11/11/2015

The Stockholm Diaries - Part Two - Exploring Djurgarden and Ostermalm

We awoke on Tuesday morning with one important question to mind - where do we go for breakfast? Thanks to trawling both Google and Pinterest, we decided to pay a visit to Broms cafe, just outside of Ostermalm. After taking the tube to Karlavägen, we ended up lost again, resulting in yet another interrogation of our mini pull out map (which became our go to guide for the duration of the trip, even if it did unashamedly scream tourist!)

We eventually ended up in Broms, a beautiful little cafe / florist that combined both minimalist and rustic charm with its array of modern artwork and industrial lighting. If I didn’t feel like I was in Stockholm before…





In keeping with my ever so touristy appearance, I opted for a cinnamon roll, a firm favourite with the Swedes. I did, however, receive a slightly puzzled look from the waiter when I asked for tea and soya milk. It all made sense when he pointed to the ‘DIY’ coffee and tea station, stocked with nothing other than fruit tea. No wonder I seemed strange! I can’t envisage fruit tea and milk ever being a good combination. Slightly disheartened, I went back to enjoy my cinnamon roll, followed by a glass of soya milk and a few disgruntled sips of fruit tea.



We then decided to explore Djurgarden which, to Kieran’s element, was a vast sweeping park of gardens and fairytale-esque houses. If you think I’m exaggerating, you’re mistaken. Even the Nordiska Museet, Stockholm’s lifestyle and traditions museum that sits just over the connecting bridge from the city centre into Djurgarden, resembles an expansive castle amongst the towering trees. We were intrigued and made note to return on Wednesday, where the museum opens for free between 5 - 8pm. Another tip - check museum and attraction websites for discounted rates for certain times of the week.



It goes without saying that Djurgarden was beautiful, where the only interruption was the occasional tram going past - hardly an unwelcome sight for someone living in England! We ended up finding a bench beneath the trees to rest after our walk, which shed their leaves in the wind to create a rain like effect. Combine that with a pristine waterfront view and you can understand how we fell in love with the place!




After a stop at the hotel (and a change of shoes. Note to self: pointed black boots are not suitable footwear for long walks… Ow) we headed into the city centre to explore some of shops in town. It didn’t take long for us to take refuge in Designtorget, filled to the brim with quirky and minimalistic homeware. It’s at this point that I really wished I’d saved more space in my suitcase. Or, you know, just bought another one with me.



We then found ourselves in Things, which is exactly what it says, really. Whether you’re into an eclectic mix of Bohemian, simplistic or rustic, this is your place. All under one roof, you’re sure to find something you like. And we did. We found a little too much! Kieran fell in love with these amazing garden plant illustrations wall hanging, whereas I wanted to take each and every one of these succulents home. So cute!




It was at this point that we decided to make a swift exit before we bought the entire store and hunt down something for dinner. With Ostermalm being nearby, we opted to pay a visit to restaurant/bar Nybrogatan 83, an evidently popular hangout for drinks and food. We were informed on arrival that there would be a 45 minute wait, so stopped for drinks to reflect on the day. After about 20 minutes, we were ushered into the main seating area where a live band played a mixture of folk tunes whilst we pored over the menu. With so much choice, it was reassuring to see that we also wouldn't be paying the prices we did the night before at Berns!

We decided that, because dinner was go good and the staff were so lovely, we would return for breakfast to try their morning menu later in the week. For the time-being, however, we began planning our next stop that I’ll be talking about in part three of my Stockholm travel diary - Gamla Stan. Until then!

08/11/2015

The Stockholm Diaries: Arriving in Stockholm / The Basics


For the past few years, I’ve really wanted to visit Stockholm. Everything about the place seemed beautiful - the scenery, the shopping and of course, the home design. So, earlier this year, Kieran and I booked our flights and hotel to spend five days in Sweden’s capital city at the end of October. It didn't take long before I was daydreaming about what to pack and what places to visit, Pinterest board included! 

Flying from Heathrow 

We booked via Expedia, which was a bit of a mistake, seeing as they kindly forgot to mention that our checked luggage wasn’t included. First piece of advice on my part, check this with your airline first! We ended up paying an additional £95 at check in to get Kieran’s suitcase there and back, as luckily mine was small enough to go through as carry on… which surprised me as well! After that mild anxiety inducing incident, we headed straight for the Pilot’s bar in Heathrow to await our two and a half hour flight at 12:55pm.

As I’m not a regular flyer, travelling by plane is not always an enjoyable experience for me, but this time around I was fine. I think it was the complimentary tea that eased the pain! We eventually arrived in Stockholm Arlanda airport in darkness (Stockholm has limited daylight hours during this time of year - the sun usually sets around 4pm).

Getting around

We then picked up an SL card at the airport help desk, which covers all public transport in Stockholm, including buses, tubes and trams. In hindsight, we probably would have skipped this, as we got everywhere mainly on foot. The city is a lot smaller than we anticipated! The card itself is 300 SEK (approx. £23) which in itself isn't bad for seven days worth of unlimited travel, so if you’re going to be venturing further afield this is more ideal. 

Perhaps next time we’ll opt for the Stockholm Card, which also offers free entry to all Stockholm attractions, such as they’re vast array of museums with insight into every aspect of Swedish life. And yes, that even includes a Viking museum in the form of the Vasa Museet. 

Arriving at Berns

We then headed straight for the Berns hotel in Näckströmsgatan after taking the Arlanda Express train from the airport to the city centre, which is roughly a thirty minute trip. Again, there are other (cheaper) options, such as the Airport Bus, but as it was approaching 7pm we were both tired and hungry! We then of course got lost after taking the T-Bana from Centralstation to Ostermalmorg, but a lovely couple stopped to offer us directions after seeing us stood on a street corner, map in hand and puzzled look on our faces!

Asiatiska Restaurant 

By the time we arrived at Berns Hotel, it was approaching 8pm, so we opted to have dinner at their Asiatiska Restaurant. With an Asian themed menu, it didn't take long for us to both find something we both love - sushi! What we didn't quite realise was how expensive the food was. We knew the Berns was fancy, but on our first night, we managed to spend a total of 800 SEK between us (approx. £61). 

Although this isn't a huge amount for a fancier sit down meal, it didn't ease the pain of having to earlier splash out for our travel cards and train. That aside, it was amazing sushi and, if you're looking for somewhere to indulge, this is definitely your place! The staff were more than helpful, who pulled together some vegetarian options on request. 


One thing we noticed shortly after arrival is that there are no language barriersThe majority of Swedish people we met and spoke to could speak impeccable English, although I still wish I'd managed to have learnt more Swedish myself - even if it did mean I'd end up getting some puzzled looks and corrections!


We then headed back to our room for some much needed R&R to prepare for the next days excursion into Djursgarden, which I'll be featuring in Part Two of my Stockholm Diaries blog series. Watch this space!