July 5-7, 2013
On a bright summer day Stockholm sparkles. The capital city, a series of islands connected by bridges and ferries, feels almost more water than land.
On a day like this it’s a joy to wander the streets of the historic Gamla Stan even with the mass of tourists crowding the iconic Stortorget (you know the square, the one with the pretty row of brightly colored facades) or the Västerlanggatan shopping street. One side step off the beaten path, though, and the crowd magically diminishes.
Cross any of the bridges north of Gamla Stan and you leave this medieval world of narrow cobbled streets and quaint architecture and enter a commercial zone of 20th century buildings that make up Stockholm’s modern city center. The contrast is remarkable, a testament to both the city’s long history and current economic status.
The Rick Steves guide book gives walking tours of both areas.