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Trip Report Christmas in Stockholm

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Four of us went to Stockholm from 21 – 30 December: my sister and her daughter, my DD and myself. The daughters are twenty-somethings. It was a great, great trip. I am glad that we just did it, in spite of the fact that it was c-o-l-d.

This is not a comprehensive TR. I just want to leave some info – and my impressions - for other travellers who are struggling to find info on Stockholm in winter. I found that most websites, even guidebooks, write as if it is perpetually summer there.

THE WEATHER
We had (for me) rough weather, down to -11 degrees, sometimes windy, some snow. One day the weather report said: ‘Minimum: -8. Maximum: -8’. We took screen shots and gleefully sent it to the family in summery South Africa.
In spite of this we had a good time. Somebody said that it is not that the place is too cold or too wet - it is just that you are not appropriately dressed. This is mainly true. You can be snug in your good jacket, but your face will still feel frozen after a while. This leaves you no choice, you just have to sit for a while in a warm restaurant and drink lovely creamy steamy hot chocolate.
We had glorious, quiet days with the sun shining on the snowy landscape, skaters passing on the frozen lake, children playing on the ice. For me this was an amazing experience. There was a 35C difference between where I live and Stockholm. I found the sudden change in temperature exhilarating.
Will I go again in winter? Yes, absolutely. I also think Sweden will be very beautiful in summer, but I am not sorry about going in winter.

CHRISTMAS MARKETS
I was disappointed. My only other experience was last year in Prague, where the markets were huge, really pretty, selling cinnamony chimney cakes, going on until New Years. We arrived this year in Stockholm on the 21st and that same late afternoon I dragged my poor tired family to the marked in Gamla Stan. It was the last day of the market, and many stalls were already abandoned. Not many Christmas lights, no food, nothing interesting. I do not know what it looked like the week before, but what we saw was not worth it.

CHRISTMAS IN STOCKHOLM
I loved the simple Christmas decorations in almost every window. Where we stayed we could see the balconies of apartment buildings, and each and every one of them had small lights, stars … very pretty with the background of snow. One evening I stood in front of what looked like a four story office block. In every window was a lighted ‘candle bridge’. I do not have the skill or the camera to take a good photo of this, but the memory stays.

One of the joys of Stockholm in winter, is that not too many other people join you there. The old streets of Gamla Stan were restfully quiet. I have seen pictures of the same streets teeming with people in summer. Of course there were tourists, but nothing was crowded.

Take note that you should not try to buy anything in a grocery store after noon on the 24th.

On Christmas morning it was snowing. For us, who come from an area where it never snows, it was very special. We moved from window to window until DD declared that it was definitely snowing more on her side of the building.

To be continued ...

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