Stockholm in Winter

Gamla Stan from Skeppsholmen
Gamla Stan from Skeppsholmen

Trip to Stockholm

I’ve been worried that these last few days in Sweden before I fly home for Christmas would just be a boring wait for my travel date. Therefore, in search of a “proper” Swedish Christmas market, I and a couple of other exchange students headed to Stockholm yesterday.

It was really nice to get out of Linköping for a day and just do a bit of exploring. I feel like I know Stockholm quite well now, as much as one can having only visited the place three times! It was good, then, to go with others who knew different parts of the city so that I got a new experience.

We arrived at Cityterminalen at about 0855, having endured Stockholm at rush hour (Brief side note: the coach arrived on time in spite of rush hour traffic, having got a coach into London at rush hour and been almost an hour late I now firmly believe that Swedish coach travel is light-years ahead of it’s British counterpart). This meant that we emerged out of the tunnel before crossing the water into the Sodermalm tunnel as dawn broke.

The lack of light was sort of a theme of the whole day. As you can see from the panorama above (Seen better if you click on it), the weather did not lend itself to making the most of the winter sun and the fact that the sun set at around 1445 meant that there wasn’t a lot of day light anyway.

So, it was through the power of regular caffeine intakes that we three foreigners wandered into Stockholm city!

Stockholm Christmas Market

We were headed to the market in Gamla Stan. Spurred on by the preconception that continental Europeans were masters of Christmas markets, and the advice of Swedes who had said that this market was a highlight of the winter season, we arrived in Stortorget. I have to be honest and say that I was a little disappointed! It was so small! Admittedly Stortorget in Gamla Stan isn’t exactly big, but there was no extension of the market to the other squares and wider streets in the town.

That said, what stalls were there were really quite cool. Lots of woolen / wooden produce from the north of Sweden. Weird little trinkets like Reindeer antler bottle openers and moose or viking shaped cheese slicers. I was able to get a hold of some fresh glögg which was really good, and had my first proper lussekatt. I was very impressed with the lussekatt, and totally agree with the consensus: warm and fresh are so much better than those which had been on display in a coffee shop!

All the space between stalls in stortorget were filled with children and families. Almost all of the younger children would be wearing variously coloured snowsuits, which I found amusing. Though the market was small, it was bustling and full of life. I can certainly see why it’s a highlight for the Swedes, because without something like the market to get people out and about, everyone would stay inside and not bother braving the cold!

If nothing else, I learned that the Swedish for waffles is “Våfflor”, which I found inexplicably funny!

Filling time

The unfortunate downside of such a small market meant that our plan of spending the time wandering through the market until we needed to catch the bus back was somewhat ruined!

We therefore had a good wander around. We stumbled upon another Christmas market in Kungsträdgården on Norrmalm, and ended up fika-ing an awful lot, even going to a great place called Sturekatten on Riddargatan.

I actually thought that this was a good way to spend the day. No pressure to do anything in particular, and ending up just finding nice places to chill out and chat.

Now, for no particular reason, here’s a picture of a flag that I drew. Merry Christmas!

Flag – You see quite a few of these around Sweden with the colours of the Swedish flag.


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