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Stockholm

Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Well the big five year anniversary is approaching, so my girlfriend and I are off to Stockholm for a weekend in October. Just one problem - neither of us know anything about the place! Some initial investigation seems to indicate that there is a lot to see there, but its hard to know what is best. If anyone has been to, or lives in, Stockholm, then any help with the following would be great!:

* Is it possible to see all the main sites by foot? When we went to both Paris and Dublin over weekends we managed to fit in most of the main sites by walking about 10 miles a day over a couple of days, but some cities have their main tourist attractions a bit more spaced out (you couldn't do London on foot over a weekend). If things are spaced out, is the public transport any good?

* What would you recommend as a really good thing(/s) to see while there? We're mainly interested in old historical sites, architecture, bridges, picturesque parks etc

* Are there any overly-touristy things that are widely advertised but just not worth going to? Some cities have things, like the Dome in London, which are (or were in the Dome's case) massively hyped but not really worth going to.

* Will the language barrier be an issue? Unfortunately between us we are limited to English and simple Greek and French... and not a word of Swedish. I'm hoping to learn a few simple phrases before we go (it seems polite to learn please, thank you, yes, no etc), but will this be enough to get by with (i.e. is English well spoken there)?

* I've heard that food is fairly expensive, and drinking requires the budget of a small African country. Is it really that bad? Mind you, we do live in London, so its not like we aren't used to horribly over-priced food and drink.

* What kind of shade of blue will I go? In early October is it likely to be fairly cold/wet? I'm not really bothered about the cold, but rain would be a bit annoying.

Thanks a lot!
[ August 23, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
I know, STFW and all that (and I am Sing TFW), but there's nothing better than a bit of personal experience to give a good view of a place

Oh, yeah, I also know that there's little sadder than replying to your own post (except perhaps quoting yourself), but seeing as this is a forum dedicated to drivel, then perhaps it doesn't matter
Steve Wink
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Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 223
Originally posted by Joe King:
Well the big five year anniversary is approaching, so my girlfriend and I are off to Stockholm for a weekend in October. Just one problem - neither of us know anything about the place! Some initial investigation seems to indicate that there is a lot to see there, but its hard to know what is best. If anyone has been to, or lives in, Stockholm, then any help with the following would be great!:

* Is it possible to see all the main sites by foot? When we went to both Paris and Dublin over weekends we managed to fit in most of the main sites by walking about 10 miles a day over a couple of days, but some cities have their main tourist attractions a bit more spaced out (you couldn't do London on foot over a weekend). If things are spaced out, is the public transport any good?

* What would you recommend as a really good thing(/s) to see while there? We're mainly interested in old historical sites, architecture, bridges, picturesque parks etc

* Are there any overly-touristy things that are widely advertised but just not worth going to? Some cities have things, like the Dome in London, which are (or were in the Dome's case) massively hyped but not really worth going to.

* Will the language barrier be an issue? Unfortunately between us we are limited to English and simple Greek and French... and not a word of Swedish. I'm hoping to learn a few simple phrases before we go (it seems polite to learn please, thank you, yes, no etc), but will this be enough to get by with (i.e. is English well spoken there)?

* I've heard that food is fairly expensive, and drinking requires the budget of a small African country. Is it really that bad? Mind you, we do live in London, so its not like we aren't used to horribly over-priced food and drink.

* What kind of shade of blue will I go? In early October is it likely to be fairly cold/wet? I'm not really bothered about the cold, but rain would be a bit annoying.

Thanks a lot!

[ August 23, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]



Stockholm is a great place, can't recommend it enough. Here are some tips:

1. buy a guide book - this will help you with the sights and should tell you the climate in October.
2. you can walk around a lot of Stockholm, but there is very good public transport, mainly trams. Also, remember it is built on a massive harbour with hundreds of islands, so you can also get about by boat to take advantage of these islands ( although in October, you may not wish to have a dip... ) But you also see a lot of the city from the boats, after all it was built around the water...
3. buy duty free booze - if you go to Stockholm to stay with someone its very polite to take a bottle of vodka for them, as booze is so expensive there. People tend to have a few shots before they go out, and not drink tons while they are out, as it will cost a fortune; you may wish to emulate them if you drink. The food, especially sea food, is very good.
4. I believe most Swedes speak English, but we had a local to translate, so never had a problem.
5. As for sites, I don't remember one or two really big things - it was just a pleasent city. The islands were worth a visit, and its definitely worth seeing Stockholm from the sea. I seem to remember that the city centre was all close to the harbour, but it was a while ago.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
JK : Some cities have things, like the Dome in London, which are (or were in the Dome's case) massively hyped but not really worth going to.

The outside was nice but not the interior.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the major pieces of architecture in the 20th century but really disappointing on the inside, I believe. The architect just wasn't allowed to finish it due to escalating costs, until now. He has been reappointed to finish the interior, 40 years later.


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"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
A group of Swedish engineers cracked the code set in Simon Singh's Cipher Challenge from The Code Book and claimed the �10,000 prize. It took a year and month between publication of the challenge and its completion without the use of a super computer.
I remember getting quite excited about the clues and all the extremely wrong answers we had going in the office.

Other than the Swedes having one of the highest standards of living, don't know much else. You could expect decent smorgasbord.
Steven Hoodless
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Joined: Mar 23, 2004
Posts: 64
Joe,

Two things that really impressed me in Stockholm were the island of Skansen (hope thats how its spelt) and the warship Varsa.

Skansen is a huge park filled with re-located historic buildings. The place is dedicated to the traditional Nordic life. Worth a look.

The Varsa is a Mary Rose type boat. Built in the 1600's and crashed (overweight) on the maiden voyage. It was brought up before the Mary Rose and is stunning. The team who brought it up advised on the lifting of the Mary Rose. It's housed in a museum on another island. I think it was walking distance from the city centre.

