Surprised. In a word, surprised — but only in the most joyous sense. And that was the reaction to experiencing the beauty of Stockholm, the fourth destination on our Spring Trip. (Click HERE for previous posts). Separately, Sweden is the last one of the Scandinavian countries to visit.
High-speed train was the transportation of choice from Oslo to Stockholm (just under 6 hours with one change). Wifi, meals, spacious seating all provided the opportunity to see a bit more of both countries and some downtime as well. Now, if we only could read our tickets to actually travel in the first-class car on the train for which we paid. “This is first class? Oh, well, fine.” Interesting that the conductor mentioned nothing to us when he took our tickets.
Once in Stockholm’s station, we hailed a taxi for the relatively short ride to the hotel. But not one of the innumerable Tesla taxis, another surprise. Teslas receive a substantial tax break so many of the taxis are Teslas. There are charging stations conveniently located. Some models are very fancy with expensive matte paint. Go figure.
As I am sometimes inclined to do, I switched hotels two days prior to arrival. It was a very good decision.
Grand Hotel Stockholm is a member of Leading Hotels of the World. It is “grand” in the sense of design, but in no way haughty or stuffy. The staff was amazing, given that they cater to many “famous” guests. The hubby loved talking Foo Fighters with one of the staff as they have stayed there many times. Both Mr. Grohl and the late Mr. Hawkins were a joy to receive there. But I digress.
Below, the view from our room; the very “grand” hotel bar and insanely delicious schnitzel
The hotel is ideally situated on one of Stockholm’s countless waterways, with a beautiful view of the Royal Palace. That building, like the one in Oslo, is the official residence but likewise functions as a center of government and is open to the public. Still, the structure is beautiful as seen below. Tulips were planted everywhere and in full bloom!
Most fascinating was watching people fishing in the shallow water right in front of us. As in, we’re in the middle of the city and people are out catching their dinner. Can anyone translate the photo below? I gave up trying.
Below, the fisherman from a different angle. Our hotel is seen in the distance (green roof).
The architecture is beautiful, like Paris or Prague or other major European capitals. Where Oslo is quite modern, Stockholm has more of an “old world” feel. Both are excellent cities in which to meander into different areas, including very high end shopping and quaint shops in the old town area.
A high point was exploring Fotografiska, a unique museum of photography and light installations. Our visit coincided with an exhibition of more than 100 photographs by Andy Warhol, much from his infamous Studio 54 era. Rather eye-opening to say the least was this surprising Warhol quote: “I told them I didn’t believe in art, that I believed in photography.” Perhaps I’m naive, but I think of him first as an artist (as in canvases) rather than photographer. Some snaps of the work on display follow.
Photo booth “self portrait”
Socialite/fashion muse Maria Schiano with Jack (no last name necessary), circa 1978.
My personal fashion icon, Carolina Herrera, with whom I share my birthday (not to mention Elvis and David Bowie – Jan. 8).
Finally, we asked a restaurant owner why Stockholm doesn’t do a better job of promoting itself as a world-class city of beauty. His response? “We’re a humble people.” That’s one way to maintain a sense of elegance…. Below, our transportation to the restaurant that evening via the hotel “courtesy car.”
Next stop: Part 5 takes us to Florence and our kids!