We made a wonderful trip to our beloved Stockholm at the end of July. This is part of a private Swedish/Finnish cultural exchange programme with a Swedish couple whom we met in Almuñecar more than 12 years ago.
The event takes place in Sweden and Finland in alternating years. The project contains cultural, sports and culinary experiences. This summer our Swedish friends acted as hosts and planners.
We parked our Westie girl Marta in a well-known dog hotel, where she immediately started running around in a large fenced-in park.
Having seen that our four-legged girl was in good care, we continued to the airport with no regrets as far as Marta was concerned, and with a lot of expectations for our forthcoming three days.
The 45 minute flight to Stockholm went smoothly. No queues at check-in and security control. At the Arlanda airport we noticed how much more international Stockholm is compared to Helsinki.
We were picked up by our friends at the airport and driven to our hotel with breathtaking panoramic views over the waters of Riddarfjärden to the City Hall and the Old Town.
Stockholm is a cosmopolitan place with both classical and modern architecture and a captivating old town, Gamla Stan. Over 30% of the city area consists of waterways and another 30% of green space. No wonder it is compared to Venice.
Our first day trip went to Drottningholm by ferry through a wonderful seascape to visit the Drottningholm Palace and the famous Court Theatre. The southern wing of palace is the King and Queen’s permanent home residence. The rest of the palace and grounds are open to the public all year round.
We walked through the beautiful baroque garden, followed by a more natural kind of park with inspiration from England. After a quick meal in the park, it was time to visit the famous Court Theatre, the world’s only 18th century theatre still in use. It was the centre of Swedish cultural life in the 18th century.
The performance consisted of some arias of Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice. It was fantastic to be transported back to the times of King Gustaf III.
The following day we went to the National Museum, Sweden’s premier museum of Art and design, now housed in the Art Academy at Fredsgatan 12, during the renovation of the original museum building. Here we could admire art by Pablo Picasso, Helene Schjerfbeck, Anders Zorn, Julia Beck, Ernst Josephson, Nils Dardel and many other famous artists.
Our third day trip went to Waldemarsudde, formerly the home of Prince Eugen, who was among the fines landscape painters of his generation. Many of his best known works, such as The Cloud and The old Castle are on show here. The Prince was also keen collector of Scandinavian and French art. We went to Waldemarsudde by tram and returned by ferry from the Gröna Lund terminal. A fantastic day!
Sweden is known for its cuisine. Our visit included meals in restaurants in the Old town, in Södermalm, which is the part of Stockholm we know best, and last but not least in Alvik, in a picturesque restaurant by lake Mälaren, where we enjoyed the best steak tartar we have ever had.
After a quick trip back to Helsinki, we picked up Marta, who was dirty but happy after having run in the woods with her new friend, a bichon Maltese boy called Toffee. When writing this, she still misses him, since she is barking more than ever and looking towards the forest.
We say thank you to our friends for three unbelievable days. Next time, it is our turn to come up with cultural ideas.