On the advice of a friend who told me Stockholm had been a â€œsurprise favoriteâ€ for some of her other friends and my experience in Copenhagen, I decided to go on up to Stockholm for 4 days as the next stop on my trip. Stockholm Skvasta, where the budget airlines fly, is a solid 1.5 hour bus ride outside of the city, if any readers are considering that trip.
Stockholm is built on 14 islands and is close enough to the arctic circle to have around 18 hours of light a day in the summer. That alone made it an interesting place. I went out one night at 11:30 and it was dusk, and by 4 AM, you wouldnâ€™t need your headlights anymore.
One of my major trips was Drottningholm Palace, 45 minutes or so from the city and called the Versailles of the North. It holds true to that name. The massive yellow palace sits on a huge lake and has finely manicured gardens for acres out behind it. If you are in Stockholm, I would really recommend this stop.
My hostel was on Sodermalm Island, which is the hip, young island with lots of independent shops and some flagship stores for brands making their way to the States. Accordingly, it was full of coffee shops and H&Ms (which is a Swedish brand). The Swedes have been called the most image-conscious people in the world, and the most beautiful (I was told that by a Danish woman). They are all really stylized from head to toe, so people watching gets more interesting up here.
Sweden runs on the kroner currency, so it was again difficult to figure what I was really paying for everything, but it was a little high to eat out and go for a drink. A little cooking pasta in the hostel will even everything out, though. Although rain and time kept me from most of it, there are a lot of fun, active things to do in this city, from kayaking the coast to rooftop hiking through the old town, which is one of the older preserved city centers in Europe, I believe.
I really liked Stockholm and Copenhagen. They have a lot different feel than other parts of Europe, the same way the Mediterranean countries do. Nobody talks much about Northern Europe, but I will definitely tell anyone that asks that a full tour of Europe isnâ€™t complete without getting into the Scandinavian area- but donâ€™t try it in the winter!