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Surrounded by water and wilderness, and cocooned in darkness by the Scandinavian winter, Stockholm emerges from hibernation in the summer months for a brief but glorious celebration of light.
Built over a series of 14 islands and linked together by more than 50 bridges, for most of the year the Swedish capital sits in dusky isolation by the Baltic.
Come late spring, though, the city blooms. The streets fill with stylish Scandinavians as Stockholm's beautiful ones surface to drink and dance into the small hours.
Impromptu all-night parties bring hordes of revelers who carouse around the clock against the city's neat architecture, as the orderly living for which Swedes are renowned is put aside.
Midsummer mania grips Stockholm, its love of light mirrored in the city's glass sculptures, airy galleries and gleaming bars. The city's 1.5 million inhabitants bask in the reflected glory of day-round sunshine and when they tire of the city, island-hopping hedonists set out in search of secluded beaches dotted with sweet-smelling pines.
Then, too soon, the lightness is over, and this city of extremes returns to sleep.
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