The main central body of water in Stockholm, where the fresh-water and the salt-water meet is called Lake Mälaren. In the summer, it provides a gorgeous environment where people can go for a lunch-time or after-work swim literally metres from their office. For much of the winter it’s frozen over, and it’s not uncommon to see people ski-ing, ice-skating, or walking across the frozen lake from one side of the city to the other. Right now it’s a combination of the two.
This afternoon I went on a lovely long walk with Sandra Carpenter, an American woman (married to an Australian) who has been living here for several years. We first met three years ago through our mutual blogs, and we’ve continued to comment on each other’s blogs ever since, and we’ve met on a couple of occasions previously, both here in Stockholm and back in Sydney. She and Robert are very lovely people, with similar passions to my own for travel and food.
Thus, it was lovely to wake up this morning (my first proper sleep-in) and to see an email from her, asking if I’d like to join her for an afternoon walk. Of course I said yes.
But where to walk? We toyed with the pros and cons of several routes, but in the end chose a route from Slussen to Västerbron (the west bridge) and then, via Stadshuset (the town hall) returning right back to Slussen. In all, we agreed, it was about two or three kilometres, broken up with a brief stop for a Hot Chocolate, a Coke Zero, and some Hot Chocolate. As is the style in Stockholm at this time of the year, we enjoyed our break seated outdoors, but with a blanket over our knees.
And we certainly needed that, because there were times when we both thought we might freeze to death. In particular, the walk across Västerbron, which seemed like a good idea (great views), was characterized by icy-cold strong winds. “I knew I should have worn the hood on my jacket today”, I told Sandra half way across the bridge.
But the cold weather (it was minus three) didn’t seem to deter many. As we walked around the lake, there were hundreds, maybe thousands of people doing the same thing. Despite the cold, the warmth from the sun on a Sunday afternoon was obviously more than enough attraction to get the people of Stockholm out of the house after what’s been a particularly grey winter (apparently) and to enjoy a wonderful promenade in a beautiful city.
And did I mention we walked on the ice? :)