I was completely psyched for a day of design shopping in Sodermalm, when I walked outside and realized a few shops in my neighbourhood weren’t open. I thought it was a little odd and asked a woman passing by if today was a holiday. Sure enough, it’s a Swedish holiday called Midsummer. Basically Swedes celebrate the solstice. Not sure if tomorrow will be total sunlight for 24 hours or not = I’ll let you know. The important thing is that shops are closed – some for the entire weekend! It’s almost as bad as Paris shopping hours….
She also disapproves of Midsummer store closings...
Well, I figured if Sodermalm didn’t want my money, I would walk around Gamla Stan instead. Gamla Stan is the old part of Stockholm. It was also tourist central, with more people carrying cruise line totes and wearing matching jackets than I ever hoped to see.
A street in Gamla Stan
The upside is that a number of stores and restaurants were actually open. There are a lot of tacky shops here. One shop for viking memorabilia actually sold weaponry. I can just imagine trying to explain having a broadsword in my luggage to airport security…..
A must on every viking's shopping trip
There are also plenty of ice cream shops (ben & jerry’s included), as well as cafes. I stopped at one cafe to feed my latte addiction and have a sugary snack. I realized I had too much caffeine when I could barely hold my fork steady to eat…
Latte and snack to fuel my time in Gamla Stan
The coolest thing I found was jewellery made by a Swedish artisan out of old forks and spoons, at a tiny store called Trangt & Trevligt at Vasterlanggatan 24.
Earrings made from old cutlery
Not all of my time was spent shopping in Gamla Stan. I soon discovered the Royal Palace and with my trusty Stockholm card, I went to see the Royal Apartments and the not too shabby guest apartments. Sadly, I was not allowed to take any pictures inside. However, rest assured that it was not decorated with bedazzled Ikea furniture. It was appropriately shiny in a regal sort of way – a slightly more subtle and smaller version of Versailles decor.
Lion who wishes he was inside rather than outside the Palace
I also had an opportunity to visit Gustav III’s Antikmuseum, which took me maybe 15 minutes to see. If you have nothing else to do, it’s not a bad way to spend 15 minutes. However, if it’s a choice between going there and going for ice cream….well, I think it’s obvious what you should do 😉