Finally it's time for part II of my humble Stockholm guide. As I said earlier, this is all my personal favorites, I have no clue about restaurants and night life and I despise shopping centers. Thankfully, in Stockholm's old town, there is none. Gamla Stan is something really special, it offers a possibility to experience what a city could be like in the 300 years ago. Most houses are from the 1700 and 1800th century and are very well preserved. Streets still covered with paving, narrow alleys with the cutest names, old shops...and of course lots of tourists. Västerlånggatan is the worst, it's always crowded, and the tourist shops flourishes, trying to convince you that you really need a towel with the swedish flag on, a t-shirt with the same flag, slippers - with flag, lots of flags, even more flags, some more stuff that is blue and yellow, and of course, the swedish moose, in all shapes and sizes.
But, tourists or not, you still don't want to miss Västerlånggatan. The little shop on the right, just after you left Slottskajen is a treasure, with old postcards, flower posters, wood puzzles and whatever your vintage heart requires. A little further on, on the corner to the right, is Apoteket Korpan/Pharmacy Raven, one of Stockholms three historic pharmacies, where very little has happened since the establishment opened. Västerlånggatan also holds some very nice signs, like this one:
When you're tourist-tired, take one of the tiny, tiny alleys down to the right, and you'll end up in Stora Nygatan. In my opinion, the best shopping street in Gamla Stan. Of course, start by renting a bike. Gamla Stans cykel (Stora Nygatan 44) has been located at the same street for more than a hundred years! Totally atmospheric, they rent and sell bikes, repair them too, and you can get lots of nice biking accessories, or old parts maybe?
I could write down lots of addresses for you, but it's not necessary, the street isn't that long. Walk it up and down, you'll find so many cute stores - two lovely toy shops, Krabat and Kalejdoskop, old stamps, memorabilia, the best lamp shop in the world, where they sell candy glowing balls as pick-and-mix. Don't miss the Tintin-shop, who also stocks the best stationary books I know. If you're looking for a place to rest and eat, there's also cafés everywhere, pretty and cosy, just pick one.
Lamp candy heaven! When I realized this shop excited, I bought way to many....
Ok, had to post this photo one more time. It's Ingrid Bergman, where do you spot her in a shop window nowadays?
But Gamla Stan is not just shopping, it's a very special part of Stockholm. If you get off the main streets, you'll realize this immediately. Go see the churches, the small squares, and just walk around, remember this is actually a very vivid part of Sweden's capital - about 3000 people live here, The children go to school here, the metro stops here. On your way to the metro, you might spot this sign below. Gamla Stan even had several cinemas, but that's a long time ago. Today, as before, the royal palace is the areas most famous feature. Of course, you shouldn't miss that, but the architecture of everyday life is just as fascinating.
I couldn't resist some historic photos. On www.stockholmskallan.se you can search for historic photos, videos and documents from the archives. Gamla Stan hasn't changed much from these pictures. It's a must see, going to Stockholm, summer or winter, equally beautiful. And if you don't feel like leaving, of course it has hotels too!