the most beautiful tourist trap


I promise to take you back to Stockholm and I will take you to “Gamla Stan” this time. This aerial photo I have borrowed from

The city between the bridges, as it also is called. It’s a MUST when visiting Stockholm. Every time I’m back I go there, doesn’t matter that it doesn’t change from time to time. Same shops, cafes, restaurants, galleires and buildings – it’s only the atmosphere and beauty it fills me and that makes me go back.

Gamla stan has everything of importance; the Royal Castle, the Parliament building and up to 13 years ago even Stockholm Stock Exchange – the rest is just wonderful add-ons.

Stortorget, Stockholm’s oldest square, located in the Old Town. Great Square formed from the beginning the central point around which the city grew. At Stockholm there since 1300 – to the 1700s the city’s Town Hall. Stortorget was the site of Sweden’s first pharmacy opened by pharmacist in 1575th Stortoger is held annually Christmas market since 1915 – my grandpa was always going to the Christmas market … to sell his wooden figures.
Since 2001 has the Nobel Museum been in the old Stockholm Stock Exchange Building.

view from the castle

Stortorget also had some bloody memories to share; the Stockholm Bloodbath, or the Stockholm Massacre took place as the result of a successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces under the command of King Christian II. The bloodbath itself was a series of events taking place between November 7 and November 9 in 1520, climaxing on the 8th, when around 80-100 people (mostly nobility, religious rulers  and clergy supporting the Sture party) were executed (beheaded, hanged and then burned), despite a promise by King Christian for general amnesty. The history tells that the ground of the square was red from all the blood.

One of the houses as a canon ball in it’s wall – I missed that completly – took a photo of the house from the street instead of the square. Next time a photo and the story behind it.

Today it is a very unique to live. There are only 400-500 condominiums in Old Town. It has fewer than 3,000 people in the district; most of the houses are really old. Many are from 1600 – and 1700’s. Gamla Stan is a paradise if you want to experience the pulse of the city, the district has Stockholm’s biggest selection of restaurants, tourist shops, art galleries and museums. 

The narrow, winding cobblestone streets with houses in all yellow shades have given the Old Town its unique character. Behind the visible facades can still today find cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages. And during the snowy winter days feel the district is like something straight out of a storybook.

The Royal Castle is one of the biggest in the world with over 600 rooms. Glad I don’t have to clean them. If visiting Stockholm – DO NOT miss the parade and the daily changing of the guard. Not as pompous as Buckingham Palace, more down to earth. Our King, Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia lives at stunningly beautiful Drottingholm Castle since 1981 – about 240 km (149 miles) from Stockholm. In the Summer you can go there with boat (stunning journey) or maybe by bike, a special bike path from Stockholm City Centre.

Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers.

It also holds the Mother Church of the Church of Sweden Diocese of Stockholm. Lutheran in tradition, Storkyrkan – also the church of the Royal family.

So enjoy my walk about and my lunch at “Agaton” a cozy and very welcoming restaurant with red and white checked table cloths, candles and very good food. I had a delisious fish soup together with a great chilled Chablis and I finished of with the most creamy Crème brûlée and a cappuccino. Not cheap, but Gamla Stan is more expensive than the rest of Stockholm. In Sweden is it very difficult to get a bad meal or bad service.

All photos here is taken in and around the Gamla stan and Oscar had no part in this what so ever. Only Hulda and me. *smile 

Gamla Stan, is a tourist trap – but the most beautiful one.

“If it’s tourist season,
Why can’t we kill them”

royal lion guard

38 thoughts on “the most beautiful tourist trap

  1. Oh, my! I must go there, and many other places you have introduced me to. Will it hamper me a lot because I don’t speak the language? Thank you for another lovely visit. Mary
    PS I arrived safe at the clinic after a dangerous hour-long drive. I realized at once that I did not belong on that unplowed road at rush-hour in a snow storm. But I arrived safe and had extra time with my doctor because the next patient who was wiser than me cancelled. Good news! All is well again. I’m back to my old frisky, healthy self. And now the sun is out and that snow is starting to melt. Hugs –

    • Glad to have you home safely – glad that everything is okay with you, great news.
      I can’t believe that you still have winter. We had a full week of sunshine now. Love it. In the Nordic countries we all speak English, so don’t worry about the language.
      We have to learn English for 3 years in school, after that we can choose another language or continue with English.
      Thank you for your support of my blog – have a lovely weekend.

