A July 2003 trip
to Stockholm by bebebloom
Quote: Stockholm is a beautiful city built on 14 islands with bridges, towers, and cobblestone squares. The day we arrived the temperature was in the 90s and very humid. This lasted for two weeks.
At the same time one is never more than a few minutes away from twisting medieval streets and waterside promenades. Walk down history lane through the cobbled stone alleys of Gamla Stan (Old Town). Then stroll down to the Royal Palace, if you're lucky you might be able to witness the changing of the guards.
For lunch, if you are not too worried about the price, indulge yourself and go to the Grand Hotel a place for many grand, prestigious festivities. Ask for a table on the veranda for a nice view of Lake Malaren. Just a warning, they will not seat you if you are wearing shorts.
For families with children catch the Nybroplan ferry to Djurgarten, at the hilltop you can visit Skansen, an open air museum with some 150 buildings. It is a wonderful "Sweden in miniature". Wander between the zoo, glassblowers hut, windmills and the handicraft area. Watch the daily activities that happens on Skansen's stages. If you choose not to walk, for a few krona you can ride the miniature train.
Also at Djurgarten next to the lake is an Amusement Park called Gruna Lund. It is a great place to spend an afternoon with your kids. They can enjoy the rides while you enjoy the beautiful view of the bay.
Hotel | "Sheraton Stockholm Hotel & Towers"
The hotel has over 400 very spacious rooms by Stockholm standard, junior suites and executive rooms, the beds were comfortable with lots of pillows. If you must connect with someone while you are on your pleasure trip bring your laptop as I did, rooms are equipped with high-speed internet connection and cable TV. If you get a room away from the bank of elevators, it is quite a walk down the hallway especially if you have stopped by the crystal shop at the lobby to load up on your Orrefors collection. There was a bowl of fresh apples replenished often just outside the elevators. And, because it is just across the train station, you hear the continuous drone of the traffic when the windows are open. However, the windows are soundproof and large, so if a little noise bothers you just keep them close.
The staff at the front desk was very efficient and very attentive. The rooms have minibars, but beware: the contents were as usual, very pricey. Because we were staying for two weeks, we needed a small refrigerator to store drinks and snacks for our 8-year-old son. Obviously, they do not have over 400 refs in stock, so make a request as soon as you can. When I first made the request, they were out. However, they really made an effort to get me one. The concierge at the lobby was very helpful and armed with various brochures, maps and literature of the city. The lobby is very typical of a big five star chain hotel, lots of marble, huge vases with beautiful fresh flowers every few days, a cozy lobby bar with leather upholstered seats for a late night cap.
There were two restaurants: Liberty Kitchen and Die Ecke. For breakfast, we went to Liberty Kitchen where they offered a buffet with selections that included 3 types of pickled herring and accompaniments. If you have never tried it before, now would be a good time. If breakfast is not included in your room rate, the cost was approximately $22/person, with no child discount. Liberty To Go is the deli part of Liberty Kitchen where you can order food to go. Die Ecke served authentic German homely fare. Down the street or around the corner there were many restaurants that offered meals for a lot less. Also around the corner across from the central station, there was a money exchange -- the rate was higher than what you would get at the hotel lobby.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 6, 2003
08 412 34 00
On the menu, you will find traditional Swedish home cooking such as meatballs and a selection of International cuisine all impeccably prepared in the true Swedish spirit and presented in a true gourmet style. Fish selections vary from marinated herring and dilled salmon for appetizers to a saffron laced turbot and a whitefish with Pernod sauce. And for the meat lovers such as my husband offered are the perfectly prepared tenderloin steak with artichoke and a rack of lamb flavored with bacon. Food not only impeccably prepared but also a celebration for the palate. Also has an impressive wine list.
Ulla Windbladh is both historic and exclusive frequented by even the most jaded of Swedish High Society; the Swedish Royal circle, well known TV, theater and art-world personalities are said to be regular patrons. In 1996 Chef Emel Ahalen was presented a medal by the king of Sweden for his proficiency in preparation of Swedish cuisine.
The staff both friendly and professional all speak flawless English. Very accommodating to my 8-year-old son, even prepared French fries with his meal. Take a table on the outdoor terrace, it has great ambience.
