This weekend a couple friends and I executed our first official weekend trip of the semester and went to Stockholm, Sweden. The city was a magical snow covered wonderland and treated us very well.
Friday was mostly dedicated to travel. The struggle of student budget travel is it’s not always the most efficient but we made it to our destination and that’s what matters most. When we stepped out of the plane onto the tarmac on Friday evening we were greeted with beautiful, fluffy snow in true Scandinavian style. Between the snow and the fact that it was dark by the time we arrived in the city there was not much to do besides check into our hostel and draw up a game plan for the next day.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early to join a free tour of Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, or old town. It is an island of adorable colorful buildings and winding cobblestone streets, some of which date back to the 13th century. The tour was a good way to see a lot of the important landmarks while getting some historic context because I am sad to admit that my Swedish history knowledge is not what it could be.
We were feeling the cold at this point so we ducked into a cafe to enjoy the Swedish tradition of Fika. There is no exact English translation of Fika but it is a daily ritual where Swedes take a break in the day to enjoy coffee and a pastry and spend some time with friends or coworkers. Though I substituted coffee for hot chocolate I can say I really wish Fika was the norm worldwide.
Once we had warmed our toes a bit we headed back out to do some of sightseeing of our own, and to take pictures, lots of pictures. Everywhere we looked there seemed to be more beautiful buildings and beautiful views. The fact that the whole city is made up of islands and thus surrounded by water made it unlike any city I had ever seen. I will say though that I truly felt that pictures do not do the city justice but I did the best I could anyway. And besides that’s only more reason for you all to go visit yourselves!
In our wandering we also came across the Stockholm city hall, known for hosting the banquet for the Nobel prize every year.
After that it was time to visit the museum of all museums, the pinnacle of fine entertainment…the ABBA museum. There is a sign outside the museum that says Walk In, Dance Out and I can certainly see why. Along with having the expected memorabilia, photos and stories there was also lots of different interactive elements from a stage where you can dance and sing along with digital versions of ABBA to karaoke recording booths, and of course there was always great music playing and I can never resist singing and dancing to ABBA. It was definitely a must visit for any ABBA fan.
That night it started to snow again and we decided to enjoy the winter weather instead of run from it and the city became even more magical if possible. Walking through Gamla Stan while it was dark and snowy felt even more like being transported back in time and we ended up stumbling upon an ice skating rink where we enjoyed some warm drinks and people watching. Talk about the ultimate winter scene. Pretty soon though we were struggling to feel our hands so it was time to call it quits for the day.
On Sunday morning we headed to the Stockholm Royal Palace to enjoy room upon extravagant room.
Then once we had our fill there we headed to another of the islands called Södermalm know for having a lot of little shops and restaurants. Sunday was even colder, windier, and icier then the days prior so we stepped very carefully through the streets before deciding that it was time for our daily Fika to combat the cold. Afterwards we found a walking path along the edge of the island where we managed to get some pictures in spite of numb hands.
After some more delicate walking we ended up at Meatballs for the People for dinner to try Swedish meatballs of course. They were delicious and the perfect meal for a cold night. Besides making our way back to our hostel and enjoying a delicious brunch at STHLM Brunch club the next morning before our flight that about rounds out my phenomenal weekend in Stockholm. I really fell in love with the city and hope to return, maybe when there is less snow and ice. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon because this weekend the Scandinavian adventures continue as I am heading to Iceland! With these weekend trips it’s a little more complicated trying to get a schedule figured out for posting about the happenings in Scotland but an update on that front will be forthcoming at some point in the relatively near future. Bye for now!