While I am sweltering in 30 degrees C plus temperatures and slapping on the sunscreen in Australia my contrary mind keeps harking back to a trip from a few years back, in the dead of winter to the Swedish capital of Stockholm.
Yes it was freezing, the days were short and the nights long but the golden winter light on the water, the fringe of snow on the buildings, the glowing windows and the cinnamon scrolls – I fell in love with Stockholm in winter!
Stockholm is built on a part of the Stockholm archipelago, in particular on 14 islands where Lake Malaren meets the Baltic Sea. The core of the present Old Town – Gamla Stan – was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen from the mid-13th century onward. So the geographical city centre is actually situated on the water, in Riddarfjärden bay.
Stockholm is a great city for varied architecture – from the 13th century through to the present day! The photo above is of the City Hall, built on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island. Although it was built between 1911 and 1923 it is constructed using traditional methods and materials, including nearly eight million dark red ‘monks bricks’ made to match those traditionally used in monasteries and churches. This is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet.
If over 30 per cent of the city area of Stockholm is made up of waterways (can you hear a Venice of the North allusion coming?), another 30 per cent is made up of parks and green spaces. I loved exploring Skansen, the open air museum and zoo founded in 1891 on the island of Djurgården.
And when its time to warm up in a cosy cafe, don’t forget those famous Swedish cinnamon scrolls – yum!
By Natasha von Geldern
Have you been to Stockholm in Sweden? In winter or summer?