Old Town, Sweden

Old Town is the original Stockholm. It is the oldest part of Stockholm, also called GamlaStan. A place filled with stunning views, picturesque streets and historical sites. A place where you won't tire of your camera or your abilities as a photographer.

On this island Stockholm began – and never changed. Medieval streets and buildings create an atmosphere where time stands still. Transforms and becomes almost fairy-tale like at night. All sightseeing trips of Sweden start right here in Old Town:)

This is a living museum of old Swedish life and culture that used to be. Some of the buildings have always stood where they do today, others were carefully taken down, moved to their current location in today’s Stockholm, and reconstructed exactly as they had stood in Old Town. The result is an authentic old Swedish town center.

Almost all the buildings are used, as shops, coffee houses, etc. There must be a gazillion cafes all along Sweden, but more concentrated in Old Town. Many buildings and shops are occupied by people continuing traditional Swedish crafts and occupations. We found people strolling around in old costumes, more than happy to be stopped and asked about the town and life in "the old days" - this is a place in a million! A place to fall in love with:)

We visited an old schoolhouse, just as it was shutting, but the lady insisted we come in. She then proceeded to give us a complete guided tour, explaining how people were taught, what they were taught, how in fact some of the brighter pupils then had to teach younger ones. We must have delayed her for quite some time but she didn't mind at all.

There are a lot of unique things to see when visiting the Old Town. Set up during the 1300 century, today there are about 3000 people living in the old city. During the summer the neighborhood is invaded by tourists that wants to enjoy the special atmosphere that only Stockholm's Old Town can provide. We were happy to be amongst this potpourri of people from all over the world at this time.

After some point we deviated from the tourist flow and walked the outlines of the medieval alleys. Sweden was a political power to be reckoned with in 1700 & 1800 century and its medieval charm today which is so cool, but back then most definitely was'nt. Inside, there still occasionally exist ancient vaults, and if you stop at Café Sten Sture in the middle of GamlaStan, like us, you can sip a yummy latte under them gorgeous facades:)

There is much to shop in Old Town, from furniture, jewelry, to browse the roads lined with artisan’s shops and cafés, be drawn into art, toys, Nautica, pottery, maps, to, printed things on souvenirs like mugs, key chains etc- clearly aimed at the tourists

We also visited a cathedral, Storkyrkan (the Big church) where crown princess Victoria married her Daniel last summer. The church was first built in medieval times, and has continuously been altered and rebuilt up to the present day. We took our time to listen to an organ concert in the majestic surroundings, admired the wooden sculpture of St George rescuing the maiden in distress, and also paid a visit to the souvenir shop with lots of “fair trade”-marked handicraft.

A tip: if you want to really experience history close on, and feel a pleasant frisson of horror at the stories of people who once lived, loved, committed crimes and possibly became ghosts to haunt castles and back streets alike – prolly you should sign up for an evening tour that offer horror stories that are guaranteed!:)


Swish Sweden

Swedes are gorgeous looking people. The fashion is ‘stand out’, the jeans tight and the tattoos, common. Chic and hip is how they turn out on the streets to walk their dog or on way to office. Swedes are über-attractive and what makes this sooo cool is their attitude – so calm and relaxed!

Stockholm is clearly (one of) the world’s most dynamic, creative and exciting contemporary urban scenes – leads in urban trends, which is very evident when visiting any furniture store or even a regular corner retail outlet, displaying a remarkable trendy taste. Not surprising the largest Ikea exists right here!

I was charmed by Stockholm, a very affectionate city. Equally very private! There were couples wandering everywhere, but didn't catch any smooching in the middle of the path (contrasting it to Paris). Swedes are shy and that’s what makes them even more adorable. They are shy of talking to strangers, shy of starting a conversation, shy if flirted with and shy of any public display of affection :)

It was very comforting to see Stockholm packed with children and young families. What stood out also was how involved the young fathers are with their kids. Apparently, Sweden is one of the best places to be a woman because of its extremely balanced women’s rights and opportunities. The Govt has instated what’s called, ‘The Daddy Quota”. This says that couples who have a baby must take a combined 450 days of paternity/maternity leave. Pretty cool, eh?:)

There is a richness of music alternatives that baffles, shocks and amazes you. Sweden loves its traditional music, as much as it does the rock and jazz! We had a super cool time in Gotland watching folk theater surrounded by a huge medieval market. It was fun seeing people dressed in medieval outfits, picturing the medieval mindset and time frame of damsels, merchants, war horses and knights in shining armor.

Sweden is a happy nation today. You can’t help but feel happy for Sweden, finally, her people have grabbed the brass ring for themselves. It’s their turn and it’s long overdue. Sweden lost nearly a million people to the United State in the 19th century. Will she lose many more??? Perhaps a few but it’s a good country now and one that values its resources in all senses of the word. Falling in love with Sweden is easy:)