Our visit in Stockholm was short and sweet, and that is how this post will be too!
We had a wonderful time in Stockholm! Our first impression was an indication of what was to come. We arrived in Stockholm late in the evening and stopped for some real authentic Swedish food at Pizza Hut (haha, please note the sarcasm). It may not have been authentic, but our server was awesome and when I asked Tyler his favorite part about Sweden he said, “Teddy from Pizza Hut!” When he heard we were from near Seattle he said, “Oh, Nirvana!” From there, he and Jeromy compared their 90’s music similarities (Rap and Grunge) and he talked about the changes in Sweden and how it compared to the USA where he had traveled quite a bit. It was a fun conversation and he was an interesting person! When we left dinner Parker said, “I feel sad leaving…we will probably never see him again.” Our visit started out great and continued from there.
Stockholm itself is a wonderful city made up of an archipelago of 14 islands. Everywhere you look there are beautiful waterways all around. We had fabulous weather while we were there as well so the whole city seemed to sparkle.
Since we had such a short time, we decided to be true tourists and do the Hop On Hop Off bus that takes you around the city and while taking you, there is a recorded tour of the places you are seeing. You can hop on or off (hence the name) at any of the stops and another bus comes by every 10 minutes or so when you are done. It’s a great way to get the lay of the land in a new city and then decide where to explore further.
One place we found while we were on the tour was Grona Lunds Tivoli Amusement park. Entrance to the park came free with our Hop On Hop Off bus ticket so we thought we’d check it out. We all loved it! The had some really scary rollercoasters but the best ride for me was the Eclipse or Giant Wave Swinger. It was like the typical swing ride at the fair, but they brought you up to 400 feet and you went up to 43 MPH! It was an amazing view of the city and so much fun!
Another fun stop for us was Gamla Stan, their old town and where the Royal Palace was located. There were narrow streets with interesting shops to look through and delicious sweets to eat! We had just eaten our homemade lollipops at a candy store when we stumbled across the best ice cream place in town…Oh well, I guess we will have to get both!
The only thing unique we really wanted to eat in Sweden was Swedish Pancakes. We didn’t find them in any restaurants and as we investigated online, most people said they didn’t serve them much at restaurants. I decided to remedy the situation by taking a trip to the grocery store and found some there, although we did finally see them at the airport on the way out of town. It’s funny how it felt so nice walking around a grocery store and shopping for our dinner and breakfast the next day. It had been awhile since we had a kitchen and it was nice to get groceries and cook for my family. I really enjoy having an apartment or house and the cost isn’t always more and often is much less than a hotel. While we don’t have the convenience of a concierge and someone making our beds, it’s so nice to have the extra space to spread out and a kitchen to cook in.
One other fun thing for us is finding playgrounds as we wander through the city. It’s amazing how the boys could be complaining that they can’t walk another step and we will come upon a park and all of the sudden their energy is back and they are scaling playground equipment! If you know us at all, you know my boys love to climb and play. The playgrounds here are the perfect place to have them get out all of that energy. Jeromy was even able to shoot some hoops with some local teenagers!
As we leave Scandinavia, I have a few thoughts if you are going to travel here.
You should come here!! This is such an easy and safe area for an American to travel. Almost everyone speaks English and in Iceland and Norway especially, nearly everything is in English. Also, we rarely needed cash (everywhere took credit cards), which makes paying for things easier. The food was good, and you could find almost anything you would want to eat. I also always felt safe. We were mainly in touristy areas, but I didn’t feel unsafe one time while we were here.
The only downside to traveling to Scandinavia is the cost (especially in Norway). Things were at least double the cost of things in the United States. In our one foray to McDonalds it cost $10 for Parker to get a McChicken! If you are planning on traveling here, you have to go with that in mind or if you are cheap like me, it will drive you crazy the whole time. Fortunately, we were prepared for it and this was one of the reasons we came here first. Our costs will only go down from here!
In the end though, IT IS WORTH IT! The beauty of Iceland, Norway, and Sweden was astounding and we just scratched the surface in the time we had. I can’t wait to come back and spend more time exploring each place. Jeromy and I both felt like we wished we had more time, but then again, there was nothing we would have cut out. So we will just have to return! When backpacked in Europe in college someone (I can’t remember who) gave me great advice. They said that when you are travelling to a place you have to always think, “I will be back here again someday.” Otherwise, you will find yourself running around trying to see everything, which is impossible, and you won’t truly appreciate where you are. That was great advice and I’ve thought of it often these past few weeks.
Now we are off on a flight to Prague, Czech Republic!