Stockholm

Stockholm - City Hall courtyard
Stockholm - City Hall courtyard08-Oct-2011 11:06, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 18.098mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 125
City Hall - from bridge to old City
City Hall - from bridge to old City08-Oct-2011 11:15, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 9.784mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
City Hall
City Hall08-Oct-2011 15:18, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 9.784mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 200
 
The city has over 750 years of history and surely is one of the most beautiful capital cities of the world. As I flew into Stockholm from my return trip from France, I saw so many pockets of water all glistening in the evening setting sun, that I could but not help admire how it was living in this city. But you can find the history of the city elsewhere written more accurately; I wanted to jot down the glimpses I had during the one weekend that came as a surprise. With the production migration getting delayed by a week, what was to be a long weekend of work turned out to be a 48 hour opportunity to explore the city and its offerings.
Old City - Here is where the old parliament, and some other palaces are. The town dates back to the 13th century
Old City - Here is where the old parliament, and some other palaces are. The town dates back to the 13th century08-Oct-2011 11:22, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
Inside old city - nice rise, leading up to Riddarholmskyrkan, the national church of Sweden
Inside old city - nice rise, leading up to Riddarholmskyrkan, the national church of Sweden08-Oct-2011 11:30, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 6.1mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
I headed out Saturday morning after grabbing breakfast at the Bjork Bar and Grille inside the Courtyard. The hotel’s lobby was teeming with tourist – I guessed over 50 waiting to check in. I guess it should have been some event and the lobby staff was – let me say, I felt sorry for them as the weather outside was just perfect – blue skies with streaks of thin clouds, people dressed for a walk on a Saturday morning and smiling. I decided to walk to City Hall, that was my first destination. It would be about 2 Kms but I was prepared for it and my G12 was waiting to hear its first click. I walk by the water all along taking the path inside the adjacent park. It was nice to see people outside after sticking my head into work all the week before – joggers, moms jogging with babies in their jog-carts, couples strolling hand-in-hand. I saw an old man park and take his time to get off – all images of normal life in a beautiful city. My first few snaps didn’t come out okay – I was facing the light and the image of the bridge I wanted was all dark. I decided theses were just to keep for my memories anyway. I reached City Hall after about 40 minutes of strolling and stopping. All along the city – at least where I walked, there are separate bicycle paths in addition to the foot path. Cycling is way to big in Stockholm and the Swedes don’t hesitate not to take the car. Not that the roads are small like those of London, but keeping fit and fashionable is the mantra here.
Small alleyway connecting streets
Small alleyway connecting streets08-Oct-2011 11:49, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 320
Cobblestone pathways all over the city
Cobblestone pathways all over the city08-Oct-2011 11:23, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 6.1mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 80
 
The City hall is a brick building built with over a million bricks and completed in 1923. The inside holds the hall where the yearly Nobel Prize ceremony is held. The lighting was perfect and I got some good pictures. I decided not to take the tour – thought I will save it for the family visit. With its numerous pillars and great waterfront, and views of the old City across the bridge, it would be a photographer’s dream to get some stockphotos listings.
Old City teems with sovenier shops
Old City teems with sovenier shops08-Oct-2011 11:47, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 2.8, 6.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400
 
A quick walk across the bridge from City Hall leads you to Old City – this is where king lived and functioned in the past. The buildings are still maintained even after a fire destroyed it in 1697. The narrow streets – all cobble stoned – remind you of how life was in those days; horses trotting, people jostling and walking by each other, but all close enough to know each other well. There are three palaces in this small old city. There weren’t many people and the buildings were all standing tall for photographs. With such closeness to the subjects, anything in between will take away a lot from your picture.
View of the Royal Palace from City Hall
View of the Royal Palace from City Hall08-Oct-2011 15:32, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 4.0, 21.461mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 80
 
You turn away from the Old City and head into Gamla Stan – this is a small body of land well connected by these century old bridges. Gamlastan is a perfect location for shopping- souvenir shops are lined along every street; coffee shops, Pizza and pasta places and anything else is just across the street. I stopped for some excellent coffee at Daniel’s. Sitting on the sidewalk and having coffee or food is typical of Europe – guess there is so little space inside and so many people and of course, great food. I wandered from shop to shop much like the many other tourists. Finally I ended up buying some Swedish scarves, a box of Swedish chocolates and a souvenir for home. Lunch hunting ended at Michelangelo’s – an Italian pizzeria where I had some good pizza. The pizzas here have a much thinner crust and I like that; even then the 10+ inch pizza is a bit more to finish. Contrary to what I have heard, the amount of food served isn’t way too little; it was more than I wanted everywhere I ate.
08-Oct-2011 11:25, Canon Canon PowerShot G12, 3.5, 15.673mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 80
 
I walked across the city into Stockholm and into the Ahlens city – which is a Macy’s like department store. Clothes here was a bit less expensive than at Kista, but I didn’t have much to buy. I took the train back tot he hotel. Evening I came back for dinner to Gamlastan and found a great, small Mexican food bar for some nachos. All the shops close around 5ish in this part of the city and it is a totally different experience walking almost in some of the streets – imagine yourself on small-width cobblestone paths, with homes lined on either side rising tall and the occasional light from a kitchen or a living room and footsteps trotting away across the street either behind or way in front of you. The magic is you just need to step about 200 yards or so and you hit the main city streets, lined with modern restaurants and late evening diners talking or chatting away the night. There is no other place like Gamlastan – a must to visit.

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