Europe Vacation 2016: Stockholm

0We arrived in Stockholm to a chill in the air (not because of the people) but because of the weather. Global warming played a trick, not only on us but the iPhone Apple Weather App, and we found ourselves in a very cold Stockholm for the majority of our trip casually layering items in our suitcases to keep warm.

After losing all trust in the weather app, we decided that rather than booking a hop on and hop off boat tour to explore the city and risk booking on a day when it could unexpectedly rain, that we would kill two birds with one stone by going on a run through and past some of Stockholm’s recommended sites. A run from Hornstull past the water in the morning, into Gamla Stan (old town), past the Royal Palace, stopping at The City Hall and running through Rålambshovsparken (a park) saw us experiencing beautiful views of Stockholm across 4 islands in one morning and is definitely an amazing way I would recommend exploring the city.

Stockholm is a city of juxtapositions. An archipelago of 14 islands, this city’s urban landscape which barely has any high-rise buildings, collides with nature in the form of scenic water views, beautiful parks, forests and green islands like Djurgården. It is both modern and tranquil at the same time. Old and new, as the old town of Gamla Stan exists in its pristine old world charm and the new city centre offers the new and modern. Everything is clean, efficient, user centric and feels like what the “design principles” I learnt about in University would feel like, if they were feelings. Form follows function everywhere you look in Stockholm.

[Clothing credits: Leather Jacket from Tiger Of Sweden | Black Crop Top from Witchery at Woolworths | Wide Leg Pants from Superella | Brogues from Carvela Luxe at Spitz | Sunglass from G-Star RAW ]

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Things we did in the 4 days we spent in Stockholm included:

We explored the city on foot

Our first official day in Stockholm saw us on our feet the whole day as we took a 7km run past some of the city’s recommended sites, return to Gamla Stan later in the day to meander in and out of the old town’s narrow walkways and drop my camera, because I’m super clumsy. We then made our way to the new city centre, and ended off our day at the beautiful and picturesque Djurgården.

We went for a Fika!

Having coffee and a baked good in Sweden is apparently a very Swedish thing to do, and when it’s raining, the ideal thing to do. My sister and I spent part of a rainy afternoon visiting some recommended spots: Snickarbacken 7 and Café Saturnus, where we sat, drank coffees and cappuccinos and indulged in some delicious carbohydrate consumption.

We ate really well

Highlights of our eating experiences in Stockholm were:

Laika, a chilled out restaurant located in Hornhuset, a stylish building in our neighbourhood Hornstull. With 3 levels, each with a different restaurant on a level, we wrapped up our delicious curry dinner experience with a glass of wine on the roof terrace.

Mother, located in the new city centre intrigued both my sister and I because of its organic and healthy food and cocktail drinks menu. You make your menu selections using a touchscreen at the table and the low engagement for non Swedish speaking patrons like us was kind of frustrating, but also was kind of cool and efficient. The mother super burger served on algae and chickpea bread, the coconut pancakes and matcha cheesecake we had were delicious and completely worth the visit to this really cool concept restaurant.

We took in some art and design

A visit to the Moderna Museet and its impressive art collection was well worth it. Its  permanent collection includes work by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Robert Rauschenberg, Francis Bacon, Marcel Duchamp and Matisse.

Trends in music, design, fashion, and technology are born in Stockholm, so a visit to some of furniture and design stores like Svenskt Tenn and Nordiska Galleriet was actually quite a nice way to spend part of an afternoon in the city.

I recommend doing it using the subway. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 artists.

We got drunk and danced

Located under the Skanstull Bridge, Tradgarden is an outdoor / indoor club that  is home to some of the best parties and events in the city when the weather is warm. With several dancefloors and a food sold on site, Tradgarden is a brilliant day party that goes into the night and the early hours of the evening. My sister and I danced so much, my legs felt like I was doing squats the next day.

In General… Stockholm is beautiful, but expensive. Even some of the locals we spoke to who live there confirmed it. Especially when it comes to housing. 

On the topic of speaking to Swedes… This was not a common occurrence as we found the Swedes to not be easily amused, into small talk or displaying anything really… This might have something to do with a “societal code of conduct called “lagom”, which means ‘just enough’, ‘in moderation’, ‘appropriate’ and “when used in reference to societal behaviour, means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion.” – Sweden.Se. In fact, the one person I had the pleasure of speaking to for an extended period of time, literally said the only time Swedes are extroverted or emotional is when they have been drinking. Sounds like me. Haha… just kidding. 

Gender equality is a real thing in Sweden. I have never seen so many fathers pushing prams and minding children as I did in Stockholm. For obvious reasons, I totally loved this. 

It’s safe to drink the water in Sweden, plus it’s really easy to find food that is good and healthy… I can’t remember one bad meal. Even the 7 Eleven sold healthy food options. 

The Swedes dress how I like to dress: Simple, well put together and always with comfort as a priority and I dare to say that how they dress is how they live their lives, which is a pretty nice way to live life if you ask me.

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