Stockholm in Winter – Riddarholmen, Gamla Stan and Östermalms

23 January 2017

We had seen so much of Riddarholmen from the view points of Monteliusvägen that it would be a shame if we did not go explore this part of Stockholm before going home.  It is located right next to Gamla Stan and easily accessed from the T-bana station.

The most prominent building in Riddarholmen is the Riddarholm Church, whose iconic spire was most photographed when we were at Monteliusvägen. The Riddarholm Church is the final resting place of the Swedish kings and Stockholm's only preserved medieval monastery church. With the one exception of Queen Christina, all succeeding rulers of Sweden from Gustav II Adolf (d. 1632) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are buried in the Riddarholmen Church.

The waterfront where we could see the City Hall from Riddarholmen was very cold with the wind blowing. We braved the cold to take some photos of the Statue of Evert Taube, with the City Hall in the background.

Riddarholmen

It was too cold to linger at this place. We crossed the Riddarholmsbron into Gamla Stan where the Riddarhuset is located. The Riddarhuset is the House of Nobility with pretty architecture.

Riddarholmen

Riddarholmen Church as seen from Riddarholmsbron (Riddarholms Bridge)

 

Riddarhuset is located at the other end of the Riddarholms Bridge. There were still ice in the water!

This was my third time in Gamla Stan within this trip and every time I came to old town of Gamla Stan, I saw something new.

Using the modern phone next to an old phone booth.

Stortorget again! Without the snow on the ground.

A hidden square, or should I say circle within Gamla Stan.

 

We stopped to have “fika” at Under Kastanjen. In Sweden, fika means a time to rest our feet, relax with a hot cup of coffee and some local snacks and socialising with friends. With Wi-Fi technology, that could also means catching up with family and friends at home, chatting on WhatsApps and posting photos on Facebook while enjoying the views outside.

Under Kastanjen.

Semla and Chokladbollar are local Swedish delights.

After our “fika”, we met up with the rest of the group in Östermalms.  This area is the posh part of the city and the shops reflect that, e.g. Prada, Celine, Gucci etc. We went to check out the Ostermalm Saluhall. This is a food hall with counters and shelves packed with the best of the finest stuff.

The buildings in this area were gorgeous. They were even more beautiful at night!

This was the last day of our trip to Stockholm in winter. We will be back! In Summer!

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Stockholm in Winter – Katarinahissen and checking out the Second-hand shops in Södermalm

22 January 2017

The plan for the day was to go check out the second-hand shops in Stockholm, as requested by the young adults in our travelling group. The market for used items and clothing has really exploded in Sweden over the past years and there were quite a number of such stores in town.

Most were found in Stockholm’s SoFo district, located on Södermalm, near to where we were staying. A quick check on google map helped mapped out some of the closest stores.  One of the store my son wanted to go to was the Emmaus, located at Peter Myndes Backe 8. We actually walked past it on the day we went to Monteliusvägen but it was closed in the early morning.

We walked from our apartment in Södermalm to Emmaus.  It was still closed so we went to Katarinahissen (or Katarina Elevator) first. The views of Stockholm city from the top of Katarinahissen’s tower was supposed to be good. There is also a posh restaurant called the Gondolen at the top.

Katarinahissen

Katarinahissen was built to help connect the lower streets of Slussen to the heights of Södermalm. The original lift construction dates back to 1881 and some renovation was done to maintain it. However, the lift had ceased operation for some time already. To access the top of the lift, we had to walk up the stairs by the side.

Once at the top, there were several information signboards explaining the history of various locks that were built in this part of Stockholm over the years. They were quite interesting to read and I especially like the pictures depicting how it was like in the old days at this part of Stockholm.

 

 

Panoramic view of Slussen and the bridges linking Sodemalm to Gamla Stan. Photo taken from the walkway to the Katarinahissen lift.

View of Katarinavägen. Walking this way down Katarinavägen will lead to some nice viewpoints as well at the end of this road.

It was much colder at the top of the lift due to the wind that was blowing on this day. The lift was not in operation for the longest time but the lobby served as a good “warm” shelter from the wind.

We went back to Emmaus when it finally opened. Emmaus has two stores, located right next to each other. The one on the left was bigger and sold all sorts of second-hand stuff like clothes, books, textiles, kitchenware and household display items (which could be good souvenirs). To my surprise, there were even ladies undergarments on the rack!

The store on the right is actually down in the basement. The stairs leading down was decorated with flowers on the ceiling. Quite cool.

 

The youngsters were particularly interested in those “one of a kind” T-shirts.

The youngsters in our group were happy with their purchases!

We walked down Sankt Paulsgatan to check out a few more thrift and second-hand shops in the vicinity. 

Sculptures at a park in Mariatorget.

 

We stopped for hot drinks and snacks in the cafe next to the Mariatorget park. A good snack to try in Sweden is the semla, a local speciality.

I liked it that most cafes and restaurants in Stockholm had lit candles on the tables during winter.  Nice!

