marți, 19 aprilie 2016

Stockholm, or Scandinavia's finest capital

Many are those who praise Stockholm as being the most beautiful capital of the northern countries, even of the world and we tend to agree... almost. Of course, we are being subjective here, but we also like to keep a certain balance in our description.

 We set off from Copenhagen with a low-cost flight and landed at one of the 3 airports that serve the city of Stockholm, evidently the smallest and the farthest one. Needless to say that the transport system is flawless and surgically precise so we got in the city relatively fast.  

 We developed a certain routine when it comes to visiting large cities and a kind of space orientation so that a simple map is enough to find our way. We found our hostel, checked in, left our baggage and took-off again. It was already dark outside so things looked differently.

 We wandered through the narrow streets of the old town (Gamla Stan), stared at the many small shops with handmade things, from clothes, iron souvenirs, leather and many other. What we truly enjoyed was the quiet atmosphere that otherwise lacks in other major capitals. Less (but still present) kitsch related to local souvenirs and more focus on supporting local artists by selling their work in many shops including the tourist center.

 An Easter tradition in the nordic countries-hanging of colored feathers

 One of the metro stations (many stations have been designed by local artists)

 The City Hall

 Besides the city center which is obviously the first thing to visit, one can truly experience nature at its best. Around Stockholm there are countless hiking paths, rocky shores, beautiful pine forests that stretch for many kilometers. Dozens of small islands surround Stockholm so with a canoe, the experience here can get even better. During the warm season, not our case here, there are daily cruises that circle around the archipelago. 

 Stockholm has this element that is missing in other capitals and that is the calm way of living, thing that made our stay more bearable, especially because we spent here 4 days, which is quite a lot even for us. On the other hand, we were here in March so we're quite sure things are different in the summer months. Nevertheless, it is a pleasing city, with lots to offer, whether you're a gourmand, an architecture fanatic or a wild spirit in search of nature escape.

To be continued...

sâmbătă, 20 februarie 2016

Oslo, again and again...and again

Four times we visited Oslo, in three different seasons. Every time it was a bit different, new places, more urban than natural, then the other way around, Cold, rain, snow and just enough sun to make it interesting. This is merely a sum-up of our short visits to the capital of Norway.