Stockholm

I’m sure when Mark and I told Kate we were going out for a quick nightcap we honestly thought it’d be just one. Since our 6:00 AM  departing flight from Kraków landed, we’ve been on our feet strolling through food markets and the vast network of cobblestone streets in Old Town. Now, with our Swedish bartender kindly refilling the beer and a guitarist playing classic rock songs, I realize we are too content to just have one. With complete disregard for the high alcohol tax and subsequent expensive beers, we close down Limericks, an Irish pub in Stockholm.

After ten days on the road, our museum tolerance was beginning to fade. So after spending the previous day wandering and eating through Old Town, including Corvina Enoteca (wine bar for early evening snacks) and the Hairy Pig Deli (best charcuterie spread you’ll find) we decided our museum of the day would be Vasa.

The Vasa Museum is an amazing story of a 17th century warship that sank just minutes into its maiden voyage. In the mid-twentieth century, researchers and engineers were finally successful in excavating the ship from where it lay underwater. It’s now on exhibit with 98% of its original materials. Do not visit Stockholm without spending an hour or two in this exhibit.

Afterwards, it’s a 15-minute walk through Djurgården Park to the Skansen Open-Air Museum. Although labeled as a museum, this is more of a theme-park/zoo with historical buildings scattered throughout. It’s a massive property probably best served for a younger audience. It sits across the street from Gröna Lund Tivoli theme park so if you’re needing some adrenaline after the zoo take a ride on ‘Insane’. We had filled up on too many wings and beers from O’leary’s Pub to take on that particular endeavor.  O’leary’s is not an authentic Swedish experience by any means, but after a day in the sun, surrounded by screaming kids, we were in desperate need for sports, beers and wings. From Djurgården you can walk (1 hr), taxi (30 min) or ferry (10 min) to Old Town. Its a cheap boat ride and offers nice views of the surrounding Stockholm landscape. For the first time in a while it ended up being an earlier night. After we devoured an above average amount of pizza at Giro Pizzeria Napoletana we called it a night.

For our final day we had two more parts of Stockholm to explore. Up first was a quick visit to City Hall. I recommend paying the 50 SEK ($6 USD) and climb up the City Hall tower for great views of Stockholm.

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View from City Hall Tower
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Hanging around City Hall

You can also tour the main building but it has to be guided since it’s an active political office. From City Hall, take a 30 minute walk through Old Town, over a couple bridges to reach Södermalm. There’s not much sightseeing on this side of the water but it has a fun vibe of younger, working professionals. We spent the afternoon people watching and having a few at Taste (cash only). Strolling and relaxing were our priorities on the final day in Stockholm so after an amazing meal at MoonCake Restaurant we walked through the neighborhood of Norr Mälarstrand to have our nightcap at Mälarpaviljongen (don’t bother trying to pronounce it).  This is one of the coolest bars I’ve seen and I highly recommend going for a drink, or two.

 

It’s worth noting Stockholm is a very expensive city to visit. To save some money, I’d recommend going to the Hötorgshallen market early in your trip and getting groceries for snacks and breakfast. It helps if someone in your group, like my sister Kate, enjoys cooking and is willing to prepare much needed morning meals.

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Hötorgshallen

Meats, cheeses, seafood, and more…. This market has everything you could ask for at reasonable prices. You can also go to one of the many restaurants downstairs for a more local dining experience. I recommend Kajsas Fisk. I tried their sole in lobster sauce but the overwhelming fan favorite appeared to be the fish soup.

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Light snack at Kajas Fisk – Sole in lobster sauce

From the city center of Stockholm you can take the Arlanda Express back to the airport.  If traveling on Thursday-Sunday you can get a lower priced ticket for groups of 3 or more.  Otherwise the 20 minute train ride costs 280 SEK ($35 USD) for a one-way adult ticket.  Yup… this month’s credit card statement isn’t going to be pretty.

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