Drink was expensive (more than London prices). Being young when we went we had to buy cans from the supermarket and drink them in a graveyard before going out. Hope you don't have to do the same. Beer came in two strengths. Obviously the more expensive one was stronger.

There was a theme park with roller-coasters on another island and we learnt to roller blade there. No trouble with the English/Swedish language. Everytime we fell over some young lady would laugh and make a joke about falling on your "ass-phalt". That was a good way to meet Swedish girls though I'm sure thats not relevant on a 5 year anniversary trip.

Steven


SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD.
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Thanks for the replies everyone. Some interesting suggestions, sounds like there is a lot to see. I like the idea of a place that has a lot of water around and in it. A town/city's relationship with its local water has a huge effect on its character. Much as I love London, its relationship with the Thames is largely utilitarian (with the exception perhaps of parts of the South Bank) compared with other cities such as Paris and Venice. There's something great about wondering along a picturesque water-front.

Originally posted by Steven Hoodless:
Everytime we fell over some young lady would laugh and make a joke about falling on your "ass-phalt". That was a good way to meet Swedish girls though I'm sure thats not relevant on a 5 year anniversary trip.


Um, yes, perhaps its not so relevant. My girlfriend has already made some joking comments about me only wanting to go to Sweden to see all the blondes
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
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Joined: Mar 25, 2001
Posts: 1749
    
    2
The Vasa ship museum is a must-see.

My wife and I like guided walking tours, so we did one of those around the city center. I think the tour left from in front of the opera house.

It was kind of silly and touristy, but we did take one of those fake Viking boats around the harbor. It's nice to see the city from the water.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Instead of making presents of vodka, make gifts of great British beers esp. bitters like Adnams Bitter, Bass, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Hopback Summer Lightning. Marston'e Pedigree, Rooster Yankee (uses North American hops) , Shepherd Neame Master Brew (mouth shockingly hoppy) , Timothy Taylor's Landlord (Madonna and Guy have given it their seal of approval).

Guess it's like carrying coals to Newcastle.

Last year Brakspear's Bitter closed it's brewery in Henley after 200 years.
Hopback Summer Lightning was described as 'a devastatingly drinkable blonde bombshell. The perfect pint for weaning former lager drinkers'. 5%.

If you find yourself missing a proper pub with Adnams on tap and heaps of board games pop into Paddington's Pub in Gothenberg.

To be honest I've searched and found little of historical or architectural interest.No great battle plans or fights for independence, army sieges, exceptionally horrible kings or queens. Hope the weather's good.
[ August 24, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
Instead of making presents of vodka, make gifts of great British beers esp. bitters like Adnams Bitter, Bass, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Hopback Summer Lightning. Marston'e Pedigree, Rooster Yankee (uses North American hops) , Shepherd Neame Master Brew (mouth shockingly hoppy) , Timothy Taylor's Landlord (Madonna and Guy have given it their seal of approval).


Over the years the British have invented and encouraged a great many wonderful things - television, trains, the internet and much more. Above all of this stands one thing - beer. Imagine if the Irish and the British beers were removed from the world.... the only kinds of beers would be the fizzy American lagers, the slightly fizzy European lagers and the strange German white beers. How can these ever compete with a pint of Spitfire, a nice London Pride or even an Irish Guinness?
[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
Steve Wink
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Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 223
Originally posted by Joe King:


Over the years the British have invented and encouraged a great many wonderful things - television, trains, the internet and much more. Above all of this stands one thing - beer. Imagine if the Irish and the British beers were removed from the world.... the only kinds of beers would be the fizzy American lagers, the slightly fizzy European lagers and the strange German white beers. How can these ever compete with a pint of Spitfire, a nice London Pride or even an Irish Guinness?

[ August 25, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]



While I agree that British beers are excellent, for you to say that you obviously haven't been on the lash in Belgium, Germany or near a US microbrewery. Mmm mmmm.
Joe King
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Well I've just got back from a very enjoyable weekend in Stockholm. I absolutely loved it! The city was very beautiful, and with a large amount of it being scattered over several islands, most of it seemed to be close to the water. My favourite part was Gamla Stan, the old town. For those that haven't been there, its a small island full of old cobbled roads, interesting shops, tempting cafes and interesting architecture. My girlfriend and I spent hours wandering around it exploring.

What impressed me a lot about the city was the general atmosphere of trying to make things nice. I don't really know how to express it properly, but it was clear that a lot of money has been spent on social-type projects. The city seemed to be full of museums, parks and gardens. There were also smaller details which similarly impressed - how many stairs had slopes added to allow people to lift buggies and wheelchairs up them, how every bridge (even the rail bridges) had not only a foot crossing, but a cycle crossing as well. Coming from London, the cleanliness of the city was also very impressive - I can't imagine someone fishing in the middle of London, by Stockholm seemed to have loads of fishers right in the centre of the city. I also don't think I saw many, if any, litter lying on the ground.

There weren't really many downsides. It was very expensive, and I probably had the most expensive meal of my life there (although also one of the nicest). It was also very odd how few ours the shops were open - they seemed to open late and close very early, with all the locals running around in a frenzy of shopping for the few open hours. I suppose this makes sense though in a country where it gets very dark and cold early on in the evening.

I am now very tired indeed. I probably walked about 15 miles on Saturday and just a bit less on Sunday, so am very exhausted. It didn't help having to try and get home in the early hours of the morning on London's public transport network (its brilliant up until midnight when it begins to shut down). I luckily managed to get the last train home in the wee hours, so I'm not sure about the quality of the programming I'm going to be doing today!

All in all an excellent trip, and I'd recommend Stockholm to all.
 
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subject: Stockholm