After crossing over to Sweden on the ferry. We spent the night in Gothenburg. Out visit to Gothenburg was very short, but I was delighted in what I saw of my first Swedish city. It was easy to walk around everywhere, it had wide boulevards like Paris. Tree lined streets with shops, restaurants and cafes everywhere. The residents were all out on a warm evening for them, and you could see how alive this city is. Everyone was out and about and tons of people were wearing football (soccer) colors of Gothenburg, as their team was playing at home and the city was really into it! They go all out! Out hotel was a good 8-10 blocks from the stadium, and you can hear the crowds cheering & signing from our hotel!! It really made you feel like you were part of something exciting! I cannot comment on what the city has to offer for tourists as we did not get a chance to do much. There was this beautiful park with a river running through it we really wanted to walk in and enjoy, but by the time we got settled in, we realized the park had closed for the evening. Would I return to Gothenburg? I don’t know.
Stockholm quickly impressed me and has become one of my favorite cities in the world. It has so much to offer the visitor. The old town is very interesting to explore, and the city is made up of several islands. With all the islands being connected by either bridge or boat service. The oldest island in the city has been completely abandoned and no one even lives there anymore, yet the architecture and old world feel this island has is wonderful. It is frequently used to film tv shows and movies such as The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. The palaces and museums on Gamla Stan are very impressive and again Sweden has a Monarchy. The modern heart of the city is located on the northern islands of Kungsholmen and Norrmalm. This is were the best shopping and dining can be found and would most likely where a tourist would stay. The southern island of Sodermalm is where the cruise port is and is actually the island that the locals prefer the most. A visit to the island of Skansen is a must for visitors. Located here is the amazing Vasa Museum, home of the world’s only fully recovered and restored 17th century tall ship. I spent hours here unexpectedly and loved it. Also found on the same island is the cheeky ABBA Museum, and Stockholm’s version of Tivoli Gardens, ‘Grona Lund’. It is actually bigger and better than Tivoli. We jumped around the city’s islands by purchasing a boat pass for the day, which cost us about $20.00 per person, and gave us a chance to see the city from the water from everywhere. It really made for an enjoyable day out and about as we ditched the Globus group for the day. I fully intend on returning to Stockholm again one of these years to give this wonderful city and time it deserves.
My comments on the hotels.
First Hotel G, Gothenburg: A very hip and stylish Swedish hotel. Located next to and connected to the Gothenburg main station. Giving clients easy access to lots of shops and dining venues without even going outside. Just outside the hotel is one of the city’s main squares and main canal is just off that square. I would call this hotel design smart or design hip. Being right in the heart of the historic center of the city and easily able to walk everywhere in Gothenburg.
Radisson Blu, Stockholm: Another Radisson Blu, this one in the heart of everything. Across the street from the main train station of Stockholm and just off Stockholm’s waterfront area and overlooking the City Hall, which is a popular tourist sight to visit. We were easily able to walk in just minutes into the heart of Stockholm’s main shopping districts and city center streets. It is really in an excellent location. Also, of note, Viking was using the same hotel for it’s ocean cruise passengers. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel for clients visiting Stockholm for business or leisure.
Clarion Collection Hotel Plaza, Karlstad: I’m not too pleased with this choice of hotel.
If we were staying for more than just the 1 night, I do not think I would be very accepting of this hotel. The rooms are very small, tight, we could barely fit our luggage in the room and still walk around the bed. Some guest on the tour complained of this hotel being dirty or in need of reno. I did not see this in our room, but can believe it. It’s rated a 4 star, but I would personally rate this 3 star and would look elsewhere for clients visiting Karlstad.