Today's flâneurie took me to Södra Mälarstrand and the island of Långholmen. I didn't plan it beyond looking at a map and stating that Långholmen, once upon a time famous for its prison, has vast green areas and marked paths. I had never been there before. I cannot help contemplating how strange it is that I have lived in this city for more than twenty-five years all in all, but never discovered its walking potential. I was a passionate walker before I came to Sweden. Then I guess I became a passionate driver. But I keep thinking how much my father would have enjoyed all these walks. Let's say I dedicate my walking to his memory.
I started by walking downhill, then uphill, then climbed some steps and came to the second-best view of Stockholm after Fjällgatan - Bastugatan, on the opposite side of Slussen. Few tourists come here.
Then I took a long flight of steps all the way down to Södra Mälarstrand, South Embankment of Mälaren, which is the lake where most of Stockholm is built. The salt sea is on the other side of Slussen. (Slussen means The Lock).
On the way, I discovered another literary sign. I wasn't looking for it, but the name of the street halfway down rang a bell.
A more interesting sign is a street name on a rock, at the bottom of the steps. It did help me find my way back.
When I came down to the embankment, the views were wonderful. I have of course driven this way many times, but when you are driving you are not enjoying the views. Here is the City Hall across the water.
North Embankment, Norra Mälarstrand.
Children's nursery rhyme:
Vi lossar sand
på Norra Mälarstrand... (or maybe Södra)
Some of the boats along the embankment are hotels and restaurants.
Others are historical ships, with signs explaining when they were built and what purpose they served.
Yet others seem to be inhabited, with garden furniture and flowers on decks. It may look romantic, but I know I would be seasick all the time.
Then I crossed a narrow bridge, and I could just as well have been transported to a different world. You cannot tell that you are right in the middle of a large city.
The map was right: there are vast green areas on Långholmen, not just the former prison, now turned into a hotel and conference centre.
On the second bridge I found another literary sign. I don't know this author, and the sign is not on the list I am so far working through, so I am indebted to a friend who shared it.
Again: right in the middle of the city.
They say abundant rowan promises cold winter.
The path along the shore went up and down, taking me to rock tops that offered stunning views, then down to the brink of the water. At the farthest point of the island I sat for a long time listening. The high rises and the bridge far away were the only reminders that I wasn't at the end of the world. One good thing about walking solo is that you can sit down and stay as long as you wish in a place that appeals to you.
Then I walked on the other side of the island, and soon there was the City Hall again.
I didn't have my Runkeeper on, but I estimate about 10 km, up and downhill and up and down many steps. I returned the same way, enjoying the embankment with its views once more.
I had ice cream for lunch.