  2. It’s incredible isn’t it? that a place so beautiful would have such a violent past, the aerial view is perfect as it shows how incredible unique the place is, I love love love how the wine sits inside..Is that a weaved basket? in your photos along with the flame brule? this place is a tourist trap that already has me! 🙂

    • Yes, our old time kings … they were quite blood thristy, but this one was Danish. We had one king that was in war for 30 years in Germany … we had one that wanted to take on Russia, but failed. You know war is something they started so soon people start to be unpleased with their ruling – so they started a war to give people something else to worry about – still the same thinking today all over the world.
      It’s a CHIANTI, Italian wine – that often comes in a basket like this and then when empty used as candle holders all over Europe at Italian restaurants, very typical Italian.
      Every big city has tourist traps! Welcome to Stockholm, Andy

      • That’s true, war seems to be a constant and as crazy as it sounds, for many places it is a profit machine too. I so envy that you are within reach of the most beautiful places in Europe Viveka 🙂

  3. Your grandpa carved wooden figures, Vivi? Do you still have any?
    Thank you for the tour. Don’t think I can afford to stop for cappuchino, or the rent for my little red loft 😦

    • Yes, he did … and quite famous .. he met up with our King’s great-grandfather and gave him a figure of him, Gustav V and there is one of his pieces at the Parliaments building. I have one piece left, my mom gave what we had to the museum in Höör, where grandpa lived and did most of his work.
      Don’t worry about the cappuchino … not more expensive than in UK, same price. I will buy you one.

    • Maralee, you are more than welcome … I know that everybody that comes to Stockholm loves it – just because of all the water .. bridges and stunning old building – great food .. but stay away from the alcohol, very expensive. Wine and beer is okay.

  4. Hukda and you managed to give us a delightful look-see of the area . . . There used to be a few terrific restaurants specially sought after for the annual crayfish season . . . what delightful messy lunches!!! Tho’ a friend told me recently that one no longer has to wait until the beginning of August to enjoy that beautiful seafood? In a way – pity if true, the waiting and arriving in Stockholm just ‘at the right time’ was really good fun!!!

    • Yes, we can eat crayfish .. the whole year, but not the fresh ones .. is only allowed to be caught in August, but they are so expensive, not many fresh water crayfish left – so now Turkey, China and US prepare them to our traditional recipe, freeze them and send over to Sweden. But still the supermarkets don’t really fill up until August. I have done a post about our crayfish. – You should only eat seafood during months with an R in. All other seafood (and we love our seafood and fish) we eat the whole year around. And the crayfish festival – another good reason for drinking snaps, the thing is the fresh seafood you should never drink alcohol … not a great combination and you can become seriously ill, but we Swedes don’t care.

      • Vivi – hoping you and Oscar are having a lovely weekend out of town! Thank you for the crayfish link!! [Well published before ‘my time’ here!!] . . . I do understand the reason but am kind’of sorry that this is not totally a fresh water Swedish [and other Scandinavian and my Estonian] affair any more! No ‘silly’ hats in Estonia, but vodka yes and outdoors too 🙂 ! Don’t talk to me of toes: I was a tiny girl when we left Estonia to save our lives from the Communists, but on my last birthday in June [yes well, Dad had ‘ways and means’] we had a huge crayfish party: Dad had put boxes and boxes of live ones ready to be cooked in our dark laundry. I did not know and raced inside in bare feet – well, they had all escaped the boxes and truly ‘attacked’ me to give me great joy to eat them after I stopped screaming -but it was to be a barefoot party for poor sore me 😀 !!

      • I love the story about your childhood and crayfishing … funny, because when I went fishing crayfish with my granddad – we used our toes … and they bite. The demand of crayfish in August is so massive, that we don’t have enough .. and the fresh Swedish river crayfish are so expensive.

    • Yes, it’s a magical … and in the winter the Old Town is like a fairy tale.
      Very special part of Stockholm – a city in the city .. on it’s own island.

    • I’m sure there is quite a few ghosts – they have walking tours through the old town and inside some of the old houses, down in their deep cellers … Uugh!!!
      Some beheaded ghosts I guess.

    • Sylvia, thanks for your support – yes, I have always been pushing Sweden … have a very blue/yellow heart, maybe it’s because I live so many years abroad.
      I’m very passionate about Sweden, but I wouldn’t mind living in Canada. *smile

  5. Another fantastic job by Hulda! I feel like diving right into those wonderful scenes!The creme brulee looks so real, I can almost hear the crackle of the crust! 🙂 Would love to see your grandfathers work Viveka, have you posted pictures of the carvings before?

    • Madhu, no I haven’t – I have only piece left …but I have written to the muesum that has quite a few of his pieces – you gave me the idea *smile – and I will go there this weekend if the weather is okay. They probably know more about my granddad than I do. And of course I will take photos.

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