Off the beaten path in Stockholm: the city’s best urban island
Amid a sea of Swedes watching the World Cup quarterfinal match, my friend Francine jumped up and down, cheering wildly when England scored the winning goal against Sweden. Disappointed locals — many wearing yellow Sweden jerseys, some with the national flag painted on their faces — watched her silently. Some seemed amused. Or curious.
So much for blending into the crowd.
We were in Stockholm’s Södermalm district, decidedly off the beaten tourist track, yet we were exposed as outsiders. Francine and her husband, Russ, are from London; my husband, Dirck, and I are from Des Moines. No one appeared to mind. Some even shook Francine’s hand and offered congratulations. One requested a photo with her.
Swedes, we learned that July day at a packed Södermalm bar, are tolerant, polite, avid fans and good sports.
For our first visit to Stockholm, we stayed in Södermalm primarily because it is not a major tourist hot spot. When I travel, I’m often torn between visiting the must-see sights and hanging out in real neighborhoods that offer glimpses of how life is lived. Södermalm, also known as “Söder,” proved to be a great home base to do both.