Stockholm Fun Fact: The subway is also known as the world’s longest art gallery, with a majority of the stations having paintings, sculptures and mosaics.
I am so glad I am writing this post not too long after coming back from Stockholm, and I can honestly say I loved the place. The people were kind and helpful. I was able to talk to locals, those who made Stockholm their home and showed love for Stockholm and Sweden, it made me feel more than welcomed.
Research and Booking
Finding a reasonably priced hotel was very difficult, which was within my budget and didn’t cost more than the flight and spending allowance put together. I still haven’t caught onto AirBnB, and I appreciate it is considered value for a lot of people. However, I like breakfast ready made for me and being able to roll back into my bed afterwards so it will be hotels for a while. I looked at all my favourite websites such as booking.com and hotels.com, and I could not find something within budget which had a WINDOW and not a hostel. Yes, I said it, a window. The result settled for a hotel without a window, which sounds weird on the face of it. However considering I had no intention of spending my day in the hotel and needed a place to rest, I went for it.
My flight was another cheap one courtesy of Ryanair; I don’t think I need to say much about them apart from the budget airline and no checked luggage. It’s all about team carry on! Slowly mastering this art and hope to show you my tricks soon. As you can imagine because I booked with Ryanair I was not going to a local airport.
General Overview of Stockholm
It is expensive here; I did two days of fine dining and then went to cheap fast food including hot dogs. It was pretty cold in Stockholm, luckily enough for me I was pretty wrapped up and didn’t notice it as much but when I did sneeze it felt like icicles feel of my brain. The public transport in Stockholm is excellent and easy to get around however it tested my sense of direction, I don’t know if it was because of the phone I was using, but I took so many wrong turns. But taking wrong turns paid off as I discovered charming little streets and unique stores.
The locals I encountered were extremely friendly. A lot of them smiled at me which was a shock as being a Londoner my first reaction is not to smile back. But it was nice it made me feel welcomed in comparison to what I else I saw. As we are aware, there is an influx of migrants fleeing poverty and war-torn countries, and there was a lot. I hope this does not come across in a negative light but a few of them were standing at the entrance of restaurants begging for money, and it was heart-breaking to see, but at the same time I felt for the customers who didn’t want to be hassled. We need to remember everyone helps in their own ways and we should not judge if we do not see people giving money.
Views of Stockholm
Before I get into this, I have to say Stockholm has some spectacular views regardless of where you are. Unfortunately, because I did not pay for a window seat on my flight, coming into Stockholm, I didn’t get a chance to see what it looked like during the day. But I was lucky enough to have a window seat leaving, and I have to say it was one of the best views I have ever experienced from a plane. It was beautiful being able to see the different islands individually but also as one; it is a lovely view everyone should see.
I did some research into this hotel as this was the one without a window and there were quite a bit of negative views. First I have to say the hotel is straightforward to find, to the point that as long as you know which exit to take the hotel is a 3 min walk if at that. Upon entering the hotel I was greeted by friendly staff and offered a hot drink, they didn’t have any hot chocolate, but gave me some from their stash which I appreciated. They were patient and waited for me to make the drink and have a sip before checking me in. Like I said at the beginning a room without a window is not that bad if you have no intention of spending all day inside. My sleep was pretty good considering I was unwell, I did find it a bit chilly in the room and mentioned this to reception who offered me another duvet and a heater. I was still cold with all of this, but it does show if you say something to staff and are polite they will try to accommodate you! Which I truly appreciated.
I was thoroughly disappointed with the whole experience, I guess I had high expectations, and where from I no idea have. You generally get 45 minutes to spend there, however, after about 20 minutes I was bored, taking as many pictures and videos as possible. I was given a poncho with gloves attached to wear; I would recommend wearing your own gloves as they didn’t keep my hands warm. The one thing I did like about the Icebar was the ice cups which was pretty cool.
Restaurant Salt – I had toast with cream of smoked reindeer and horseradish and mains, a classic burger of moose with potato chips (crisps to you and I) and cream from Västerbattem and lingonberry ketchup.
Both my dishes tasted so lovely; it tasted cooked to perfection and homemade. I enjoyed every moment of it. The reindeer tasted like it was naturally salty but wasn’t enough to put me off, and it was an enjoyable experience. The moose burger looked like a typical burger, with good texture and I was left full and wondered how I was going to get back to my hotel by foot.
Before I get to mention as a solo traveller I was slightly wary when I got there and wasn’t sure how they would take to me, but they were fine and gave me a window seat, so I could people watch.
The biggest thing that pains me is that I could not smell the food as much as I wanted to, as I was suffering from a bad cold with a blocked nose. Right now I am internally crying thinking of this, alas I did not allow this to ruin my trip.
My pictures of the food are awful, I was trying to use my GoPro without getting caught, and it came out blurry. However the presentation of my meal was stunning and loved the service if you are ever in Stockholm, you should check it out.
Yes, I was able to take a decent picture!!!!!! I have to say this was the best-mashed potatoes I have ever eaten, it melted in my mouth, and I wanted more. The meatballs weren’t seasoned enough for me, and it may be down to me enjoying the well-seasoned food. However, the sauce and mashed potato saved the meal. There was excellent customer service, the lady who served me was lovely, as I perched myself by the bar and took in my surroundings. They had little quotes around the restaurant such as “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy meatballs.”
Free Walking Tours
I would have to say Free Tours Stockholm was my absolute favourite with tour guide Z. He was hilarious and being in the cold for almost two hours was well worth it. He had such enthusiasm for Stockholm and explained why he chose to come and live here. I took the old town tour and luckily enough it was getting dark, and I was able to see Stockholm at night. He took us to the smallest cutest statue in the world explaining to us all the tales, passing a Viking ruin, the core history of Sweden and a 90cm wide alleyway. I would recommend a free walking tour and if you get Z even better.
Other points of interest
Vassamusem – it is a museum which contains the ship that sank shortly after sailing. I was shocked by how much time I spent here, I was planning to spend 20 mins and ended up spending an hour and a half.
Ericsson Globe – gives you one of the best views of Stockholm and I was lucky enough to have a whole pod to myself. I was giddy about that I am too embarrassed to upload my video of me screaming with joy.
The Big Questions
Would I go back? No
Why? I am happy with Stockholm but I would go back to Sweden to explore more.