Twenty-four hours can make a huge difference to the weather in Stockholm. Yesterday afternoon, it was icy and cold, and I thought for a moment I’d bitten off more than I could chew by attempting a holiday in Stockholm in March. Today, there were blue skies everywhere, the ice has started to melt, the snow on many of the footpaths around Sodermalm has all but gone, and just for a brief moment, I unbuttoned my jacket today because I was too hot.
The day started off well enough with a very yummy, very Swedish breakfast in the downstairs restaurant. Although I reported the hotel was reasonably empty yesterday morning, there has been an influx of people. There are lots of sports teams, including the Japanese fencing team, and there are lots of business types, though not necessarily upmarket interesting ones, more the middle-aged blokes with a mobile phone attached to his belt type.
For breakfast I indulged myself with all of those wonderful Swedish herring things, as well as smoked salmon, cheese, and “continental things”, as well as the more typical muesli.
As I enjoyed breakfast, I looked out the window as the nearby Eriksdal Koloni. It’s kinda like a little farm, an allotment or something like that, that you see a fair bit of around Stockholm. A small block of land where people can enjoy getting back to nature, growing their own fruit and vegetables, I guess. Though, you’d be struggling to do it at the moment, as the entire place is under snow. Gosh it was beautiful though, as I walked through the snow, ending up knee-deep before I decided I was probably better off sticking with the pathway.
And from there I wandered over towards Hornstull and walked along, looking at the water which, for the most part remained iced over, despite today’s warmer temperatures. It was a really strange feeling to be surrounded by snow, yet feeling the warm sun on my face.
The other place I wandered to today was Skeppsholmen, one of the many islands of central Stockholm. It was also beautiful, especially looking at the swans and ducks as they maintained a “foot in either camp”, both near the snow and ice, and yet in the water. It was a genuinely wonderful, peaceful moment which I enjoyed for quite some time.
One other moment of peace I enjoyed today was going for a swim at the nearby baths at Medborjaplasten. It’s one of those old inside baths, probably about the 1920s or 1930s judging by the layout and tiles. Upstairs there’s a bunch of gym equipment for those who think exercise needs to be work. And then downstairs, there’s a series of pools for those of us who like their exercise a little more leisurely.
On my last big holiday I started swimming and got into quite a routine, though unfortunately I failed to keep it up. In the midst of a holiday that involves a lot of walking and sight-seeing, it’s nice to have an afternoon swim to relax.
The only related stress was trying to find a pair of swimmers or badbyxxor, as the dictionary tells me, the Swedes call them. I looked in quite a few shops trying to find something, anything to swim in. But of course, it’s out of season, and there was nothing in stock. Not even a fair of shorts. Eventually, though I found a sports store which had a very small display of swimwear for men and women at half the normal price.
It was fascinating today to see the change in mood brought about by the change in the weather. While yesterday Stockholm was all but deserted on occasion, today the city was pumping as the locals came out to enjoy the weather. And as I sat in the pub having lunch – Swedish meatballs – I listened in to conversations with people making plans for the night. “What time shall meet? Where shall we meet? Ok, see you then.”