stockholm for fall
Some cities in this world seem to have been handmade for the fall season, like a song or a poem. Where the classic subtleties can be found around every corner and are equally as grounding as it is uplifting. Leaves gently blow in a cool breeze while colorful historic buildings tower above cozy cafes, restaurants, and museums. A layout achieved and enjoyed, with pleasure, on foot, or with optional modern conveniences. All the while the ocean reminds us with every fresh breath, every delicious bite of food, and every age-old view; you are very far north.
Landing in Stockholm was by far one of my better flights to Europe. Having had the middle aisle to myself I was able to get some rest. Upon landing a quick and easy express train takes you directly to the city center and your first hotel is a walk away. This first section of the visit, Norrmalm, is an elaborate mix of modern industrial and historic Stockholm architecture. Particularly around the first night's stay at the Hobo Hotel, but not worry, the industrial “commercial” flavor only heightens the cozy, historic moods that come later. Enjoy the ride, and in the meantime enjoy the greenhouse-like style of the Hobo lobby and bar and the modern bohemian aesthetic of the rooms. It’s only noon at this point so perfect timing to take a walk up Drottninggatan St., the main drag, for lunch. A very much anticipated one at that, I hadn’t eaten on the plane for this very fresh meal. Amongst a deli court of the freshest seafood, cheeses, meats, etc. you have Restaurant Kajsas Fisk. The standard “must” is the soup but had to go with the fresh salmon toast and a glass of cava. A fantastic start, and from there there’s a great circular walk of cool sights back to the hotel. But anywhere, like most European cities, it’s a pleasure just walking. But notably, the Brunkeberg Tunnel, then on through Svampen and ending at The Hallwyl Museum. From there it's a lovely traverse through Kungsträdgården just behind the hotel. A wonderful walk, an introduction to the area, and by that time some earned r&r back at the hotel before dinner. A convenient short walk away, down a humble street off the main drag, you arrive at the relaxed yet sophisticated Bistro Bestick. Rumored to have the best “hand-rolled” meatballs dish in town, and although I am no meatballs specialist, I can simply say it was by far the most elegantly flavored version I’ve ever tasted. A very enjoyable first-night dinner in Stockholm.
The next morning I began the day just a street up from dinner at Vete-Katten, the “must” cafe in the area. From there I moved on back through the tunnel but this time on through Humlegården. Yet another lovely park in the fall season that connects you to head straight up to Humlegården. An unforgettable stretch of brightly colored residential buildings as you slowly leave the hustle of the city center behind. A short turn south and you’ve arrived in Djurgården. An island full of entertainment, parks, museums, etc, it has something for everyone. But it’s massive so plan your route, and decide on walking, a scooter, or the rail to move around. I was committed to walking and choosing a stroll through the edge of the park down to Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde and back up to Liljevalchs. A very enjoyable contrast between historical and contemporary viewing. But what moved me on this beautiful fall day, on this art-filled island of entertainment was a snug little cafe tucked away in the boat yard Skroten Café & Skeppshandel. I’ll leave it at this: if I was asked the one thing that cannot be missed I would say here. It’s that special because my intuition tells me that it’s widely missed. By the time I arrived back at my hotel, it was time to move south to my next stay in Gamla Stan, old town. From the Hobo it’s only a quick 10min walk south and not to mention a walking arrival, into the 17th-century old world, is far more rewarding. Now, I'm not typically one who chooses anything considered “posh” but in the case of the Collector's Victory Hotel, I'm all in. Think swanky-vintage-nautical at a reasonable price in an old-world setting. The place is an interior designer's dream stop along with vintage swank restaurants and a bar for foodies or cocktail enthusiasts. But for now, I needed some rest from the day walking.
After charging up I hit the cobblestone streets to enjoy the 17th-century storybook setting, and it truly is; Legend of Zelda kept coming to mind. That evening I enjoyed two spots I was looking forward to. Both are an extension of the great mood felt earlier at the lunch. Dinner at Stockholms Gästabud followed by a cocktail at Stampen for some live music. Both are rustic, warm, and on-spot choices for embracing an old-world experience. The next morning I enjoyed a walk through the empty morning streets as the fresh coffee and croissants filled the air. The walk continued across the Strömbron bridge and along the waterfront to Skeppsholmen island. One of the more memorable morning walks you can ever expect to have in the fall, beautiful. Arriving back at the hotel I took advantage of the sauna and chilled plunge pool before checking out. Next, it was another short walk south to the last section of the trip, Södermalm, the cool and creative area. And from what I gathered, and experienced was a choice spot at NOFO Hotel. A fashionable vintage style with a great bar and eatery. I’d be enjoining for the evening but for now, it was lunchtime and a walk in the area. Café Pom & Flora was my pick for lunch and it was—yum with a fresh and friendly local vibe. After enjoining a walk around the happening area I grabbed some rest before dining at the hotel. I would normally go out for dinner in an area but the ambiance, food, etc. really is a solid choice. The next morning, after enjoying the hotel's fantastic breakfast spread, I walked down to the Fotografiska and ironically enjoyed a photo exhibition of Hollywood celebrities. From there I walked up along the waterfront before looping back through the city streets. But before that, another hidden gem Svedjan Bageri. Just a small little nook of a bakery serving fresh and friendly goodness.
That evening, in celebration of the area's cool and diverse offerings, I went with a local favorite just down the street at Pats Place. A Super friendly, cozy, and completely tasty Thai joint serving dishes tapa style. The next morning, for my last day, I arranged a rental just down the street to get out of the city. Just an easy 20min drive south you arrive out in Stockholm’s beautiful wilderness offering Tyresta National Park. A very fantastic way to end the trip and of course particularly in the fall. And on return of the rental it’s a simple hop on the transit to the city center and on to the express to the airport, and evening stay, for a morning flight out. An A+ airport I might add and very convenient stay-over options. And that’s a wrap, put the Leather slip ons to the test once again.
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