Showing some visiting friends around town, I was reminded once again what a gorgeous city I live in and how lucky I am to live here. Basically, we spent hours wandering the waterfront seeing the sights and watching the people. Since I have not owned a car for almost five years now, I am by necessity a big walker, as evidenced by the fact that I think I exhausted my friends! They ditched me today, in fact, to tour on their own and perhaps get foot massages?
Besides the fact that it’s always fun to play tour guide in your town, my mission was to give them a mini overview of the inner city from the water’s edge. From my apartment, we walked through the park and down to the path along Lake Mälaren toward Gamla Stan. Passing over the bridge at Slussen where you can see the lake waters intermingle with the Baltic, we crossed into Gamla Stan. There we briefly joined in with the hoardes of other tourists packed into the shopping street of Västerlånggatan and then up to Stortorget – the scene of a bloodbath in 1520 wherein a Danish king had 90 people hung and beheaded. Yesterday’s entertainment was not anywhere near as violent: we merely saw two girls with blonde dredlocks playing folk music while hundreds of people sitting in cafes watched. After a brief look at the palace, we walked back to the Baltic and strolled over to Kungsträdgården, formally the site of the King’s kitchen garden and now a wonderful spot to hang out, eat, drink, listen to music and people watch. After a drink by the fountain, we walked on to Skeppsholmen. The old boats on the east side of the island had past lives as military and work boats and now serve as homes with a view. This view is one of my favorites.
Giving my friends a chance to sit again, we took the ferry to Djurgården next. The King’s old hunting grounds is now a green space extraordinaire with excellent walking, cycling and horse paths. But I subjected them to some fine Swedish cuisine instead: a grilled hot dog and lakrits (soft licorice strings). This fine food gave us the energy to carry on, leaving this island to cross yet another bridge, this time to Normalm and Strandvägen and past the yachts parked there. Despite the beauty of the scene there, I think my friends were too tired to think or walk, so we went home.