March in Stockholm

Stockholm 59.32399°N 18.06279°E - Sweden first came up about 15 years ago when I looked up the University of Göteborg for specialized engineering courses. As always, things took another direction and the Swedish plan got shelved.

It was Season 7 of the Distant Shores series that brought Scandinavia back on the map for us. This northern cruising ground checks every box in the list: not crowded, extremely safe, remote enough with the right balance between wilderness and cultural attractions. Summer sailing offers endless hours of daylight and the major cities are built right on the water, which means marinas are literally downtown! When you factor in the fact that after a single winter in the Bahamas my skin made it clear that there is such a thing as too much sun, Scandinavia had to be added to the “where to next” list. How we were going to get there was discussed at length, with no final conclusion as of yet.

Leaving M to fend off 50 cm of fresh snow, we took a few days off from work and flew to Stockholm to visit the land of IKEA and Volvo. We didn’t sail in as we had hoped, but you’ve got to give it to flying: it’s so much faster!

Stockholm and its archipelago are the perfect place to visit if you miss the water like we usually do this time of year. It’s built on 14 different islands and the archipelago surrounding it contains more than 30 000 islands, islets and rocks. Starting in April, dozens of ferries and tour boats will be transporting passengers to and from its major islands. However, at this time of year, the departures are very limited as ice comes and goes in the harbour. The waters of the Baltic Sea are brackish so they do freeze. Lake Mälaren, just west of the city, also flows into the Baltic bringing an impressive amount of fresh water to the mix.

As proper tourists, we stayed in Gamla Stan. To our defense, the perspective of staying on a 1920’s yacht converted into a hotel was too good to pass. So we made the Lady Hutton our home for a few days. The strong westerly winds produced waves that made the boat rock; all we needed for a good night’s sleep.

Here are a few pictures. Stay tuned for more in the subsequent posts where I’ll tell you all about a winter cruise of the area, what great museums the Swedes have and an unexpected encounter with Cybele17 and her lovely owners!

Riddarhuset on Gamla Stan
Sotckholm Stadus (City Hall), home of the Nobel Prize banquet
Fishing in downtown Stockholm; no licence required.
Vantage point on Djugården island

Spending winter in the water at Djugården island

Got to love those lanterns! They're all over town and make the place feel so cosy at night.

Nordiska Museet in the background

Enjoying the view

Sculpture park at the Moderna Museet

Sjö & Land restaurant, used to be a storage barge for gas cylinders in the 1920s

Liveaboards in Östermalm

Just wow! That takes the crochet blanket to a whole new level.

Storkyrkan Cathedral in Gamla Stan
Kastellholmen island in the background

The Lady Hutton, now the Mälardronttningen (Queen of Lake Mälaren) Hote,l is permanently moored at Riddarholmen

View from Södermalm 

One of the many canals where people can swim in the summer

Stortorget in Gamla Stan

I've borrowed this map from: just to give you a general idea.

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