We’d decided to spend the morning exploring the Östermalm district and had read about its famous old market hall which has been in existence since 1888. It’s currently being renovated and until it’s completion in summer 2019 the market has moved to temporary premises nearby.
It was only a short walk from the metro to the market hall and stepping inside , it was surprising to see how smart it looked considering it’s only a short term solution. In addition to the usual fresh produce stalls there were numerous cafes to tempt us, so we started the day with delicious cinnamon buns and coffee, known in Swedish as Fika, a daily tradition comprising of a coffee and a sweet treat.
After enjoying our breakfast out, we made our way to the Swedish Army Museum which was only a couple of blocks away. Its building on Artillerigården has been used for military purposes since the middle of the 17th century and was the main depot for the artillery for 300 years.
The museum offers free admittance and is structured in such a way to keep all ages interested. I was impressed with its emphasis on the wartime living conditions of soldiers and their families and of how women coped whilst their menfolk were away. Strolling through the galleries we viewed life size figures of soldiers and scenes of major battles involving Swedish forces.
We timed our departure from the museum to coincide with the army band parade which sets off from the museum courtyard at 11.45 a.m. each day (12.45 p.m. on Sundays) between 23rd April and 31st August and proceeds to the Royal Palace for the Changing of the Guards ceremony at 12.15 p.m. and 1.15 p.m. respectively. Viewing the military band from outside the Army Museum rather than at the Royal Palace is a good idea as there are few people around, making the event easier to photograph.
Completing our Swedish history lesson we called in briefly at the Swedish History Museum approximately 15 minutes walk away. This museum, which is also free, is one of the biggest museums in Sweden so we narrowed our areas of interest down to the Vikings and the History of Sweden galleries. This is a very popular city centre museum and was busy on our Monday lunchtime visit.
It has two outdoor courtyards, in one of which was a cafe and the other was filled with Viking crafts and games to keep both adults and children entertained. Staff dressed in authentic costumes demonstrated the art of preserving food by pickling, drying and of baking bread. We also looked in a typical blacksmith’s forge where demonstrations were taking place. It was also fun to watch visitors trying to hit a bulls eye with a bow and arrow and children testing their strength with a game of tug-of-war.
The museum was only a few minutes walk from the Djurgården bridge so we headed in that direction and caught a tram along to Skansen as we’d remembered seeing an attractive cafe/bar there called Lilla Hasselbacken. Alighting from the tram we soon found a free table on the cafe’s ornate wooden veranda and after taking a quick look at the menu, I popped indoors to place our order. It was a peaceful oasis and although it’s just a few minutes walk from the bustling Gröna Lund amusement park, it felt like a different world.
After about an hour’s rest, we wandered along to Waldemarsudde on the southern tip of Djurgården. We hadn’t been so far along before but there were pleasant views of the inlet to Stockholm and of the castle like former home of the Swedish Prince Eugen which is now an art gallery.
Waldemarsudde lies at the very end of the No.7 Djurgården tram line so we caught a tram back from there to Kungsträdgården. We were fortunate to be able to ride on a heritage tram once again and when we got off we noticed it had a yellow postbox attached to its rear carriage. I discovered later that it was an actual, working postbox and is emptied at the end of each day. It was the first time I’d ever seen a ‘moving’ postbox but thought it was such a lovely idea and it made me wonder where else I might find one.
After returning to Solna for a well earned rest, we set off again for Vasatan. This district has its own metro station called Odenplan, but we had noticed that a bus stop outside our apartment was on that particular route. So, instead of walking down the hill to Solna Centrum for the metro we caught the bus which was more convenient. The bus terminated on Odengatan, an elegant tree lined avenue which had a prosperous feel. Dominating the Odenplan square stands the huge Baroque style Gustav Vasa church which is one of the largest in Stockholm.
The reason for our visit to this part of the city was to have dinner at Tennstopet on the corner of Dalagatan. We’d heard that this restaurant had been in existence for 150 years and that it specialised in traditional Swedish classic dishes. As we like to eat authentic, local dishes on our travels , we’d booked a table in advance which was just as well as a family arrived at the same time as us who were unable to be accommodated.
We were shown to a table in the corner of the cosy restaurant which was stylishly furnished in traditional style. It was hard choosing from the menu as I could have happily eaten any of the dishes but eventually I settled on fillet of beef Rydberg style with egg yolk and mustard cream for my main course. The dish arrived beautifully presented with the tender steak melting in my mouth. Mr. C. decided to have fish and opted for the oven baked cod with herring, egg, dill, chive and pickled onions which he told me tasted sublime, having flavours he hadn’t encountered before.
The waitresses were friendly and efficient and despite the restaurant being busy, still had time to talk to us without feeling rushed. If you might also like to experience traditional Swedish cuisine then I would recommend a visit to Tennstopet for its delicious food, good service and reasonable prices.
After leaving the restaurant we had a short walk in Vasaparken which was just across the road before returning to our accommodation in Solna from the Odenplan metro station.
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