Very pricey but accepts all sorts of credit cards. A 12-15% service charge plus a 21% value added tax are added to the bill. Proceed carefully when ordering wine and any alcoholic beverages because it can be lethal to your budget. Food is very expensive in Sweden, for those on a budget self-service cafeterias abound.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 7, 2003
Stockholm, Sweden 11521
+46 8 663 0571
Restaurant | "Opera Kallaren "
The food is elaborate French cuisine along with Swedish specialties such as reindeer and elk. The cooking is sumptuous and imaginative. The menu boasts langoustine soup with langoustine tail and caviar, lobster with seasonal mushrooms with roe, glazed duckling breast, and pigeon breast roasted in hazelnuts. The food is delicious and the presentation exquisite. The dessert, black currant souffle with fresh cheese and vanilla ice cream, is the best. It is a gastronomical celebration for all the senses. OperaKallaren is definitely a first class restaurant touting itself as a "gastronomical temple of gourmets"
The chef, Stefano Catenacci, reigns. Although the staff are a little stiff, they are very competent and provided the highest standard in culinary experience. The restaurant operates on the highest international standards and caters to both pleasure seeking Stockholmers and well-heeled visitors. It has also been honored membership in the prestigious association of restaurants "Le Grandes Table du Monde, Traditions/Qualite".
The main dining room is open daily from 6pm-10pm, whereas the other sister restaurants in the same building; Cafe Opera, Operabar, and Bakfickan are less elaborate but with equally impressive menu keeps longer hours: Monday thru Friday 11:30-3am; Saturday and Sunday 1pm - 3am.
At OperaKallaren, no cellular phones are allowed and men are required to wear jackets. The menu is very expensive; dinner including appetizer and dessert without drinks can set you back $100/per person. The usual 15% service charge and 21% value added tax are included in the bill. Not children friendly.
Stockholm, Sweden 11186
+46 8 676 58 00
Restaurant | "Cafe Opera"
The food is delicious and Swedish cuisine is the chef's menu of choice for both lunch and dinner crowds. Very pricey, if you are on a budget the place can be lethal. There is a main dining and an outdoor seating. Our view of the park included children playing on a makeshift flying trampoline.
The staff are young, very good looking and very attentive. Our server, who might have just popped out of GQ magazine, even entertained our 8-year-old son with a little magic. When my husband (an original Stockholmer himself who since moved to US) asked for a drink, Sbarta VinBerg (obviously favored by the moneyed Stockholmers for the fact that all their bottles are empty), "GQ" sprinted at another restaurant next door to fulfill my husband’s hearts' content. He also did not bat an eyelid when I asked to be moved to another table because Mr. Chimney sits at the next table to us.
Cafe Opera turns into Revolver Nightclub after dusk. Easy to get in on weekdays; however, on weekends you’d better be either connected with the guards, good-looking, or show a VIP card because it is difficult to get in. The dance floor is pretty small, make sure that humping and grinding in a confined space is your thing. Go, have a drink and mingle, just do not forget to look at the beautifully decorated ceiling. Daytime patrons are a mix of all ages. The nightclub welcomes younger dressed-to-impress beautiful people. Ugly is not a word to use with this crowd.
Stockholm, Sweden 11186
+46 8 676 5800, 676
For lunch, make a quick stop at one of the sidewalk cafes or a cozy restaurant. Then head back to Ahlens City at the corner of Drottinggattan and Kungsgattan. Ahlens City is a huge upscale department store where you will find everything. If you are staying in a timeshare where you are lucky enough to get a kitchen, then do not miss going down to the basement and do your grocery shopping here. Fresh seafood, veggies, anything you desire. If you do not like to cook, buy pre-cook. Last summer my 8-year-old son and I discovered the tastiest pre-cook fresh prawns here. Ask for the Aioli sauce, they have the best. If going here Friday afternoon or Saturday, expect droves of people.
Another upscale department store is NK on Kungsgattan.
Shop till you drop !
Gamle Gatan & Norrmalm
Sandhamn is perhaps one of the best known excursion destinations. It is the centre for sailing. The Swedish Royal Yacht Club was established here 100 years ago and Sandhamn is now the home of the Royal Sailing Club. The island has about 100 permanent residents living in a very picturesque village with narrow alleys and closely built houses worth exploring. Near the harbor are a couple of hotels, small shops and restaurants. At night, these restaurants come alive with music and dancing, this is perhaps the best party town in the archipelago. With its fine sandy beaches, Sandhamn is ideal if you want a swim or even scuba dive.
There were 40-60ft luxury yachts, motorboats, gin palaces, and royal barges on the harbor. Oh well, it was the mid-summer holiday for the Swedes and this is the home of the Royal Yacht Club, after all.
Take the ferry ride to Sandhamn from the ferry harbor in front of the Grand Hotel. The boat trip takes a leisurely couple of hours. You can also take one of the old-fashioned steamers that takes about 3 hours. On our way, we witnessed a couple of nude sunbathers on one of the rocky atoll along the way. A sight to behold . . . or not.