|To the end of the earth and back|
|A chronicle of a Viking adventure|
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While Gothenburg looks to Europe and the West, Sweden's capital Stockholm looks east towards Sweden's historical trading area, the Baltic. Like Gothenburg, Stockholm is also an archipelago, however the islands of which it is comprised are more numerous and smaller. Consequently, Stockholm has developed a polycentric planning policy, where many areas take on the role of a central business district. The traditional heart of Stockholm is the island of Gamla Stan (Old Town), which forms a barrier between the inland Lake Mälaren and the Saltsjön (Salt Sea) which extends to the Baltic Sea. This combination of strategic marine access and inland shelter gave rise to Stockholm being an important trading outpost for Sweden's ancient capital city, Uppsala, which is about 45 miles (70km) to the north.
The following photos are taken from the south bank of Riddarfjärden (part of Lake Mälaren), on Södermalm island.
Stockholm is reminiscent of New York in places, with wide avenues and boulevards laid out in a grid pattern. Its public trasport system, which is state-controlled, is one of the world's best. Unlike Gothenburg which retained its trams, Stockholm's streetcar network was withdrawn after Sweden's conversion from driving on the left to driving on the right in 1967. However, one historic tram line remains, run by volunteers, linking the City Centre to the Djurgården (Zoo). However, trams which run predominantly on dedicated right of way remain in the suburbs - including a new peripheral line which has some on-street operation - although these are more akin to light rail systems, such as those in Manchester, Sheffield or Nottingham. The centrepiece of Stockholm's public transport system is its underground network (T-Banan or 'tunnel railway'). The blue line is noted as an underground art gallery, as each station is distinctly and attractively decorated.