Stockholm, the "Venice of the North," is a spectacular city of 14 islands filled with architectural, cultural and culinary riches. It deserves a place on every traveler's wish list. I fell under the spell of the Town as a graduate student in theater design (a seriously misguided notion) when I traveled to Sweden to do independent study in scene painting. It was a very loosely organized educational plan to put it mildly, and in fact, no studies were ever completed. But Stockholm was an education in itself. It was my first European city and love at first sight.


I arrived at Midsummer, when daylight stretches to 18 hours and the sky never truly becomes night. The beauty of the city, the people and the landscape were breathtaking; the museums vast and splendid; the Old Town like a fairy tale come to life. I spent no more than 6 weeks that first stay in Stockholm, and visited but a half dozen more, but I experienced it in all seasons, from the blue hours of summer to the melancholy winter dark. Eventually, I settled in southern Sweden in the city of Malmö, which undoubtedly added to the capital city’s luster.


Back in the US many years later, exploring the history of "the Town" in the process of writing The Stockholm Octavo only enhanced my first impressions. The portrayal of Stockholm in my novel reflects that first love: heightened, mythical, and with complete disregard for some of the facts.





A view down Gray Friars Alley toward Riddarholm — Knights' Isle.

The tower of Jakob's Church

These beautiful, moody photos of Stockholm are used by permission

of J. A. Alcaide. To see more of his work, visit his Flickr stream here. 

The octagonal vaults in the ceiling of the Great Church.

Katarina Church.