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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

the stockholm syndrome

Day 5: Stockholm

Train station near our place in Stockholm

Woke up about 9+ in the morning because we were incredibly bushed from all the travelling. Luckily the sun sets late so we were able to spend a bit more time outside.

Had hotdog and bread for brunch. Not too shabby, but hardly what I would call a good meal.

Walked all the way to the City Hall where the Nobel Prize is given out every year, and we weren’t disappointed. The guys immediately launched into archigeek mode and all of us were fervently looking at the building – plans, elevations and the like. No doubt are we architecture students. Of course it wasn’t complete without some camwhoring :P

We went into the Blue Hall, which was the hall for the Nobel Lauretes and the Royal Family to dine.

Nothing blue about the Blue Hall because the architect decided that the colour of the bricks was too nice to be covered

Normal guests enter through the main entrances and have only 60cm of space to eat while the VIPs enter through the balcony on the left with 70cm of space to eat. The stairs leading from the main hall to the balcony was impeccably designed, with just the right dimensions for the steps. Shallow and wide. Apparently the architect had made many prototypes and forced his wife to descend them in heels and a gown to get the perfect stairs. Another intriguing thing about the hall was the star engraved into the brick for the people descending the stairs to look at so that they’d keep their poise and not keep looking at their feet.

The City Hall can also be used for weddings. Unfortunately we went there on a Saturday, so the hall was being used for the ceremonies and we couldn’t get a look at it, but the place is really popular to get married at because it’s FREE. But the short ceremony lasts 30 seconds and the longer one lasts 3 minutes. How utterly underwhelming. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful.

We got a good look at the rooms for parliament and various other study rooms. The architect seemed to enjoy playing with the contrast in ceiling height of the rooms, which effectively created a sense of grandeur.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="636"] insanely gaudy golden hall[/caption]

Walked to an architecture museum nearby, but didn't enter the exhibit because it was expensive and it looks unimpressive from the outside. However, we spent quite a fair bit of time in the bookshop looking at the super awesome notebooks (me) and architecture books (the guys).

view of the city

pretty sky!

coloured liquid suspended across the street in long plastic bags

We then walked all the way to Fjallgatan, but we couldn’t find the place at first and by chance found a protected site where some quaint wooden houses stood. There was a fire in the area before and thereafter the house were ordered to be made in stone, but the order was not followed and there was a small portion of houses that remained made of wood.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="609"]
View of the city

Found Fjallgatan, from which there was an amazing view of the canal and the city.

The food was really expensive so we walked to Folkets Kebab, a place that I had previously researched on in anticipation of the exorbitant prices for food over there. Was not disappointed though, because the food was really good. A huge portion of the meal (shared by Suiying and I) cost only 75SEK (approximately $15)

Also, ticked off something on Joe's to-do list by sitting at a quaint little cafe by the street and had cake, pie and coffee. That was pretty awesome, and a really nice break in our tiring day.

Headed to Old Town thereafter to check it out. The houses there were really pretty, and the size of the walkways were just nice. One of the best things about Stockholm is the wide walkways, so even though we were in a touristy area, we didn’t have to jostle with other people and squeeze our way through. Also the fear of being pickpocketed was hardly apparent, so it made for a pleasant journey exploring and meandering the streets.

Walked back to the hostel after that. We were pretty lucky to be able to enjoy the Cultural Festival that was going on and we stopped to listen to the Opera on the way. The orchestra was really good and the sound reverberating off the surrounding buildings and into the square was rather divine.

A little farther down was a stark difference in music and well, crowd. Smack in the middle of the square was an open air DJ Bash, which was simply put, outdoor clubbing. We bounced around on the spot while people-watching before deciding to go back to dump our bags and come back. But by then the good music had ended and all we had was crappy repetitive music that we could not get high on. Nevertheless, it was a good experience.

Day 6: Stockholm 

A disappointing day all in all. Visited the UNESCO protected cemetery which was really really beautiful.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="627"] hardly looks like the entrance to a cemetery[/caption]

I've never seen prettier graves

Attempted to walk to the next destination but ended up walking in the complete opposite direction.


St. Mark’s church was closed by the time we got there.. So we sadly walked around the place taking photos of it's exterior.

The National Library was also closed. By this time we were really annoyed with getting shut out of places. So we treated ourselves to a really really expensive meal that cost us 164SEK. The food was awesome, though probably not nice enough to justify spending $30 on. Don't have a picture of the food because I was too lazy to get my camera out and I was really really hungry.

Nothing very eventful happened in Stockholm, but I really liked the feeling of the city. The wide roads, the calmness of the city. Even the relatively boringness (compared to Amsterdam) of the place was endearing – I mean the people all wore clothes in black and neutral colours.

It was a wonderful 2 days in Stockholm despite the disappointments from not getting to see some of the attractions. The food was expensive, but we made up for it by not paying for public transport at all. Didn't get to see Ikea and eat their meatballs, and H&M was unusually expensive.

All in all, a pleasant place to visit though far too expensive for my liking. Some regrets left in this city, but perhaps it'll give me an excuse to go back to that beautiful place :)

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