Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sort of Like Ballard only Bigger

I was trying to think of something funny to write about Stockholm. But there just isn't anything funny about it - it's too perfect. Even the rain behaves. Everything runs like clockwork, the streets are clean, the the people are beautiful, the food is really good, and everyone (even babies) speak English. So instead of finding humor, I will acknowledge the near perfection. If there was a fault, it was the cost of living. Everything was very, very expensive. No wonder they use crowns for currency!

On time - every time. Just like everything else!

This is one of two stops where we will only spend a week. Otherwise we have been trying to do two week stints so we can get settled and really explore at a leisurely pace. But in this case we packed in the best of the city and enjoyed it very much. Once again we took the free walking tour. Wherever you travel, if that's on offer, do it! In this case we took two. One in the center of the city and the other in historic Old Town. Both gave us a heads up on where to revisit in-depth. 

We arrived in Stockholm by train from Copenhagen. A lovely, five hour journey through miles of countryside filled with farms and lakes and small villages. Most every home in this country is painted a deep red with white trim or mustard yellow - my two favorite colors! Lots of time on the train for reading and a packed lunch. Our airbnb host, Hanna picked us up at the station - she is a delightful dental student who had everything in order for our stay.

The apartment itself was, once again, really great. Small but clean, well laid out and furnished with everything you need to cook-in and be comfortable, thanks to IKEA of course. Here's the link:

The apartment was a little further from town than we anticipated - but the metro system was really easy to use and the town where we stayed was small and quiet with an excellent grocery store, a pub and the metro station just two blocks away. It was called Middsommarkransen (we're still in the land of many letters*) and was just a few stops from the center of Stockholm.

The Tour Guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They work for tips so they need to be!
We walked from one end of Stockholm to the other several times. Rain or shine! As I mentioned this city is so easy to navigate and so beautiful. We add to our miles by often heading the wrong way with purpose when we get confused by Google Maps directions. All part of the fun - yesterday was a seven miler. We have both lost a lot of weight on this trip!

On the third day I made a new friend who happened to have an almost new iPhone4 for sale so I snapped it up and feel reconnected with the world! Next on the agenda will be to replace my Kindle. And to remind myself to keep track of our backpack at all times (it was stolen in Copenhagen but we got it back - just missing some of the essentials).

Chanterelles anyone? There were a dozen more mounds like this!

My $8.00 Flea Market find just in time for colder weather

Lots of ways to make a living! I'd love to be in his head

Highlights include the outdoor food market (of course) and the adjacent food emporium in the city center. The tiny alleys and buildings that oozed history in Old Town, the Nobel Prize museum and the Vasa Museum.

The Vasa inside the museum

Down she goes. And of course in this kind country no blame assigned.
The Vasa was a war ship built in 1628 that sank in Stockholm's harbor just a half hour after it left the dock! It was a glorious ship that had one design flaw - a third level of cannons that the King insisted on but in the end made the ship top heavy. One big puff of wind and down she went!
It was recovered 330 years later and is incredibly intact since it settled in the brackish silt of the harbor. The museum is build around the reconstructed boat and we spend hours looking at it and all the items recovered from inside.

And I thought I liked IKEA meatballs. These were sooo good.

Second Vasa highlight had to be absolutely delicious Swedish meatballs served with potatoes, gravy lingonberry sauce, and caraway cabbage for lunch in the museum restaurant! All this walking gives us healthy appetites.

Old Town

We've attended a variety of church services along the way. All different denominations and experiences. Hillsong Christian offered headphones for little ones since the music was very 'Mars Hill' in exuberance and volume!

She'll be rocking to the praise someday!
We spend a good deal of time researching our next destination and the airbnb options. That is a fun part of the adventure - and builds anticipation for moving on. Otherwise we have been reading like crazy and playing games, resting our feet and enjoying each other. I wondered how it would be spending all day, everyday together, but we are happily in love in a whole new way. 35th Anniversary coming up on the 14th!

The lovebirds will be in Milan for the big day.
The week flew by and now we are in Berlin. The second one week stay - so far so good.

*In my career in graphic design, I was a real stickler for creating enough room on forms that required personal information to allow for complete names, e-mail addresses, etc. I don't know how designers do that in Scandinavia!


  1. So fun! Happy to hear this is bringing you a new version of love. You are both inspiration!!! Maybe I will see you in Scotland this winter?! oxoxo amyp

  2. Love all the rich history and storytelling you provide! This is awesome!