(Pic Above is from Tivoli Gardens in Stockholm. Thanks to my friend Grant I think its the same one from this Dave Matthew’s album right?)
Stockholm was a great last stop for us. I have always wanted to see Scandinavia, especially in the summer. We had originally thought we would fly out of London, but we found an inexpensive, direct flight from Stockholm to of all places Oakland, California, through Norwegian Air, so for us it was the perfect setup.
Our first impression of Stockholm was how beautiful and clean the city was. Lauren said it reminded her of Paris. We stayed at this great airbnb in the Sodermalm area of the city. The owner, Anna, was head of Scandinavian marketing for LiveNation so it had a hip, rock and roll vibe to the place. Plus the kitchen was one of the best we have ever used. The place had a kids room with lots of toys that the girls loved.
My favorite aspect of the city was that there are so many islands a short ferry ride away so you can feel like you are outside of the city in no time. I also liked how it didn’t get really dark until 11:00 pm at night, just crazy. People were out and about all the time, parks were full of people enjoying the sun, I’m sure because winters days here are short and dark.
Here were some of the Highlights:
Tour of the city by bike – Kelly booked a 3 hour bike ride around the city through a company called Bike Sweden. We had a really cool guide named Staffan who showed us around some of the beautiful parks and backroads of the city. We would have never seen this side of Stockholm and it was nice to have a guide to show us around and tell us about different landmarks or history of the city.
Waxholm – we took a 45 minute ferry to one of the many islands around the city. There are so many islands in the Archepelago that it would take you about 2 hours by boat to reach the open ocean. Waxholm itself was a quiet, quaint vacation town. We grabbed lunch and walked around the mostly nautical themed shops. My favorite part was probably the ferry ride itself checking out the other islands and watching all the different boats cruising around.
Tivoli Amusement Park – one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, built in the 1850s. It was a cool mix of carnival games and roller coasters. Food was great as well. The girls played Skee ball, shot BB guns and basketballs, and won some stuffed animals – which we didn’t need. One of the great things about Europe is that there are some rides that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen back in the states. We went into this wild fun house that had all kinds of moving floors, walls, crazing moving stairs, and moving tunnels that made you feel dizzy to the point that I had to close my eyes. It was a total blast. There was also a swing ride similar to the one above except 10 STORIES HIGH.!! I was too freaked out to even pull out the GoPro to film it. It was like a different weather system up there. We spent 7 hours at the park and the girls would have stayed longer, especially since it was so light out, but 10pm was our cutoff.
Abba Museum – relatively new (3 years) museum which even the kids loved. Lots of interactive exhibits like tuning a music studio control panel, singing onstage with ABBA holograms, Karaoke, and making a music video. You forget how absolutely HUGE this band was all around the world, probably because I was in diapers at the time.
Vasa Museum – The Vasa was a 17th Century boat that sank on its maiden voyage (Titanic who?) and was dredged up in almost perfect condition. Supposedly it is the most visited museum in Scandinavia. Really good exhibits about life on board the ship, navigation, and how the sails worked.
The grocery stores – Kelly really loved the grocery stores here. What I noticed was the amazing amounts of fish, hard breads, and yogurts. Their cheese and meat sections were like nothing Kelly had every seen before – so many choices!
The liquor stores – I had no idea that all the liquor stores in Sweden are state run. The benefit of that is that the state gets huge volume discounts. The selection is top notch as well, but you can only buy liquor at those stores and they are closed on Sunday, so you must plan accordingly.
The subway – we have seen a lot of subways on this trip, but the one is Stockholm has this 70’s, underground cavern type of vibe. When we were there they were also pretty empty. I felt like I was in the movie Logan’s Run.
To cap off our stay we ended up meeting with some friends from the girls school, the Mahoney family, on our very last night of our trip. John was on a European trip celebrating his 50th birthday and Jen’s family is from Sweden, so we met her sister Michelle who lives in Stockholm. The girls were glad to hang with kids from their school and we had a great time catching up over drinks at the Hotel Diplomat. What a great way to end our trip!