5 minute holiday: Gamla Stan, Stockholm


Now, today, this month, this year

The low voice of the train driver announces the metro stop of Gamla Stan. A couple sitting opposite of you stand up and while holding each other’s hand walk out in front of you. You soon realize that this subway stop is the one where the wind always blows between the tracks build above the dark green water of the sea in Stockholm. You push against a heavy door and walk down the dirty, but well-kept stairs with the rest of the passengers and walk through the sliding doors. The couple is still walking in front of you, the woman has the same Stockholm guide as you have in your bag. She opens it on the page of Gamla Stan, she and her boyfriend pause near the wall on your right to read the directions. You turn left in front of a Pressbyrån, a chain of shops with food, candy and newspapers. You are following the black and white signs with: Gamla Stan written on it in Arial black. You smile at the two or three beggars with carton signs on their feet, of which one or two are probably playing their native music or dancing. Maybe you even give them some money you stored in your newly bought wallet before you continue your walk through the dimly light, blue halls under the ground of the subway, on both your left and your right there are small supermarkets only selling the absolutely necessary. When you finally jump up the stairs and find yourself on the corner of a big street with high, old buildings in yellow and orange with black and red rooftops you hold your hand over your eyes to block out the sun. It is a warm day today, you only need a T-shirt and a thin jacket to keep out the cool breeze that rule in the shadows of the oldest buildings of Stockholm. On your left there is a big line of youngsters in short dresses and jeans waiting for a table in Vapiano, an Italian restaurant. You peek into the restaurant, wondering what it is that makes this restaurant so popular. What you see is a scene of people walking around with plates with pastas and pizza’s, of which the smell reaches your nose even though you are standing outside.

You leave Vapiano behind you and walk into the first small street you see, the narrow and steep cobblestone road in front of you. While you walk over the cobblestones on which your steps feel heavy and sound loud, you look up at the windows and at the high trees in a small gated area on your left. There are shops that sell countless sorts of teas, an Italian restaurant on the corner and as soon as you turn into a street that is called Lilla Nygatan you feel like you have travelled back in time. Except for the fact that behind the dark, old windows there are small shops that sell: I love Stockholm key chains and typical Swedish things. There is one candy shop where countless sugary colors stored in glass pots that are similar to jam pots with red and white checkered cap. You walk through other, similar narrow streets with Swedish shops, Swedish flags and restaurants who offer either Sushi, Italian food or typical Swedish food. Here in Gamla Stan though, you notice so many different kind of people, from the tourists with the camera constantly clicking, backpacks full of bread, teens dressed in black with purple hair, jogging couples, groups of people talking and posh Stockholmers. After you passed about 15 restaurants and steep narrow streets you find yourself in a big square. There is a big, red brick fountain right in the middle of it, benches where people are puffing from the sudden heat after a long, cold winter, birds that are waiting under the benches for crumbs to fall and artists playing on their music instrument with a small group of people around it. All around the square are café’s, the side where most people sit is below the famous Dutch inspired houses, one in a dark green color with white details and red window frames, one in a bloody red color with green window frames, another one in orange with red-orange frames and the last one in a dark yellow color and black frames. Indeed, they could have stepped out of one of the canals of Amsterdam, except they are here, in Sweden. You pass a group of loudly laughing elderly towards the Nobel museum on your left. A big, old, pastel brown building with big roman pillars against the walls as window frames. You turn left after you passed it towards a big building, the one you saw in the Stockholm guide. The royal palace, a big building, while you wait in a crowd to see the changing of the guards you reach out for your Stockholm guide and decide if you want to go into the royal palace with it’s big, dark rooms filled with history and stories or explore the art shops in Gamla Stan.

 

Tell me what you think below in the comments 🙂 , See you next time. -Joy

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