Our friend and travel expert, renowned writer for National Geographic Traveler, Don George, returns to the blog today with his memories of Stockholm, where he visited with his wife during a Crystal Symphony sailing. His perspective is certain to tempt you to pack your bags for your own Scandinavian memories.
When our Crystal cruise docked in Stockholm on an idyllic summer day, the sunshine was glorious, the picnickers were plentiful, the atmosphere was easygoing and celebratory, and every vista seemed to offer glinting water, lush trees, and warm-colored, gracious buildings. My wife and I began our wanderings by taking in the city highlights, including the winding, cobbled, flower-bedecked lanes and centuries-old brick and stucco mansions, palaces, and churches of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town; the beautiful (compelling from the outside, truly astonishing on the inside) Stadshuset (City Hall), where the Nobel Prize banquet is held; and the extraordinary Vasa Ship Museum, where history comes to life in the riveting display of the pride-of-the-country warship that sank 20 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged almost in its entirety in 1961.
One unexpected delight of our explorations was discovering the secret, leafy second-floor terrace of the Grillska Huset cafe, where we savored the green peace and amazingly flavorful made-on-the-premises cinnamon buns. All in all, Stockholm seemed infused with sun-kissed magic on that gorgeous day. And when we returned to the ship, we celebrated with a delectable dinner of fresh mushroom soup, lobster, veal scaloppini, all toasted with a lovely local aquavit. Skål!
Crystal Symphony cruises to Stockholm on several Northern Europe and Baltic itineraries this summer and next. It’s a charming, welcoming and historically rich locale you won’t want to miss!