I was up bright and early (thanks to the lovely Dublin Bus strike) to cycle across the city and hop on the Aircoach to ensure I'd make my 10am flight. The flight itself was as smooth as a babies arse and SAS always offers great views when flying to the Nordics or Baltics. I noticed a high percentage of the people on the flight were over the age of 60. So either Ireland's tourism industry is booming or Stockholm is not how I was imagining it!
We touched down just after 1pm and after grabbing a map in arrivals hoped on the bus to take me to central Stockholm. About 50 minutes later I was in the heart of the city and made the quick 10 minute walk to the hotel to check in and dump the bags. As it was an absolutely glorious day I decided to get as much tourism done as a few beers would be had that night.
I headed straight down to the Old Town of Gamla Stan where Stockholm was first founded, stopping by the famous Drotting shopping street en route. Zlatan memorabilia everywhere! Once in the Old Town I visited the Royal Palace which is pretty impressive and got lost in a few of the many skinny and winding traditional streets. As I was on a roll and every woman was a stunner in the streets I decided to keep going and made my way to the hipster part of town Sodermalm which is pretty cool. I even saw a lad shooting up on heroin....hip indeed! I decided I'd complete the full loop of the city, underestimating the scale of the map in the process, and headed west to Langholmen bridge which gave unreal views of the city. All walked out I made it back to the hotel at around 6pm for a quick shower before heading out for the Swedish version of McDonalds: Max. Delish but no Supermacs!
After dinner I met up with a friend from Stockholm with whom I studied with before in Mexico and headed out for the night in hipster central. We ended up in a cool grungy bar which I realised was playing Irish music the whole time. I decided to compliment them on their music choice and just got confused looks from the 3 Turkish bar men. Must go down as the first Turkish owned Irish bar in the world!
Everything was going swimmingly until a girl at the table passed out and I was left with 2 pints all over me and looking very much like I wet myself. Sitting down for the night and stinking of beer it was! I called it a night just after midnight and decided to take the scenic route home instead of the metro. Que 2 hours later and I was finally in bed...wrecked.
I was up earlier than expected and went for some breakfast in the local baker before making my way back down to Old Town for a stroll in the sun. I made the sparkling water error for the fifth time in 24 hours also...Christ can't it all just be still. I headed across the city to take in the beautiful views of the Palace and chill for a read from Ostermalm, which is a great place to relax and watch life go by.
After an hour of chilling in the sun I made my way over to the island of Djurgarden to see the ancient ship at the Vasa Museum. The queues were huge so I just stuck the head in for a peak and then moved on towards the theme park Tivoli Land...which is pretty immense. All walked out pretty early I hopped on one of the many boat, that ferries locals around the numerous islands, and went back to the Old Town. I'd been told by numerous people that I had to try Swedish meatballs, so I made my way to a Swedish restaurant and got stuck in. And it wasn't bad! The mash left a little to be desired, but being an Irishman you expect the creme de la creme.
I headed back to the ranch for a bit of a chill and a shower as my wee legs could take no more! After a quick shower I was out again to meet another friend back in the Old Town for some Swedish beer out on the cobbled streets. One turned into many and many turned into Iain dancing to Justin Bieber in front of many confused Swedish hipsters. Good night all round! I was back in the hotel just after 3am for a few hours sleep to catch the bus.
I was up at 7am feeling very a little tender and made my way to the bus station,grabbing a croissant and water (sparkling) en route. After a quick snooze on the bus, I then passed through the very friendly airport security before catching another smooth flight back to Dublin.
A short but sweet weekend break, but more enough time to cover the best parts of Stockholm. The glorious weather and beautiful women helped the day to day touristy regime, plus the food and beer made the evenings great craic! Tack Sverige!