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Sweden 2013

Work commitments meant I had to visit Sweden in spring of 2013. My meetings would only take up two days, but I booked myself a five-day trip so I could explore both the capital, Stockholm, and the University town of Karlstad. It’s more than 450 years old and sits on the banks of Lake Vänern – the largest lake in Europe (outside of Russia). It’s astonishingly beautiful and, when I was visiting, painfully cold.

So did I find a mosque and some Indian food? You bet I did! 🙂

Stockholm

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is built upon 14 islands connected by more than 50 bridges. Gamla Stan, the old town, is replete with cobblestone streets and is home to a 13th-century Cathedral, the Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum (of Nobel Prize fame). I spent most of my time in Stockholm just walking around the city, and as everyone here speaks perfect English (even the newly-arrived immigrants!!) I was confident I could just ask for help if I got lost. Oh, and although I stayed in a cheapo hotel, they still had underfloor heating because in winter this place is almost arctic.


Airport Abba Museum
They have an Abba Museum INSIDE the Stockholm airport at Arlanda.
Stockholm airport train station
The Stockholm airport train station looks like the Bat Cave!
Winter in Sweden
Winter in Sweden
Winter in Sweden
Winter in Sweden
Halal Kebab and Felafal in Stockholm

I arrived in Stockholm at 11pm thanks to the delayed train. Wanted to get some food and look what I found:
– Fancy Indian restaurant. “Sorry, closed at 10pm”
– Pizza Place? “Sorry, closed at 10pm”
– Supermarket? “Sorry, closed at 9pm”
Friday night and EVERYTHING is closed? What kind of capital city is this? Wandered for ages trying to find somewhere, anywhere that would serve me a meal. Finally, at midnight, came across a Halal Kebab/Felafal place. Hallelujah!

Stockholm, Sweden.
Stockholm, Sweden.
Frozen Lake Mälaren
Frozen Lake Mälaren
Church of Gustaf Vasa, Odenplan, Stockolm.
Church of Gustaf Vasa, Odenplan, Stockolm.
Science Fiction Bokhandeln, Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

The famous Science Fiction Bokhandeln, Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Yes, their logo is a dragon fighting a rocket ship. I’m sure the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons is inside right now making sarcastic remarks at the customers!

Science Fiction Bokhandeln, Gamla Stan, Stockholm.
Science Fiction Bokhandeln, Gamla Stan, Stockholm.
German Church (Tyska Kyrkan) in Gamla Stan
The famous German Church (Tyska Kyrkan) in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Very hard to get a decent picture of it because it is surrounded by narrow alleys and tall buildings
German Church in Gamla Stan.
Entrance to the famous German Church in Gamla Stan.
German Church (Tyska Kyrkan) in Gamla Stan
View of the German Church from the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan.
The Nobel Museum, Stockholm
The Nobel Museum, dedicated to Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes.
Monument to King Gustav III
Monument to King Gustav III – one of the Enlightened Despots of the 18th century.
The Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
The Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Royal Castle in Gamla Stan
Swedish Army, patrolling the grounds of the Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Swedish Army, in PERIOD COSTUME(?) patrolling the grounds of the Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Inside the grounds of the Royal Castle in Gamla Stan.
Royal Castle in Gamla Stan
Entrance to the Royal Castle in Gamla Stan. Slightly spoiled by all the renovation work they’re doing at the moment.
National Museum of Sweden
National Museum of Sweden – which is basically a gallery featuring artwork by the most famous artists of all time. Shame I didn’t have time to go inside and explore it properly.
Birdlife on Lake Mälaren
Water fowl, standing on sheets of broken ice. The weather is finally starting to warm up.
Harbour area, Gamla Stan, Stockholm.
Harbour area, Gamla Stan, Stockholm.
Harbour area, Gamla Stan.
Panorama of the Harbour area in Gamla Stan.
Cobbled streets of Stockholm.
Cobbled streets of the old town in Stockholm.
Stockholm Central Mosque.
Stockholm Central Mosque.
Prayer Hall of Stockholm Central Mosque.
Prayer Hall of Stockholm Central Mosque.
Islamic Relief ATM, Stockholm central mosque
They have an Islamic Relief ATM inside the Mosque – except it doesn’t pay out, it only deducts donations from your account.
Al Madinah Curry House
Al Madina Curry House… which doesn’t serve any curry whatsoever!! Just Lebanese food served by North Africans.
Al Madinah Curry House
Inside the Al Madina Curry House. As you can see, it is very popular! 😛

Karlstad

The largest city of the Varmland region, Karlstad was founded in 1594 by King Karl IX, it’s a relatively quiet conurbation of less than 60,000 people. And I can understand why because, while it is very well developed and lacks for nothing, when I visited the temperature hit -20 degrees celsius. (That’s MINUS FOUR fahrenheit for you Americans.) At that temperature, it’s genuinely painful to breathe, because the air coming into your lungs is so much colder than your body temperature it’s like swallowing an ice lolly every time you inhale!

train to Karlstad
Heading west from Stockholm, on the train to Karlstad.
train to Karlstad
Heading west from Stockholm, on the train to Karlstad.
Karlstad train station
Arrived in Karlstad – it’s even colder than Stockholm!!
Varmland Museum in Karlstad
The Varmland Museum in Karlstad.
Varmland Museum, Karlstad
Wood sculpture, in the grounds of the Varmland Museum.
Varmland Museum in Karlstad
Varmland Museum in Karlstad.
Karlstad Park
Karlstad Park
Karlstad Park
Karlstad Park
Karlstad Park
Karlstad Park
River Klarälven, Karlstad
The frozen River Klarälven. Running through the heart of the city.
River Klarälven, Karlstad
The frozen River Klarälven. Running through the heart of the city.
River Klarälven, Karlstad
The frozen River Klarälven. Running through the heart of the city.
The Bishops Arms, Karlstad
The Bishops Arms – British Theme Pub in a frozen Scandinavian city.
The Bishops Arms, Karlstad
The Bishops Arms – British Theme Pub in Karlstad.
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