A Sojourn in Stockholm
Recently, I wanted to plan a trip to Europe that would be easy for the traveler lacking much experience -- a Europe on training wheels, so to speak. This was one of the reasons I chose to visit Stockholm, Sweden.
What made Sweden more manageable for me than other European countries is that almost everyone can speak English, as it is taught in school starting at a very young age.
I flew to Stockholm via Iceland Air (it has a great deal where you can layover in Iceland for up to seven days on your trip to Europe without any extra fee). From Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, the quickest way into the city is on the Arlanda Express train, which goes from the airport to Central Station, the main train depot, in about 20 minutes for $20 apiece one way.
And if it's your first time in Stockholm, I would suggest then splurging for a taxi directly to your hotel -- there are a lot of street names that sound very similar.
Lodging, Dining and Sight-SeeingI stayed at the inexpensive Gustaf Vasa Hotel -- which I found on Orbitz -- for about $110 a night. It is located in the Vasastaden district, a beautiful neighborhood with great restaurants and some interesting stores for shopping, and only about a 20-minute walk from the bustling downtown area. It is certainly a part of the city that could be missed if you stayed downtown. But keep in mind, this hotel -- like many in Europe -- does not have air conditioning, which can potentially be a problem in the summer for the temperature-sensitive. Throughout Stockholm, unexpectedly, Italian food is very popular. Try Forno Romano, at 45 Odengatan -- it specializes in pizza but has plenty of pasta dishes to choose from as well. For slightly more upscale, check out Primo Ciao Ciao at 79 Odengatan. Most restaurants in the city have menus in English, which makes culinary exploration easy. Also worth noting, tipping is not customary. And for the Starbuck's-addicted, there are plenty of local coffee houses that make fabulous cafe mochas. The most ubiquitous is Wayne's Coffee, with 10 locations throughout the city. Around the city, I saw several of the major attractions, and they all lived up to their billing.
|The Changing of the Guard|
Other Travel TipsIn Stockholm, there is an Internet network that is in many stores, including 7-11 (which are all over the city), called Sidewalk Express Internet Point. You can buy 90 minutes for about $4, take the password with you and use the access anywhere that has the network. And take a map everywhere you go. Almost every street in Stockholm ends in "gatan," and it won't take long to confuse Vastmannagatan, Vasagatan and Vastertangatan. There are plenty of ATMs throughout the city to get cash easily, but you can use a credit card almost everywhere. Even the taxis can accommodate plastic. All in all, Stockholm was fun, scenic and (armed with a map) easy to navigate. I stayed a total of five days, but four would do nicely if you are making a longer visit throughout other parts of Europe.
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