We woke in the morning around 9am to the pale light seeping in through the circular skylights of our hostel room (which had fondly become known to us as Prison Room). Plodding out of our room we headed to the complimentary breakfast laid out downstairs. It wasn’t the most impressive but I found some cereal before finishing off with peppered salami and bread, so I was happy. Flo wasn’t so impressed – but then, he’s French. We spent some time on the hostel computers as the WiFi was temperamental, trying to decide what to do first. I suggested we walk down to the Royal Palace then take the subway to a large urban park Flo had found on the map called Ladugårdsgärdet. Walking a different route down to the old town, we discovered an even better viewpoint than Katarinahissen.
After a quick stop at H&M to buy an emergency pair of sandals for the hot weather, we strolled down to Gamla Stan. Following the water’s edge we walked to the outside of the Royal Palace but decided not to go in. It seemed such a shame to waste a lovely day inside. We carried on, meandering along the streets without much of an aim, admiring the different pastel coloured buildings and soaking in the sunshine.
After wandering along cobbled streets and across bridges we stopped at a pharmacy to buy suncream. Once again the prices were shocking, and the cheapest we could get for a tiny tube of factor 25 was 89kr – about £9. Sheesh. We ended up on what looked to be the main tourist street in Gamla Stan, but didn’t stop to look in the shops. Along the way there were some men playing a lively street game of guessing which cup the ball was under. We watched a little before Flo decided he would have a go. In less than thirty seconds it was over, and Flo came back over to me. I thought he’d won. Instead he told me he’d impulsively bet 300kr (£30)… and lost. Immediately his mood was dampened and I tried my best to cheer him up, taking him back to sit along the water’s edge.
Soon he seemed calmer and we carried on to the nearby subway station to catch the metro to Karlaplan. After some confusion trying to buy our tickets and instead purchasing a card, we hopped onto the train and were away. Arriving in Karlaplan we headed to McDonalds for the toilet before visiting the park, ending up buying drinks and a burger too. Can somehow never get away from the pull of McDonalds when travelling! It offers convenience when you’re at your most tired and confused. After lunch we strolled through a narrow rectangular park before making a right and entering the much larger Ladugårdsgärdet. It was quite a lovely park, stretching out for what seemed like miles. The heat was smothering by this time, and we leisurely walked the length of green expanse, stopping occasionally to explore different paths.
Eventually we came upon the water’s edge again at the far end, and followed the path onwards. We walked until we reached the beginning of Djurgården, before calling it a day and walking over the bridge to the subway stop at Kungsträdgården.
After hiding from the heat in Prison Room back at Mosebacke Hostel, we ventured back out for food. This time we walked the length of Södermalm’s main street, looking for an affordable restaurant. There were none. Reluctantly we gave in, and walked all the way back down to Gamla Stan to try the high street again. This time we found a quiet little restaurant, getting a table in the corner. I sampled my usual travelling favourite of carbonara (got to have one in every country) whilst Flo ordered a massive bowl of caesar salad. After dinner we made our way back up the hillside. I suggested we try the route we discovered that morning, and on the way up we paused at a wall to admire the twilight view of the city. In the end we spend maybe an hour there talking, the light fading in the background and the streetlights twinkling to life. It had been a long day, but an insightful one.