Having worked for a Swedish company, I have traveled to Stockholm on quite a few occasions, but never had the time to see the city as you do it when you are a tourist. I mean in that relaxed, “don’t care what time it is and have no schedule” way. Of course, I took advantage of each travel to walk around a bit, see some places, fall in love with the city at the end of office hours, but it was about time for a full-blown romance.
Enter Winter of 2018! Just a 3 days trip, but more than enough to confirm that despite its cold weather and (moderate) darkness, this is a feel good and comforting city that, maybe unexpectedly, gives you a sunnier outlook on things.
And because I have a thing for lists (guess my colleagues know that😊), I have not one, but two for you and I hope that they will come in handy when planning your trip to Stockholm. To keep the article to a decent size, will cover the first list in this one and come back with a second part.
List #1: words that describe the city
Cosy. And terribly so. I’m not kidding. Yes, this is a place where you do need to wear something under your jeans (hello, trusty leggings!), layer up heavily and expect low temperatures and early evenings in the cold season. But it is also the place that will give a lesson on good living at literally every corner.
Since I’ve mentioned the weather, let’s spend a few words on that. Yes, it is cold. But I would say that winter is actually the only time when your expectations will be met. It wasn’t colder than at home, it was just windier, which might feel colder. So no fuss about this, you’re already prepared to freeze a bit. Not the same in other seasons… May – my first time in Sweden, I was totally frozen and drenched. September – never mind that it was practically still summer at home, here it was a total different story. My point is, in winter you get winter. Period.
Closing this bracket, Swedes master the art of counteracting the cold climate with warm interiors. Swedish design, as I see it, is all about enjoying the indoors. You get warm textures, good lightning, simple and comfortable furniture, yummy smells (imagine the smell of crusty bread. And coffee. OMG). And there is an easiness and non-fuss to everything that you actually realize that you don’t need much to be comfortable. Well, the famous lagom. You’ll feel it, no doubt.
Sorry for the long ode to cosiness, but this is my main word for Stockholm and I just had to grant it some space. But, of course, some examples are in order. Where will you feel it? Well, everywhere.
Starting, for instance, with the airport train to the city, Arlanda Express. Clean, fast, comfortable and with a great design. At your hotel, certainly. Even if it is a small one, you’ll probably get a nice lobby/bar and an even nicer breakfast room. With crusty bread, included, of course. Then, in the coffee shops, no doubt. And also in shops, and in the museums. And the list could go on and on.
Stylish. With a sworn love for COS and Nordic furniture, I’m totally biased here. But really now, what’s not to love about understated and comfortable glam? You know, that kind of everyday luxury. I’m definitely sold for life, but if you need further preaching, just go to Stockholm and look at the people in the streets. They are so well dressed! And, very important, they feel at ease and comfortable in their clothes. No heels that are too high, so they hurt when walking, no clothes too tight, no colours too bright. Everything is just about right.
Optimistic. Days might be short (especially the shortest day in the year, in December, when the sun sets around 14:30 or something), the cold might “bite” a bit, but the city itself oozes well being and optimism. And when it’s sunny, it’s sunny. Just imagine the sun glazing over the vast array of water in the centre of the city. And the short days in the winter are counterbalanced by the long ones in the summer. By the way, do you know about Midsummer? I do suggest to Google it, otherwise this text will never get to an end😊
Beautiful. Streets, buildings, views, people. They are beautiful. Yes, I must admit publicly that I would simply stare at people. I mean, they kind of won the genetics lottery, haven’t they? Tall, fit, blonde, healthy looking. Yeap, they’re straight up beautiful.
The city itself is scenic. Wherever you look, there’s a great view. While meeting a friend that recently moved there, he said that – unlike other cities where you would take a picture, apply some filters, post it and get a lot of likes from friends – in Stockholm you can turn around anywhere in the city centre, take a picture, post at it is and the people will be wowed. That was quite funny, because the first picture I posted from the trip was a #nofilter one and it was great.
The list of words can go much longer, but, let’s leave it to this for the moment. Otherwise, really, this text will never ever end.