Just the other day I was talking with my Twitter friend Annie about Stockholm. It’s an amazingly beautiful city that I visit every now and then. I love to go there any time of the year because it is always gorgeous and there’s always a lot of fun things to do. I’ve visited Stockholm twice during this winter, in October and in February – and enjoyed both visits enormously, and I bet those months weren’t even the right ones for getting the best experience in the Venice of the North.
The landscapes outside Stockholm are breathtaking, the Stockholm archipelago must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. My dream is to buy an island somewhere in between Finland and Sweden and build a house on a cliff so that I could admire the stunning arctic sunrises and sunsets all around the year. I remember watching a documentary about a gardner living in one of those islands, his biggest challenge was to save enough rain water because you can’t use salt water on plants. He had managed to get along with the harsh nature and had a stunning garden with amazing variety of different plants. He lived on the island only during summer, in a cottage that didn’t have running water or electricity. It would be a fantastic getaway especially if you lived in a busy city center the rest of the year and had a stressful job.
Most of the tourists go to Old Town in Stockholm but I would say that the nicest area to visit is Södermalm. If you look at a map of Stockholm you can see that it is an island, and the town center has in fact a lot of waterways, bays and bridges like the Venice of the North naturally would. Södermalm is known for its relaxed atmosphere, it has lots of nice cafés, art events, street artists and second hand shops. I enjoy just walking around it soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the views. One of my favorite places to visit in Stockholm is Fotografiska museet, which you can also find in Södermalm. We went there just last October and and there was one photographer that made a huge impression on me, he’s a Dutch photographer called Pieter Ten Hoopen living in Stockholm, you can follow him on Twitter @PietertenHoopen If you browse through Pieter’s photos you’ll get another, quite wonderful view to the life in the Venice of the North.
For us photographers it is still always about light. Stockholm has gorgeous light. Those pink sunsets are something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Just last October I witnessed that through a hotel window, the sky turning into different tones of pink above the old black city roofs that are also so characteristic of Stockholm. One of those moments when you can so easily hear soft jazz music in the background and you feel totally relaxed and careless. One way to get access to these amazing views without traveling is to watch Swedish movies, for example Stockholm Boogie, or Vuxna Människor. In general I find the Swedish cinematography well worth exploring.
I wouldn’t mind living in Sweden, and at times I have actively applied for jobs there. However, I do love Helsinki also as much as I love Stockholm. The two capital cities are very different from each other but they both make you want to stay longer. And I think that I have to write a post about Helsinki some time soon…