raised from 30 odd metres below the Baltic Sea where it had rested for 333 years.
Despite the amount of time it spent at the bottom of the sea, the Vasa is ridiculously well preserved with more than 95% of the wood and intricate carvings still original. The team who raised and restored the Vasa went through an incredible and painstaking project taking more than 10 years. The museum has loads of interesting info on how it was restored and how the Vasa was originally built, was intended to look and how it was used. There’s also a bit on Baltic war history which I knew nothing about beforehand.
I feel like I’ve been going to or talking about Open Air Museums a lot in Scandinavia. The Skansen park on Djurgården is pretty damn big. It really needs about 3 hours to walk through the whole thing and it even has a small zoo inside.
I missed out on the actors at Maihaugen in Lillehammer, but not this time. There were a few about despite it being low season and they were happy to tell you little bits and bobs about Swedish traditions and life. Pretty good value for 120 SEK.
The AFL Grand Final in Stockholm
After missing so much of the footy back home this year, I really wanted to catch the Grand Final some how, but being in Scandinavia on the opposite timezone probably wasn’t helping my situation. In the end though it worked out alright. After emailing a couple of bars who had hosted events for the final in the past, I heard about the Stockholm AFL Federation hosting Grand Final day at The Dubliner.
So, amusingly, I found myself watching the Aussie Rules Grand Final from an Irish Pub, in the middle of Scandinavia at 6.30am on a Saturday morning. It turned out that 2016 was the year of the dog.
Not only was it quieter in September, autumn colours were in full flame. The cool sunny days really brought out the colour in the trees and the colour of the people. Everyone looked happy to be out and about and soaking up the sun.