Originally I was heading out to Skokloster today. But, on investigating the buses, it turned out there is only one every two hours on a Saturday. But, during the week, there’s far more of them. With that in mind, I decided to visit Norrtälje instead and leave Skokloster for Monday.
It’s another area that Mirinda is interested in and it’s a lot easier to get to on a Saturday, particularly from the apartment. One T-bana line then a bus. Easy.
My first impression of the trip was that the bus was very comfortable, which is good given it takes an hour. It’s more like a coach, although it’s still part of SL so just a card touch. It even intersects with bus line 4 at Ostra Station. This is important, given Mirinda doesn’t like being underground.
The journey was excellent. It reminded me a lot of the trip into Gullmarsplan from Vendelsö, though, obviously longer. Mind you, there was one moment of high drama when a couple of guys with a stroller, small baby and even smaller dog, had to negotiate with an old lady and her wheelie walker, but otherwise, it was uneventful.
My first impressions of Norrtälje, however, were not as good. From the bus station, I walked out to what I thought was the main road. Then went in search of the centrum. I did find a nice looking park by a river where a rune stone stood proud.
This is the Brodds Stone. It is a reconstruction of a rune stone which was spotted at the river’s edge in 1635 by Johannes H. Rhezelius. Not having a camera, he drew an accurate picture of it. This was a good thing because, the next time he visited, it had gone. Not all of it. There was a fragment left. Anyway, fast-forward to 2003, and this reconstruction was made using the 1635 drawing. You can read about it here. The original stone was erected sometime in the 11th century.
That’s all well and good, but the trouble was, the park seemed to be exclusively for the use of old men. It looked like an old men convention. Or else all the old ladies had left their men in the park while they shopped. No-one invited me to join them, so I kept walking until I found the ICA. I thought this would indicate the town centre. I was wrong.
I then spotted the two guys with the stroller, the small baby and the even smaller dog, from the bus. They were heading down hill so, guessing they knew what they were doing, I followed them. And then I found where the real town begins. Sort of. It actually has a few starting points, I discovered later.
The first place I found was the Café Hornan, where the lovely lady made me a latte with hazelnut syrup even though it was meant for cold coffee. Which was odd.
“That’s for cold coffee,” she said. “But I can put it in hot if you like.“
There was also a bit of confusion because she thought I’d asked for three lattes. I didn’t realise until she’d made them. Fortunately, the next guy in line took them. As I said to the lovely lady, I could drink two but three was going to be a struggle. Fortunately, she didn’t put syrup in the other two.
As I left the café and continued on down the hill, I realised I’d only seen one part of the place. Norrtälje has a lot of little, pretty streets, with lots of pretty shops. I’m sure that 400 years ago, when King Gustav II Adolf founded the place, he didn’t have any idea of what a good ice cream could be like. Well, I can vouch for the ones at Loren Jin’s, though the guy serving could have been a bit more cheerful.
I knew there was water somewhere so I kept following the crowds (the two guys with the stroller etc had long gone) until I found it. As I drew nearer the crowd thickened. Voices rang out from amplifiers, either singing or speaking or announcing forthcoming dance demonstrations. It was total party time. All to celebrate 400 years of being a place.
Apparently, following the Thirty Years War, King Gustav II Adolph was feeling generous and decided to name a few towns. Norrtälje was one of them*. That was in 1620. Unfortunately, the Russians burnt most of it down during the Great Pillage of 1719-22, so it was rebuilt. Like they did in Dalarö. Seriously, why did they have to burn it all down? Kill the people, sure, I can understand that, but why burn everything? That seems very counterproductive.
Anyway, that’s what they did, so the place was rebuilt. And it has managed to survive, until today, at least. Which is very good because the party was in full swing. Unlike a certain big boat he had built.
Back in 2022, there were families everywhere, some on foot, some on wheels and some in little trains transporting them back and forth almost constantly. Everywhere there were smiling little faces as parents tried to enjoy it as much.
Given the massive numbers, I figured it would be a good idea to get back to Stockholm before the hordes decided to fill the buses. It also occurred to me that the time was ticking towards the Systembolaget closing time and, of course, there’s no booze to buy on a Sunday. I had to get back before 3pm.
I walked back to the bus station a different way. There were some gorgeous properties along the river, including one with a rather possessive poodle barking at everything that passed by on the opposite bank. It was in the garden next to the yellow house in this photo.
So I caught the next bus back to Stockholm after an excellent expedition. I think we’d be happy living near Norrtälje.
Fortunately, I managed to reach Stockholm in time to buy some booze from the Systembolaget near the T-Bana station and, happily, headed back to the apartment, hands full and heart light.
* Originally there were two places called Tälje so, to differentiate them, smart king Gustav called one North and the other South. See what a clever old king he was? Just not so much with boats.