Monday, September 21, 2015

The first proper fall frolic

Strandvägen, Norra Djurgården in Stockholm  |  The first proper fall frolic on afeathery*nest  |

Having a visitor in town that travels as you do makes showing them around infinitely more enjoyable. On the hunt for charming neighborhood strolls, coffee and pastry shops with local flair to drop into, and experiencing a bit of the surrounding lifestyle and culture, we spent my friend's weekend trip doing just that.

There was the trip out to Svartsö in Stockholm's archipelago, a lingered-over breakfast at Café Pascal, a walk through Norrmalm and Östermalm to visit NK, admire the pretty architecture and have lunch at Östermalms Saluhall, a loop around Gamla Stan to see the palace and watch the weekend processions and band- and horse-accompanied pomp, a wander around Södermalm and a visit to Fotografiska (those two just for her, while I spent the one rainy day of her visit resting at home), culminating in a gloriously sunny fall day on Djurgården.

Breakfast at Café Pascal in Stockholm  |  The first proper fall frolic on afeathery*nest  |
We took a bus out to Östermalm on her last full day in town and crossed the bridge over to Djurgården where we ducked through the beautiful azure and gold gate and took the northernmost route around the island, one I hadn't explored before. The pathways had us skirting the edges of Skansen (the open-air museum) and Rosendals Trädgård (the rose gardens) while we kept to the water's edge, passing charming little cottages, castles in the distance, and a view of Norra Djurgården, the land across Djurgården Bay. Soon we arrived at the bridge leading across the canal to the path where R and I had walked a few times last winter, most notably before our Christmas Eve feast.

With the sun shining brightly from a clear blue sky and the unmistakeable scent of fall in the air, it was really the most perfect of walks. A few ponies scattered about made it even more bucolic and Kinfolk-y, as did the many golden retrievers (my dog) and Bernese mountain dogs (her dog) that we passed on our way around.

Djurgården horses in Stockholm  |  The first proper fall frolic on afeathery*nest  |
Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde on Djurgården in Stockholm   |  The first proper fall frolic on afeathery*nest  |
Once we'd rounded the southern edge of the island and up through the gardens at Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, the former home of a Swedish prince and now a museum, we began thinking about lunch. The original plan was to visit Oaxen Slip, a Nordic bistro with seating right on the waterfront, but for some inexplicable reason we walked up to find it closed, so we went with my backup plan, the always-pleasing (and open) Helin & Voltaire, whose appeal that won us over many years ago quickly did the same for her.

We plopped ourselves in the sunshine on the terrace with heaping plates of crisp bread and roasted fall vegetable salads, an autumnal "pie" with lamb and beets, and Sweden's take on a tuna salad on dark bread. Despite the abundance of our lunch and our quick satiation there was no way we could pass up on some treats from H&V's delicious dessert spread, so while I went with carrot cake (one of my favorites, especially since the cakes here are much more spiced than in the U.S.), she had some sort of hazelnut-y, fudgy chocolate wonder topped with pistachios and freshly-whipped cream.

Stadshuset City Hall in Stockholm   |  The first proper fall frolic on afeathery*nest  |
After that completely-worthwhile indulgence we decided to continue walking, crossing the bridge out of Djurgården, following the loop of Strandvägen to The Royal Theater, then ducking through a side street to come up by The Opera House on Strömgatan, which we followed around, passing Norrbro, Riksbron and Vasabron (three of the bridges leading from Norrmalm onto Gamla Stan) on our left.

Then we crossed Stadshusbron into Kungsholmen so she could see a smidgen of that island as we walked around Stadshuset (City Hall) and its lovely courtyard and waterfront gardens before finally heading home to put our feet up and commend ourselves on a perfectly-executed autumn day in this beautiful city.

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One year ago: Postcard from Andalucía
Two years ago: Sicilia Selvaggia & End of summer pullover

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