Taking public transportation in foreign cities can be a little scary. Trying to find your way around in another language, a little directionless in underground tunnels, or unfamiliar with different turns the roads may take, may make this seem difficult for sure. I was happy that basically all the public transportation we found in Scandinavia was hassle-free. One thing that really made the whole experience even more pleasant was constantly finding really cool stations once you get to your next stop.
Art can definitely lighten a mood or brighten a day, but I think I enjoyed the constant surprise of finding something new and beautiful at the end of the ride. It was like an egg hunt in the spring, and I just wanted to find more brightly colored eggs.
The stations ranged in size of the work, some were rotating and had various artists, while others were done to remain. I think there’s something great about when a city celebrates their creative community.
Stockholm had a really efficient system, taking you where ever you needed to be. Armanda airport was probably the furthest station from the city, so we took the Arlanda Express train. This train looks like something out of Mad Men, with a sleek mid century modern feel. The seats were spacious, the ride was quiet, and we had multiple outlets at our seat to charge all the different devices.
Central station is in the center of the city and was our first stop from the Arlanda Express. We were able to transfer to another train to take us to our boat hostel there. We were a little confused here only because of the amount of trains that come into this station. The tunnels here were lined with colorful glass tile.
Stussen was the station closest to the old town Stockholm, Gamla Stan. This was our home base station, also closest to the boat hostel. Although at the time, they had construction to make improvements to it, there are ways to transfer from this station to some of the boat ferries that transport around the waterways, fjords, and channels there. We were able to catch really great artwork hung and printed by the group #pensforfreedom which depicts how the world saw the US presidential election and Donald Trump. Spoiler: they were not in his favor. As we went into the tunnels, we were able to see more work.
Östermalmstorg is the station in the neighborhood of Östermalm, and has a great installation by Siri Derkert and for women’s rights, world peace, and the green movement.
You need to look up at the Hötorget station, at the center of the city, as the art is the light installation on the ceiling.
Kungsträdgården was probably the most impressive with two very different and very large installations. One ran under the park and was colorful with a large statue as you enter. The other was an area painted in blues and whites, like a pretty piece of porcelain pottery. As you made your way through that tunnel, they actually had something up for you to read about the Stockholm’s history in making their subway system, which was a nice bonus when you are just standing on the people mover.
There were other stations all over that have great art, Visit Stockholm put together a list of their best if you wanted to explore yourself. We also came across a lot of ads for Gry and Anders and even more for Pressbyrån’s candy selection… which made us totally go out to get candy.
We ended up buying a SL Travelcard there that gave us unlimited rides around town for the time that we were there. The card can be used on all public transportation, not just the subways so it made it easy to get around to all the places we wanted to see. Because it included things like trams, buses, and ferries, it was actually pretty cost effective. Evie got to ride for free basically everywhere in Scandinavia, most subways don’t charge for kids up to a certain age and also give discounts to other underage persons.