Skooter reporting 08/18/12
Never been to Stockholm but I know the place like the palm of my hand courtesy of a friend who luckily got a break to visit the Scandinavian city. He described the city as if we were there together. Stockholm is built across 14 islands in the Baltic Sea and blue Lake Mälaren, with two-thirds of the city covered with water and green space. Unbelievably, the real urban sectors are some of the most stunning in Europe and the cleanest in the world. A genuinely modern metropolis packed with historic architecture and renowned for tolerance, Stockholm gives its residents a staggeringly high quality of living and safety, in spite of what certain writers of Swedish crime novels call up in a forward-thinking city. Stockholm then is one of the most livable city in the world.
The city’s skyline may be inconspicuous, with church spires and the Stadshuset meaning City Hall tower solely overshadowing the traditional red, yellow and terracotta buildings and the baroque gems of Gamla stan or Old Town. Like any other capital the city is the power hub of Sweden, from politics to technology to design. The headquarters of many banks and businesses are also found here. It has 100 museums plus the complete Modern Art Museum and the living history museum Skansen, home to conservative Swedish buildings and craftspeople.
Locals take full advantage of each season. In winter, when the sun is an infrequent visitor, the town squares are brightly lit and ice skating rinks are packed. In summer, locals gather to take a fika or coffee break, along with the ubiquitous partner kanelbulle or cinnamon bun, in the cobblestoned Stortorget square in Gamla stan or a hip café on the island of Södermalm. The sun never really sets then and the skies only diminish to twilight.
Stockholm flourish in Scandinavian design, food and fashion and not just with flat pack furniture and H&M apparel on top of capital improvements such as new light rail lines, cycle lanes and other green projects. Grand restaurants and small cafes serve fresh local seafood, reindeer and elk meat, cloudberries and mushrooms, as well as many different ethnic cuisines. That’s right, never had a reindeer or elk meat before. In 2010, Stockholm was declared the European Green Capital, and is spending in new construction like the City Line tunnel, some sort of commuter rail lines underground to double the number of trains able to move through the city.
To be continued…