Thursday, Sep 12
We started our day with a cinnamon roll and a chocolate, peanut, caramel cake slice at the same bakery we ate at yesterday. Then we spent some time just wandering around Gamla Stan, the neighborhood we are staying in. It is actually an island. There are quaint little streets that wiggle and wobble up and down hills, so that you never have much of a sight line in front of you. Many of the buildings are painted bright colors and have decorative statues or ironwork. We stumbled across an old phone booth. There was no phone in it, but it had a really neat shape (see pics). We were roughly making our way to the famous Stortorget, the old town square. We arrived around 9:30, which was plenty early to take our pictures without too many other tourists getting in the shot. One side of the square has a series of tall, narrow colored buildings. We’ve been seeing these buildings on magnets, postcards, etc in the souvenir shops. They were pretty. Another side of the square was taken up by one large building housing the Nobel Museum. We did not go inside. Instead, we watched a worker fill his mop buckets from the ornate fountain near the middle of the square.
From Stortorget we made our way off the island and along the Kungstradgarden, a garden, as you may have guessed from the name. It is a long narrow park, lots of people were riding bikes and electric scooters through a lane of trees along one edge of the park as they commuted past us on their way to work. We stopped to admire some flowers that were in their prime: dahlias, daisies, and others. From here, we just wandered around, finding ourselves in the shopping district. Just as 10:00 approached we passed by NK Stockholm, which seems to be Stockholm’s version of Selfridges or Macy’s. There were about 20 people waiting outside, then heading in just as they opened. So, we popped in to have a little look. Like the stores I mentioned, they have an ornate entry, with an open gallery going up 4 stories. It was opened in 1915 with the intention of rivaling similar stores in London and Paris. Of course, today it has lost some of its luster and is filled with the usual Clinique counter, Hermès, and other similar brands. We didn’t stay long. Not much further on we discovered a section of the city where some of the streets are raised one story above the other streets. The undersides of bridges where the upper streets pass over the lower are painted in pretty designs (see pics for one of them).
After walking for about 2 hours straight we decided we needed a little cafe break. We popped in to Riddarbageriet. Unfortunately for Rob, their kannelbullar (cinnamon buns) had almonds in them. He ended up with a croissant. But, I was excited to have my first piece of Princess Cake. I’ve had it before, at IKEA in the US, but figured I needed to try one from a cafe here in Sweden, too. It was really good! Although hard to eat with a spoon, it wouldn’t break the green marzipan covering the top of the cake. I think a fork would have worked better. A Princess cake has a series of layers of cake and whipped cream with a layer of raspberry jam near the bottom and covered over with green marzipan. (See pics). After our little cafe break we wandered a bit more, in the general direction of our flat, then came home for a little siesta before meeting Cathy, who is flying over to meet us as I type this.