Celebrating the best bits and bobs to be found while exploring Britain, Ireland and beyond. Much is inspired by real outings, whether they were walking, cycling or photographic in nature, while virtual blundering in the name of planning them has turned up some gems too. Regardless of how they were found, I hope that they keep coming so I can continue to share new things with you.
July 2010 saw my being sent off to Södertälje in Sweden on a business trip. Because of the nature of the errand, I wasn't hoping for very much in the way of sightseeing because previous such trips had offered none at all. However, I got to doing some exploring in the evenings following some busy working days. In a way, it was fortunate that, for all but one day, hot sunny weather was the main offer. What surprised me further was how strong the sun felt and how the heat of the day persisted until late into the evening time. The climate is more continental than maritime in nature so this was an education.
As it happened, Monday evening saw me wandering around Södertälje itself with much of my strolling taking me towards Södertäljeviken and Lake Mälaren, the third largest lake in Sweden. While I cannot lay claim to having undertaken a long walk that gained me views over the lake's wider expanses, subsequent inspections of maps revealed that I may have reached part of its southern reaches. My never being far from civilisation meant that there were others out enjoying the evening like I was but there were quieter stretches too; some of these followed gravel paths that passed through woodland. Looking over maps now shows just how much green space is to be found around Södertälje and it softens the profile even of any pleasing architecture that is to be found there.
The other major opportunity that came my way was an excursion on Wednesday to Stockholm. A return journey by train from Södertälje Centrum station was all that was needed to get me into the heart of the Swedish capital, to Stockholm Central station. Once there, what was needed was an escape from butchery done by road construction to get to the shore where I found the Town Hall, a very square yet church-like structure with its high tower. Apparently, you can climb it to get an overview of the city's islands. My plan was to stay low and see a bit of the old town (Gamla Stan, in Swedish) where the Royal Palace and the Rikstag (Swedish Parliament) can be found. Both continue the big rectangular architectural theme. There may be boat tours of the city too but they seem to be daytime affairs so I was content to stay on foot and see what I'd find using the free maps picked up at Central station; none of the shops there were selling any, a situation very unlike what you'd find in the Britain or Ireland. Apart from the major landmarks, there were many other pleasing sights with lofty buildings lining impossibly narrow streets, some teeming with eateries offering alfresco dining.
What the unexpected delights of two sunny evenings proved was the value of a return trip, especially given that photos were made with a Canon PowerShot G11 compact camera and not a DSLR, which is what I normally would use. That has meant that a repeat visit remained a possibility and the chance fell to me during August 2017 for a longer stay, this time for leisure. Most of the time, I pottered around Stockholm's city centre and its greener areas but there was an out and back boat trip to Drottningen Palace as well as a day trip to Göteborg (Gothenburg) and a long walk from Tyresta National Park back to Stockholm's outskirts. Many photos were taken on an SLR that surely must complement a growing collection of Swedish photo books from publishers like Bokförlaget Max Ström. Though I got to gain more from my latest escapade, there may be more yet since there are wilder spots to explore around Sweden.