Semla is a cardamom-spiced wheat bun which has its top cut off, and is then filled with a mix of milk and almond paste, topped with whipped cream. The cut-off top serves as a lid and is dusted with powdered sugar. Swedes traditionally eat them for lent in February.  Semlor (plural for semla) are now eaten on a daily basis by semlor addicts in Sweden from Christmas until Easter.

It was really a day of random wandering along Sankt Paulsgatan and later Hornsgatan, towards Hornstull. On hindsight, we were crazy to go street shopping in the cold winter’s day. 

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Stockholm in Winter - Gamla Stan, Skeppsholmen and Kungsträdgården again!

21 January 2017

After spending the morning at  Monteliusvägen and Skinnarviksberget with Samuel, we made our way from Slussen to Gamla Stan to meet up with the rest of our travelling group for lunch. Instead of taking the train from Slussen to Gamla Stan, this time we walked.

Stockholm is a city made for walking! Even in winter. You get to see amazing views of the city.

 

 

After meeting up the rest of the group, we went for lunch at the Gästabud in Gamla Stan. This was followed by a walk to the Skeppsbrokajen and on to Skeppsholmen. Although it was almost a repeat of what we did a few days ago, the look and feel was so much different!


View of the Royal Palace from the Skeppsbrokajen.

Stockholm skyline was marred by those construction cranes!

The photo above was shot at 1.15 PM. See how low the sun was!

Skeppsholmen and the Af Chapman (a boat operating as a hostel).

Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron.

Nice buildings along waterfront - Grand Hotel Stockholm

 

From Skeppsholmen, we walked to Kungsträdgården to see people doing ice skating in the park.

Kungsträdgården in winter – a place for fun in the snow and ice.

Colourful skates that can be rented at the public ice skating rink at Kungsträdgården.

 

We ended the day with dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in London, and now in Stockholm too! This is the Burger and Lobster restaurant located at Norrlandsgatan 33.

 One pound fresh lobster (grilled or steamed), with fries and salad for 295 SEK.

Although there were options for Burger, Lobster or Lobster Roll Sandwich, everyone in the group chose the grilled lobster! Easy choice to make.

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Stockholm in Winter – Back to Monteliusvägen and on to Skinnarviksberget for good photo shoot

21 January 2017

Sam was free to join us as it was the weekend. We brought him to Monteliusvägen as he was not with us a few days ago when we came to walk this 500-meter long (quarter mile) walking path with magnificent views of Lake Mälaren, City Hall, and Riddarholmen. This time, I remembered to bring my Canon G5X camera along. The weather seemed to have improved, with scattered clouds and I was hoping to shoot some nicer pictures of Stockholm city from the Monteliusvägen viewpoints.

Once again, we started from the eastern end of Monteliusvägen and walked towards the west.

The following pictures were shot using the Canon G5X. Some with the built-in zoom lens. The shots were from east to west ,starting with Gamla Stan and ending with the waterfront houses of Norr Malastrand.

View of Gamla Stan, the old town from the first Monteliusvägen viewpoint.

 

View of Riddarholmen from the first Monteliusvägen viewpoint. The spire is that of the Riddarholmen Church, the burial church of the Swedish monarchs.

View of the City Hall, with its spire featuring the golden Three Crowns, from the first Monteliusvägen viewpoint.

Beautiful waterfront houses along the Norr Mälarstrand.

There were many terraces, viewpoints and benches along the trail.

View of Riddarholmen and Gamla Stan. The above pictures were shot using my wife’s Samsung Mobile phone camera.

 

Somewhere in the middle of the trail, we could see the Stockholm ferry boat operating on the still icy lake.

Some parts of the lake were still covered with thin ice. The ferry boat was like a mini ice-breaker, going about its business.

 

At almost 11 AM in the morning, the winter sun was low on the horizon and it was a good time for photography. There was a moment when the sun shone through the clouds, casting a warm orange glow on the beautiful waterfront houses along the Norr Mälarstrand. Beautiful!

Warm orange glow from the winter sun on the beautiful waterfront houses along the Norr Mälarstrand.

After walking the Monteliusvägen, we continued west for a short distance to find the next good location for photo taking. Skinnarviksberget is the highest natural point in central Stockholm and offered another vantage point with an extensive panoramic view of the city.

There was an information board explaining that we were walking through a protected area. Skinnarviksberget is the only hill in Stockholm to retain its original bare, treeless character. Workers and poor people used to live here. There used to be tobacco plantations and factories here.

We walked up a path with well-preserved 18th Century houses of stones and timber on our right.

A resident walking his dog led the way to the destination.

This was a favourite place among the locals for picnics and parties under the open sky but not in winter. Too cold for that.  There was only two men who were there and they left shortly after we arrived.

The views from here were almost similar to what we saw along Monteliusvägen but from different perspectives.

 

These were some close-up photos shot with the zoom lens of the Canon G5X.

Being the highest point, we could get 360 degree views of the city. The views away from the lake were quite interesting too.

There was little ponds of ice on the top in winter

Chess pieces on the Stockholm skyline. Which is this is a Rook (Castle), Bishop, Queen or Pawn?

To get back from Skinnarviksberget to Slussen, we walked along the main road of Hornsgatan. There were shops to browse along the way and the buildings along the way were quite pretty too.

Hornsgatan

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