europe,  sweden,  travel

Island hopping in Stockholm – Day 3


It was another leisurely start for us, perhaps the lingering aftereffects of our hefty meal last night, though D was able to put in a bit of work before we left for the day. We had planned to go to the National Museum; however, a quick check of their website determined that they had closed for extensive renovations (I think within the last couple of weeks) and wouldn’t re-open until 2017, though they would have a temporary exhibition somewhere in June. As a result, I had no major plans for the day other than to explore some of the other islands surrounding Gamla Stan. I’d read about a tasty place for brunch-like food in Gamla Stan called Chokladkoppen, which we decided to try. In light of our big food day yesterday (both gastronomically and monetarily), we were aiming for a lighter food day today. It was a cute little place (D noted it would make a good coffee shop) and had an intimate feel, likely because it was so small. D grabbed a coffee and ordered a salami and brie sandwich, and I went with a salmon and spinach pie. D’s coffee came in an adorable little cup that was shaped something like a vase. The sandwich that arrived was not, however, adorable–it was this behemoth of a thing, with leaves, veggies, meat and brie atop thick slabs of bread. D was able to tame it and determined it was very tasty. My pie was similarly delicious–well-balanced and flavourful. I even took a stab at my salad (which included some interesting looking leafy sprigs) that was covered in a tasty cream sauce. Full and satisfied, we headed out to tackle the town.

Even though we couldn’t go in, I was interested in taking a walk over to the National Museum and the adjacent island. We made a brief stop at an antique shop on the way out of Gamla Stan to pick up a nice vintage print of a snowy Stockholm scene, not unlike the one we encountered on a first day in town. At $10, I was happy with a not-so-kitschy souvenir for the wall at home. The sun was out in full force today, which made for a beautiful walk but also meant it was cold. The wind was what was particularly killer, in all its face-biting glory. We trucked onwards, past the Royal Palace and the National Museum and over a picturesque bridge onto the island of Skeppsholmen, which is home to the Museum of Modern Art, among other things. It has a lovely boardwalk encircling its shoreline, so we made our way around and back to the bridge. Wanting to de-pospicalize ourselves, we made a brief pit stop in what turned out to be a high-end department store, NK.

From there, we strolled up towards Östermalm in search of the famous food market, Östermalm Saluhall. The food hall is housed in a brick building from the 1880s with soaring ceilings. It reminded me somewhat of the Public Market on Granville Island, though perhaps a little more polished and upscale. There were a host of beautifully-arranged vendors, selling a veritable smorgasbord of epicurean treats, everything from fine meats (reindeer sausage!) and cheeses to caviar and fresh produce. I liked that they have little cafe/restaurants sprinkled around the outskirts to provide people with a place to sit, relax and eat–even has a couple of well-appointed bars. After a few laps of the place, we grabbed a table at Robert’s Coffee for a truly delicious slice of lemon meringue pie, a cappuccino and hot chocolate. We had originally planned to get some food stuffs for dinner and tomorrow’s train ride, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, things were quite expensive. There was a grocery store right around the corner, so we picked up some crackers, sliced salami and cheese for our journey to Oslo tomorrow.

We decided to take a somewhat circuitous route home, as I wanted to see if I could get a nice view of the gorgeous buildings lining the waterfront. Thankfully, we were able to find such a place by hopping across the little bridge onto Djurgården. The island is home to a host of museums as well as extensive swaths of forest and meadows. I’m sure in non-wintery conditions, it would make for a lovely stroll. It nonetheless afforded beautiful views of the surrounding islands. We came across the Nordic Museum, an impressive building, that would’ve been nice to take a poke around, but it was already getting late. We hopped back across to the main island and headed in the direction of home, but not before stopping in at a McDonald’s for a quick bite. And it was marginally more expensive than back home. I know most will shudder in disgust at the thought of having McDonald’s in a wordly, delicious food-making city such as Stockholm, but it comes down to practicality at a certain point. It is expensive to eat here, and you need to break it up with a quick, cheap and easy hot meal every so often. We headed back to the hotel for an early night (as we had an early train ride in the morning) and were treated to a gorgeous sunset on the walk.

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