Eskilstuna: A Brief Stop in Industrial Sweden

A year ago, I went to Sweden and got to explore a few different places.  Part of the visit was drive into the countryside (starting and ending in Stockholm while circling Lake Mälaren) with the only planned stop on the way back was Uppsala, a charming college town not far from Stockholm.  But around lunchtime as we drove west of Stockholm on the E-20 highway, we decided to jump off the highway and find a place to eat in what seemed a large town in the area:  Eskilstuna.

I will be the first to admit that I had never heard of this town.  Not surprisingly for a non-Swede, I suppose.  It has over 65,000 inhabitants (so larger by 2.5 times than Andorra’s capital which I recently visited!).  The history of the town takes it back when an English monk named Eskil made the existing tiny town his home.  It felt a very industrial town but it was not dirty.  We passed a Volvo plant of some sort in getting there.

Its main square was pretty and very spacious but, at the time, I did not see any “café” life.

Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige

The main square of Eskilstuna

Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige

Looking out onto the square

However, we did find a great pizza shop (Redfellas)  on the main square after exploring first the pedestrian shopping street in the heart of the town.  Not a quaint or charming street, just a regular shopping street.  I could see Redfellas being very lively at night given its spaciousness and decor; sadly, I was not staying intown overnight.

Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige

The old building where Redfellas is located

Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige

At Redfellas

The town’s church, Klosters Kyrka, dating from the 1920s, certainly looked a little different than the ones I am used to and that made it interesting but we skipped checking it out as we were wanting to keep moving on our day trip.

Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige

Looking towards Klosters Kyrka (Church)

Eskilstuna may not be a tourist destination but it was an opportunity to see beyond the well-trodden places in Sweden and peek at a “non-descript” (pardon me, Eskilstunians!) town.


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Eskilstuna, Södermanland County, Sweden, Sverige


 

 

Stockholm: A City One with the Water

It is a cold day at home and, somehow, instead of going for warm, I look at pictures of my cruise in the Baltic.  But, in my defense, it was June there.  Still not tropical weather but my eyes and mind wandered to my pictures of my stop in Stockholm, Sweden.  And what I take away is what a great city it is to enjoy in summer time.  I am sure it’s a great town any time of the year (I said having spent 3 weeks in Helsinki, Finland in the dead of winter many moons ago…).  But in the summer the city is bright and alive.

I guess what I really liked about Stockholm compared to other cities by the water is that the transition from water to land felt more smooth.  It did not feel abrupt with large man-made banks holding in a river (think London) nor city walls holding the sea back (think San Juan or Dubrovnik) nor  being in the water proper (think Venice) nor with development keeping the city from the water (think Miami).  I liked that the sea and city were seamlessly one.  Stockholm, Sweden, architecture, sea, blue sky, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Stockholm, Sweden, architecture, sea, blue sky, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Stockholm, Sweden, architecture, sea, blue sky, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Stockholm, Sweden, architecture, sea, blue sky, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel Stockholm, Sweden, architecture, sea, blue sky, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

The islands around Stockholm

I also liked the many islands right by the city.  I felt I could just skip and hop around endlessly.

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Cruise ship approaching Stockholm passing through many islands

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House on an island around Stockholm – nice spot!

History of that sea – the Vasa Museum

This close relationship with the sea around it is not limited to the landscape or topography.  Stockholm and Sweden’s history is tightly related to the sea around it.  No better place to see this come alive than the amazing Vasa Museum, itself on an island (see what I mean?).  Shaped itself like a modern steel vessel, this well-designed set of exhibits walk you through maritime history and 17th century Sweden, with a great collection of items, all well-labeled.  The Vasa was a ship found in 1960 in the waters around Stockholm which had sunk on its maiden voyage back in 1628 (what is it with ships sinking on the maiden voyage?  think Titanic… I think I will avoid any ship’s maiden voyage just in case…)  The entire ship is not the original (clearly after over 3 centuries over water, this was not to be).  However, they have done a great job so that it is obvious which pieces of the ship you see are part of the reconstruction/reparations and which are original.  The museum also includes actual ships moored next to it.

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