Monday, March 16, 2015

Leaving Vasastan

Stately Vasastan architecture in Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |

Later this week we're leaving Vasastan to move to yet another part of the city.

When we arrived here from Hammarby Sjöstad back in November we weren't sure how long we'd be staying, as finding a place to live in Stockholm is notoriously difficult. But given the stroke of luck we had in securing an apartment before we'd even moved to Sweden (thanks to my in-laws) we were hopeful that it would be a short stint, although it could have just as easily been a much longer one.

It ended up taking two and a half months before we found an amazing option, an additional six weeks to confirm we could actually have that apartment, and then after signing the lease, a few more weeks of waiting before we can actually move in.

Princess turrets of Vasastan architecture in Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Classic Vasastan architecture in Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Total tally? Just shy of five months.

Of course we were incredibly lucky to even have the option of a safe, comfortable place to live while we figured things out (as many don't and just have to deal with living as nomads shuttling around Stockholm), but now we are so, so excited that we'll be moving back into our own place later this week.

And, ooo, what a place it is!

We started off our life in Stockholm by living in Hammarby Sjöstad on the southern-most border of the city for 6 months, and then these last 5 months we've been in Vasastan, the northern-most neighborhood of Stockholm City (but an incredibly easy walking distance to "downtown", Gamla Stan, and Kungsholmen).

Rörstrandsgatan Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Rörstrandsgatan Lolodi Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Our new secondhand-contract apartment—which is rare in that not only is it for a guaranteed full year, it also comes unfurnished, so we can finally unpack our boxes from storage and purchase some new furniture—is the largest apartment we've ever lived in, about twice the size of our apartment in NYC.


It's on the waterfront.

As in, directly on the waterfront.

As in, the only thing separating our building (and view) from the water is a strip of grass and a few shrubs and trees.

When I finally received the precise address of the apartment we had been emailing the owner about and plugged it in to Google Maps I didn't really believe it. It wasn't until we saw it back in January that it finally sunk in that we may just have snagged the most amazing apartment in all of Stockholm.

Clarification: in all of Stockholm County, because that's the "hitch", if it can be called a hitch. We'll no longer officially be residents of Stockholm City as we have been for the last (almost) year, instead we'll be residents of the borough of Bromma (the apartment is in Traneberg), which is still part of Stockholm County (we're actually just one subway stop out of the city), but not within city lines.

So basically like living in DUMBO or Brooklyn Heights versus Manhattan, which isn't really a con at all for us, as the idea of being so fully in nature and having that level of peace and quiet (not that you can compare the noise level of NYC to Stockholm at all) while being just one subway stop away from the city proper is actually a boon.

It will take a little time to get used to being that "remote" though.

Living on Wall Street in NYC we were in the thick of things, with easy access to literally everything (living as we did on a street where every single subway line had a stop made getting anywhere ridiculously easy).

When we were in Hammarby Sjöstad last summer it was a good 20-minute walk to the subway, but the local tram—the tvärbana that circles Stockholm city—stopped outside our building (the same tram travels all the way up to our new neighborhood, too.) Plus we also had 2 bus lines immediately outside our door and another 2-3 a 10-minute walk away, not to mention a ferry, so we were really well connected.

Also to be found outside our door: two grocery stores, two pharmacies, three cafès, the liquor/wine store and a few restaurants.

Our our new neighborhood-to-be, though, is a full-on neighborhood. There's a little corner market down the street, but that's it. A bus just for the neighborhood makes a loop around and takes you to the subway stop, or you can walk the 15 minutes. From the subway stop there's the subway itself, two tram lines, and a total of only 3 bus lines, so we'll be a bit more isolated than we've been recently.

(The subway stop is also where the proper grocery store is, as well as a pharmacy, a few boutiques, a coffee shop, a gym and whatnot.)

That's what I think I'll miss most about Vasastan, well one of two things, the other being the gorgeous turn-of-the-century architecture.

Blue skies over Vasastan in Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Blue skies over Vasastan in Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
Sankt Eriksbron towards Kungsholmen Stockholm  |  Leaving Vasastan on afeathery*nest  |
My in-laws live a 10-minute walk to the subway station, a few blocks from the airport shuttle bus stop in one direction, a few blocks from the commuter rail station in the other direction, and with something like 10 bus lines in walking distance.

But to be honest, I've barely used my public transit card since moving here last fall—with all the places I frequent (shopping centers, grocery stores, R's work, Old Town, café's, restaurants, the library, potential employers, school, etc.,) within a 30-minute max walk for me, I've just relied on my own two feet (Cleo's been in storage given the snow we've had).

And then there's the neighborhood itself, which I find to be so incredibly beautiful. It doesn't have that glinty, polished look of Hammarby Sjöstad (which I also liked quite a lot), but instead a regal, Maggie Smith-type of elegance, all rich colors and scroll-y ironwork embellishments. The neighborhood we're moving into this week is a bit more homogeneous and monochromatic, having been built as a waterfront neighborhood in the 1980's, so without the industrial beauty of Hammarby Sjöstad or the graceful, old-fashioned dignity of Vasastan, but with spacious layouts, fantastic views, and surrounded on one side by woodland and the other by water—it has another type of beauty entirely.

I'll also most definitely miss the walk across the bridge from Vasastan into Kungsholmen—a walk I've photographed so many, many times, finding its changing colors as we melded from summer to fall to a snow-filled and crisp winter to be breathtaking—as well as my loop behind the castle and around the canal.

But of course I can't wait to experience living on our own again in a non-urban-like neighborhood right here in Stockholm (County). And I'm sure there'll be no end of beautiful places to walk there, too.

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One year ago: Week 9 & Standing savasana & The sound of silence & Week 10
Two years ago: "I am here" days & Thyroidy & Beating the winter blues


  1. Tack för den senaste ¨rapporten¨ om dagens händelser.
    Det måste vara mer än spännande att flytta till något som ni ser ut att tycka om. Lycka till med den flytten.

  2. Tack så mycket för fina ¨reportage¨ från dina resor och vandringar. Uppsala är den stad som jag utbildade mig i - en härlig stad!

  3. Congratulations on the move! You new home is lovely!


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