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Stockholm

Sightseeing boats along waterfront, Stockholm, Sweden

I feared Stockholm, as I did all ‘big’ cities back then.  It was the summer of 2001 and my buddy Joe and I were on a 2 1/2 month trip though Scandinavia.  We had good plan, yes we did.  Arrive at Arlanda airport, put our backpacks on and walk out into the forest, heading north for several weeks.  Visit a couple rune stones, drink from rivers and lakes, make a nice little camp fire each night and visit a town or village once every week or so to resupply on food.
Cobble stone street of old town - gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Ha!  Our backpacks were so heavy that we could hardly even walk.  After wandering around for 45 or so minutes we discovered that one simply couldn’t ‘walk into the forest’ from the airport, or at least not without more bushwhacking than we had a desire for after some 30+ hours of no sleep.  So the decision came, Stockholm or Uppsala.  “Well, Uppsala is fairly small.  We can go there then walk out into the forest and find a place to crash for the night, better than being stuck in some giant city with no idea where to go.” So we thought to ourselves.  45 minutes later we were getting off the bus somewhere in the middle of Uppsala around 10:00 at night.  Hmm, Lost again.  Luckily, my asking a woman on the street for directions in my 5 words of Swedish led to her letting us stay at her place for the night.

“We’ll probably go to Mora next.” I said.
“What?  No, you don’t want to go to Mora!”  Camilla replied.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Well, there is nothing there.  It is just a boring town, nothing to see.”  She replied.  “Why don’t you go to Jämtland.  There are nice mountains and lots of hiking. Quite popular among Swedes.”

Storkyrkan in the old town, Stockholm, Sweden

So the summer started.  We headed generally north through Sweden and into Norway. We ended up in some real shitholes of towns as well as some cool places. Mostly we traveled by pure dumb luck of two 20 year olds, not having a guidebook or anything for help.

By the end of July we ended up in Göteborg, a city down on the south west coast of Sweden.  By this time we felt like veteran travelers.  We knew that you had to get on the correct ‘wagon’ when taking the train, otherwise if you just sat in a seat with your number on it, someone else might show up looking to sit there at the next stop.  We could hop on the city trams like a local and navigate the streets with only minor episodes of getting lost.  We could catch ferries out to cool little islands, being the only non Swedes around.  My Swedish had improved to 10 words and I actually knew how to say ‘Hemköp‘ correctly.  Life under the long summer days was good.  So the decision was finally made, Stockholm.

Historic ship AF Chapman at Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

Now, to cut a long story shot, I loved Stockholm and ended up spending nearly two weeks there all in all.  Normally, and even to this day, I’m not much of a fan of cities.  But Stockholm, well, It is such a cool place that I can’t help but like it.  I spent endless days just wandering among the narrow streets of Gamla Stan or out on the wilds of Djurgarden.   Afternoons sitting in Cafe’s or eating ice cream with new friends on warm summer evenings.  I guess it’s good that I put of Stockholm until the end of the trip, otherwise I may have just been lazy and sat there for 2 months…

I finally returned again in October 2009, the streets still familiar in my mind like I was just there the month before.  The crisp autumn days and colors turned the city into a near magical place.  As much as I liked the summer, I now think autumn is the time to visit.

Wooden park bench with autumn leaves

Kungsleden Photo Gallery

Kungsleden mountain landscape, Singi, Lapland, Sweden

Kungsleden photo gallery: Click here

I’ve created a image gallery from my hike on the northern section of the Kungsleden trail in Swedish Lapland.  Weather was pretty bad – Sept 17 was the first day I was snowed on – so most of the pictures are of clouds.  When I go back again one of these years, I think I would like to be there for the beginning of September.  Though I was told that the autumn/winter came early last year and that it was colder than normal, so maybe I just had a bit of bad luck.  Still, it’s an amazing place so I would not complain about going back and wandering around for a few weeks.

Panoramic landscape stock photography: Mountain landscape, Kungsleden, Lapland, Sweden

Outdoor lifestyle photo - Solo hiker on Kungsleden trail, Lapland, Sweden

Kungsleden – Sweden

Kungsleden, Sweden: Panoramic landscape photo of autumn snow

September snow falls on mountains along the Kungsleden trail, Sweden.

Kungsleden – the Huts

The STF (Svenska Turistföreningen) runs a series of mountain huts (fjällstuga) along the Kungsleden trail. The huts are only open until the 20th of September but they all have an ’emergency hut’ which stay open year round which one is able to stay in.  Leaving Abisko and heading south, the first hut is Abiskojaure.

Kungsleden sweden travel photography: route and distance signs at start of trail in Abisko

Kungsleden sweden travel photography: Abiskojaure hut

Fire warms the kitchen in Abiskojaure hut.

Kungsleden, Sweden, Abiskojaure hut sign

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Stockholm – Gamla Stan

Stockholm, Sweden travel photography: Gamla stan (old town) cobble stone streets at night

Gamla Stan (old town), Stockholm.  Cobble stone streets, narrow winding alleyways, brightly colored buildings, tourists, and street cafes; the old town of Stockholm fits the ideal of a classic European city and is a wonderful place to wander around, day or night.

Kungsleden

Kungsleden trail, Sweden: Panoramic landscape photo from Tjaektja

Typical weather during my 10 days on the Kungsleden trail.  View from near Tjaektja hut, looking north up the Alisvaggi towards Alesjaure.

The landscape is totally amazing and beautiful, despite the weather.  Barren rugged mountains with rivers and waterfalls everywhere.  Most of the northern section of the trail is above the tree line.

(working on some small netbook, so not too sure about the color.  Hope its not too bad.)