Sunday, February 5, 2012

Exploration -- Gamla Stan

Last weekend we hit up Gamla Stan (Old Town) and we were impressed by the beauty of the 16th century architecture, quaint storefronts, cozy cafes and cobblestone roads.  They block of entire sections of the town so that only pedestrians can enter the roads.  It creates a safe, Disney-like atmosphere.  A few times Jon turned to me and said, "Doesn't it feel like we're at Epcot?"   Thumbs up to Disney for getting it right. Whenever you are in the real place and still yearn for the Disney version, they are doing something amazingly right.

There are narrow alleys all throughout Gamla Stan.  We turned down one that looked like it could be a stand in for Hogwarts.  There was a tunnel like cut through between two streets that gets smaller as you approach the street.  You have to duck down to enter onto the street and step into pure tourist chaos.

Gamla Stan is where you can find all of your "I <3 Sweden" tshirts, reindeer skin rugs, and viking helmets.  Jon was in heaven!  It's also where you can find an American Western store -- complete with a Texas AND Swedish flag.  Fun!
Gamla Stan is about a 20-30 minute walk from our house and you cross over a lot of water.  The walk is absolutely beautiful!

We were just about freezing after spending 2+ hours walking around outside so we decided to warm up with some coffee and semla.  Semla is perhaps the most delicious pastry we've had thus far in Stockholm and this one did not disappoint.  It's a hollowed out bun filled with a fluffy light almond cream with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Delicious! I could eat this and drink coffee every afternoon!  For whatever reason, powdered sugar is guaranteed to uplift your spirits.

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