Last week saw the one year anniversary of us arriving in Stockholm. I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone by can you? It’s been a fantastic and very busy year for us settling in. While we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the city, we haven’t really explored the country itself. I guess this is because we’ve used up holidays going to France (twice), Morocco, Cyprus and Germany. This is in no way because we want to escape, it’s the sudden feeling of freedom of close proximity to all of these places after living in Australia and New Zealand for so long. While we will continue to hop on the plane and make the most of Europe and surrounds, this next year we will definitely be exploring this beautiful country.
In honour of the four seasons I’ve lived here, I thought it would be fun to do another “things I’ve learnt” post for the twelve months I’ve lived in Stockholm. So here it goes. ..
1. Winters are long
They really are. People told me that they were six month winters here and I didn’t believe them until I experienced it in its entirely. And while at the end of it in early May (we had our first snow storm in early November) I was really, really ready for spring, I enjoyed winter. The darkness didn’t bother me because we had beautiful candles and everything was so warm cosy. We learnt how to ice-skate which became our weekend family activity and going for walks through the snow with big boots and thick coats was like living something out of a fairytale.
2. Summers are short
But they are ever so lovely. The daylight hours was something else. At summer solstice the sun rose at around 3:30am and set at around 11pm. But it actually never really got dark. It was a time to reenergise with the sun and everyone is outside making use of the outdoor facilities. Parks are full of people playing volleyball, doing fitness or dance classes and having barbecues. Outdoor bars and cafes suddenly popped up everywhere. Of course there is water everywhere in Stockholm so there was always somewhere to take a dip, although I never quite experienced a warm bath. We were also so lucky to have a traditional Swedish midsummer lunch at a friend’s house and take part in dancing around the maypole.
3. The mid seasons are truly special…
The local council must spend a fortune in the springtime. As soon as spring truly arrived (and it wasn’t in March!) tulips were everywhere you looked. It was also surprising how quickly the leaves sprung, it was like it went from bare branches to lush foliage overnight. Everyone was in search of the sun and quite excited by outdoor tables suddenly popping up everywhere. I also found myself crossing the street to feel the warmth of the sun directly on my face. Yes, this Australian girl who has always covered myself from the sun has become a sun worshipper!
While the air is cool with the temperatures somewhat like the winter in Auckland, the colours of Autumn are just really beginning now. Before long I will be going for walks through paths like this.
4. Secondhand online furniture auctions are way too tempting for us to resist.
But like a scandinavian, we bought well, and for life. So that’s okay isn’t it?
5. I am forever in love with the colour palette of this city
Couple the hues of mustard, orange, salmon and red with the cobblestones in the older parts, it really is quite charming and so photogenic.
6. Fika breaks are always a good idea.
I spoke about Fika in my two month post but really a coffee break is good. This can be alone or with a friend but creating a national sport of stopping, taking a moment for yourself or to connect with someone just makes sense.
7. I cross this bridge every weekday and still marvel at its magic.
There are so many bridges and views, in fact the city of Stockholm is made up of fourteen islands. This view over Kungsholmen would have to be my favourites. Quite often after dropping the kids at school I walk across instead of catching the bus. One day I need to do it at sunset or sunrise.
8. Being in such a design hub with access to trade shows is so inspiring!
While I found my first trade show at the Stockholm Furniture & Lighting fair a little overwhelming, it was so exciting. I’ll definitely plan my time a little better the next time though. There was so much to see. It was pretty amazing to hear Lotta Agaton do her trend forecast.
I can’t tell you how much I love (and it’s dangerous I know) to have access to pretty much all of the design furniture, objects and lighting today when I’ve been so used to an edit in the southern hemisphere. I think I’ll fill a container the day we leave!
9. The public transport is fantastic, but the best way to get around the city is by bike.
Next spring it will be the first thing that I get. The city is full of bike paths and parks and it truly is the Stockholm mode of transport.
10. They take exercising seriously and do it rain, hale, shine… and snow.
No matter the weather, people are out running or doing fitness classes. So perhaps they’re not just blessed with amazing genes like we thought, they work for it! I’ll let you know how I go as I’m currently doing an outdoor fitness class that will go well into the winter. This was in May by the way, so not a lot of snow!
11. The Stockholmers always look so stylish in their uniform of black
… or grey and quite often with a dog for an accessory.
There is so much that I love about this city and I feel very much at home here. One thing that I haven’t grasped at all, is the language. It’s a common problem, everyone speaks english as if it were almost their mother tongue so we tend to get a bit lazy with learning and also insisting. So over this next year my goal is to learn Swedish!
//Photos by Mel Chesneau for Styled Canvas