European Vacation: Stockholm Sweden
I am back and I had the most amazing time during my European vacation! The first stop on my trip was Stockholm, Sweden. Have you been? It was my first time and I absolutely fell in love with that city. It was magnificent. I was a little worried because I was going during the "off" season and everyone said it was going to be rainy and cold and have only an hour of sunlight. All of which is kind of true (they have more than an hour of sunlight...for now at least) but the weather was perfect fall like weather. Little rainy, a little blustery - but in Stockholm it didn't bother me a bit for some reason. I kind of loved that it was wintry so I could pull out my never used winter clothes. Plus the fall colors were out in full force. The main reason I went to Stockholm was to meet my godson, Nils. Nils belongs to Jessica - one of my dearest friends from college. She is from Sweden and moved back a couple years ago. Acting on my godmotherly duty I felt like I needed to meet this little Swede before he grew up and didn't benefit from all my godmotherly wisdom.
My time in Stockholm was the perfect combination of playing tourist and getting the insider scoop from a local. Nils and Jessica would join me part of the day and the rest of the day I would wander around and take in Stockholm. The city is not that big -I must have walked the whole thing a couple times (or at least it felt that way). I took off last Monday and flew from SF to Frankfurt which although it not the longest flight I have ever been on, I am always amazed that planes can stay in the air for 10 hours. After Frankfurt I hoped a flight to Stockholm. Jess and Nils picked me up from the airport and that afternoon we wandered around the city for a bit. The bummer about living across the world from each other is that it takes forever to get there. I left SF around 2pm on Monday and didn't arrive in Stockholm until 12:30 the next day. One day of your life just disappears somewhere over the Atlantic when you are travelling to Europe.
Since I was traveling solo on this trip my trick is hoping on a Hop on - Hop off bus tour. I know it sounds cheesy and touristy and it is, but it the best way to understand a city. It gives you the lay of the land so you can pick and choose what to explore. Especially since I am truly awful with maps (like can't read them awful, that is Luke's job) I find that this helps me not get lost.
So Wednesday morning I hoped on one of those buses and saw the city and fell in love with it. It is beautiful! I am not sure how to describe why I loved it but it has the most amazing colors, you can feel the history in the streets and in the buildings and it is literally a city made up of a couple of different islands so everything seems to be surrounded by water.
After my tour I met up with Jess and Nils at this trendy restaurant called Oaxen. The food and the aesthetic were fantastic and so perfectly Swedish. Nils was on his best behavior. After lunch we dropped by the ABBA Museum next door and this happened: For those that don't know, I love disco music. I mean love it. Which automatically means I love ABBA. This picture makes me very happy.
The day ended with me wandering around and hitting the Ice Bar. It is literally a bar that is made of ice. Everything is made of ice. The bar, the seats, the walls, even the drink glasses. To keep this all frozen they keep the bar at freezing temperatures so you have to wear your full winter clothes inside including a huge poncho hoody thing you borrow from the bar so you don't freeze. Thankfully the drinks are small since I only lasted about 5 minutes in there because I was so cold. But it was a pretty tasty cocktail/shot. Mango, chili infused simple syrup and vodka. I am pretty sure that is the exact drink the Vikings used to drink when they ruled Stockholm. The next day, I continued to wander and met Jess at this amazing restaurant, Clas På Hörnet for authentic Swedish meatballs. Clas På Hörnet (which means Claus on the Corner) has been there forever, like sine 1731 - serving traditional Swedish fare. So they know their Swedish food. These meatballs were incredible. Tasty meatballs, smothered in a hearty gravy with mashed potatoes. Heavenly. I am going to have to try to make this one of these days. In addition to the Swedish meatballs, I also got a chance to eat Swedish cinnamon buns until my heart's content (literally I think I had about 10 of them). Those are also on my list to make at home as well. This one was delicious - made with saffron which creates that yellow color. Supposedly my ancestors are Swedish. Maybe. No one really seems to know for sure, so I was on the hunt to meet another Frederickson while I was in Sweden. I found this one, but spelled a little different. I will say that this might be the only country where I blend in. Everyone has blonde hair. Seriously. I felt like I could have and may have been related to everyone that passed me on the street. Sadly I didn't meet another real life Swedish Frederickson so the hunt continues.
After lunch I stopped by two amazing museums, the first the Vasa Museum which is a museum with a Swedish war ship that was built in 1628 in it. The ship, the Vasa, which sank in the Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage is incredible and huge. Check out the pictures on their site. They don't even do it justice. The ship which sat on the ocean floor for over 333 years and was pulled up in 1961 and the whole thing is now on exhibition. They were able to salvage over 95% of it. Amazing. I know I am a history dork, but seriously it was really really interesting.
After the Vasa Museum I headed over to the Fotografiska Museum - which is incredible photography museum. I was introduced to the photographer Pieter Huge and his incredible images. Check these out. There are no words for how crazy these pictures are. The rest of the museum was really interesting but being introduced to Pieter Hugo was the highlight.
Sadly I only got 3 days in Stockholm but I think I packed in a weeks worth of sight-seeing. I think one of the things I loved most about Stockholm were the amazing colors - many of the houses were this amazing yellow or red. Everything seemed perfectly color coordinated with each other. The fall leaves were even playing along. The sun went down around 4 in the afternoon so a lot of my wandering was spent in the dark - but it was the perfect moody backdrop for an amazing historic city. Till next time Stockholm!
Stay tuned - my trip to London will be on the blog tomorrow.