Stockholm (Östermalm, Djurgården & Norrmalm)

My second full day in Stockholm presented itself with the opportunity to discover the other islands of the city. Östermalm is a beautiful area, definitely much calmer – and quite affluent, with nice restaurants and upscale boutiques. I got my coffee-fix at Cafe Saturnus, a lovely cafe tucked away up on a little side street. Upon entering, I instantly fell in love with its beautiful interior – mosaic tiled floors and colorful, funky decor. The tables are close together, adding to the cozy ambiance. From the counter full of pastries, I eyed their ginormous cinnamon buns, but opted for a pie – pecan and lemon, paired with a giant oat milk latte, served in a bowl.

Having seen much of the city, I craved seeing some greenery. I learned that Djurgården has plenty of open space, and is also home to 22 museums, cycling paths, and an amusement park. Taking the boat to Djurgården offered a unique view of the city and gave my feet a little rest!

View from the boat: Skeppsbron harbor, the eastern waterfront of Gamla Stan

View from the boat: Skeppsbron harbor, the eastern waterfront of Gamla Stan

GRÖNA LUND AMUSEMENT PARK

GRÖNA LUND AMUSEMENT PARK

Royal Djurgarden park

Royal Djurgarden park

There were a lot of people (and dogs!) walking along the port and enjoying the nice weather. Various waterfront cafés and benches offered the chance to sit down and people watch.   

Östermalm port

Östermalm port

I had my heart set on tasting the city's best meatballs. I had heard marvelous things about Bakfickan, a beautifully decorated restaurant, adjacent to the Royal Opera Hall in Norrmalm. Certainly an indulgence, but every bit worth it. I was sat at the bar, a U shaped configuration at the center of the restaurant with a view of the kitchen. Condiments and napkins sat in a wooden conveyor cart that slid along the bar's marble countertop. I had the swedish meatballs with potato purée, lingonberries and pickled cucumbers, a perfect balance of bitter-sweet and sour. Their basket of homemade bread was generous and really very good too. 

Post lunch, I was ready for fika. Fabrique bakery has some of the best cinnamon buns. Surprisingly it's a chain, but don't let that fool you. I tried their caramelized walnut and cinnamon sugar bun. Amazing.

Stockholm (Södermalm & Gamla Stan)

At last. Finally, I've visited the country responsible for helping me decorate my apartments over the years on a budget – yes, I'm talking about Ikea. As I suspected, Sweden proved to be a special place. For starters, they have amazingly good coffee – and they love it. So much so, they have "fika" – meaning "to have coffee" which is essentially a coffee break, usually paired with an equally delicious cinnamon bun (I counted – I had 3 during my trip), or sandwich of some sort. As a seafood lover, I devoured lots of fresh salmon and had the best meatballs of my life (see my other Stockholm post for photos), and fell in love with Stockholm's gorgeous architecture – a palette of rich, warm pastels against a bright blue sky. Oh, and yes, the people really are freakishly good-looking.

Cadamombulle (cardamom cinnamon bun) & Semla (sweet roll)

Cadamombulle (cardamom cinnamon bun) & Semla (sweet roll)

From Södermalm (the area where I stayed), you are rewarded with stunning views of the city. Despite the warming weather – the sun shone the whole weekend, parts of the sea were still frozen!

I found Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm, to be infused with old-world charm. Made of narrow, medieval alleyways and cobblestone streets, the district has a very distinct character. While in this neighborhood, I came across a beautifully dressed woman in red. Coincidentally, we kept crossing paths and ending up in the same places. She was clearly lost, but didn't seem to mind at all. She just wandered from one cobblestone street to another, her blue suitcase rolling along behind her.