Europe’s Top Cities- #17

It may seem ludicrous that the city which is the home of the ABBA museum isn’t number one on my list, but cheesy eighties music alone isn’t enough to top this chart. It is tempting to notch it up a few ranks because of this fascinating musical exhibit, but that would be unfair on the other cities as can anyone compete with Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid? Stockholm is a remarkable city and is home to so much more than the magnificent shrine to the country’s most famous export other than meatballs and Ikea and there is plenty to keep you occupied once the museum has been completed.
           My parents came to visit me in Stockholm just after my mum had broken her foot in a dramatic fall-off one small step, so we were bound to sightsee from open-top buses and boats as we explored the Swedish capital. ABBA museum aside, there is an abundance of interesting things to see and we started with the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan, the old centre of the town that is remarkably well preserved and inviting. Following the cobbled streets through colourful, narrow avenues after escaping the open-top bus we searched for those tasty meatballs and little coffee shops. We wound our way back to the waterfront which was glistening on a sunny August day and hopped into another boat to whisk us through the archipelago, darting between islands for a different perspective of ‘the Venice of the north’. Somewhere in these waters the sizeable and magnificent warship, The Vasa, was taking its maiden voyage in 1628 before sinking less than a mile from the dock. It is now the centre piece of a great museum after being preserved in the sea and then recovered.
           As well as being treated to fancy buses, boats and a bed that wasn’t in a van, I was lucky enough to be treated to a drink at a rooftop bar and get the van restocked by my parents which made Stockholm even better.
           Just like the other Nordic cities on this list, Stockholm is clean and friendly, mixing medieval old towns with modern shopping centres and high-rises whilst maintaining a connection with nature, in this case by building along the water which is an essential part of the cities character. But just like the other Nordic cities, I don’t really have much to say about it. It is lovely and liveable, yet expensive. Its history is fascinating and architecture intriguing, but other than crutches and ABBA I have no distinctive memories to share. One of my highlights is letting my Mum fill up the van with wet wipes and loo roll so I don’t feel that I can put it any higher than this. Stockholm is a great city, but it may just be a bit boring, or I am. Mamma Mia!

The streets of Gamla Stan
Creepy wax ABBA
Stockholm from the water. Where did the sun go?

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