We are off to enjoy coffee and something sweet to round off our snack in style. As chance would have it, Daniela’s favourite café is only a stone’s throw away. At Berns you can get Sweets for the Sweets served with wonderful coffee. We are struck by the mixed clientele here. ‘Berns attracts all sorts, from cool rappers to grannies with their knitting: everyone feels at home here,’ Daniela points out. ‘What Berns offers is just as wide-ranging as its customers – it’s a hotel, conference centre, restaurant, café and night club all in one.’ Wherever we go we are met with a friendly welcome, which gets noticeably warmer when Daniela starts to speak. ‘Maybe that’s because I have a slight German accent,’ she suggests. ‘It reminds the Swedes of their queen.’ Daniela raises her eyebrows and grins mischievously.
Anyone wishing to discover the rich wealth of Swedish specialities should definitely check out Östermalms Saluhall. The market hall stands out from the street corner with its brilliant red brick façade almost as if it had sprung from a story by Astrid Lindgrens. The unique charm of antique stalls here has been captivating people since the 1880s. The breathtaking range of produce on offer includes fruit and vegetables, exotic delights, all sorts of fresh fish, elk meat, reindeer salami, gourmet products and coffees.
An absolute must: a boat trip to the islands
Stockholm is surrounded by the sea, and the cityscape is characterized by bays, spits of land and countless islands – its archipelago. There are said to be 24,000 islands around here. We wonder who could possibly have counted them all. We step aboard one of the many hop-on hop-off boats and take the weight off our feet for a little. Water taxis and ferries are the perfect means of transport for traffic-free island-hopping. They are highly appreciated by locals and tourists alike. Daniela points out an old three-master at anchor by the quayside: ‘Look, the Af Chapman. It contains what must be the most beautiful youth hostel in Stockholm, with a unique view of the old city centre. On hot sunny days you can get the best caipirinhas in the northern hemisphere there.’ We decide to verify this statement next day.
We are impressed by the large number of parks all over the city, inviting green spaces in which to rest if suffering from a lack of energy or go for a run if suffering from a surplus. ‘The most popular local recreation area is in the east of the city,’ says Daniela by way of introducing our next stop. ‘Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. There are buildings and farms from all over Sweden here to whisk visitors away on a journey through history. You meet people in period costume who are reviving traditional crafts and are pleased to explain them if you’re interested.’