Day 9: Travel day back to the US of A #scandinavia

Sadly, I couldn’t sleep because I am really looking forward to coming home. Looking at my alarm clock, I realize I need to be getting ready in 30 minutes to catch the flypassarna bus from central station to Arlanda airport. That’s a 40 minute adventure. Hopefully all goes well and smooth from here. I don’t think I can take anymore ups and downs (this entire trip has been a roller coaster: changed/delayed flights, missed opera, more delayed flights, running to make a connection, lost baggage, etc). So, looking forward to starting the journey home!


Overall thoughts:
– Travel to Oslo and Stockholm during the Christmas season can be difficult bc a lot of the museums, shops, and restaurants will be closed. They take their Christmas and New Years very seriously and are often celebrating the holidays with family.  I felt that businesses were open a bit more in Copenhagen, Denmark — so maybe do the Christmas holidays here (it’s a fantastic city!).
– Now knowing this, I would travel to Oslo and Stockholm in the summer…not the winter.
– I would keep Oslo at a 2 day stay (max). Decrease Kirkenes to a full day stay or day and a half.  Seeing the northern lights is apparently hit or miss.  Increase Stockholm stay to at least 3 days (this city was incredible!).
– if you’re a foodie, you will love Stockholm!!


Day 8: Stockholm, Sweden #stockholm #sweden #knut

NYT: 36 hours in Stockholm

UK Telegraph: 36 hours in Stockholm

The Independent UK: 24 hours in Stockholm

The Independent UK: 48 hours in Stockholm

Cosmo UK: 24 hours in Stockholm

24 hours in Stockholm

What I actually did in a 24 hour period:

  • Walked out to City Hall and explored the grounds.
  • Checked out Gramla Stan and toured the streets, Royal Palace, Royal Coin Palace, and church
  • Walked along the main boulevard of Södermalm (Götgaten): stepped into a bakery and grabbed a gingerbread cookie and Julmust (very yummy carbonated soda-type beverage served during Christmas season). Hopped on the T-bana @ Skanstull to Central Station. A 24 hour unlimited T-bana/bus pass will cost 135 sek.
  • Walked to the 7 tram (it’s not at the Central Station at all) — you have to walk a bit close to the Gallerian (above ground).
  • Checked out Djurgården –> Rosendals + Skansen
  • Took the 7 tram to Östermalm and walked to Karlaplan and then caught the T-bana to Central Station.
  • After a much needed rest, I headed out to dinner at Knut.  Started with a beverage of bourbon + rowanberry + thyme.  The bartender said that the rowanberry is typically very sour, so they offset that punch with sugar.  It was tasty.  The ambiance of this restaurant was rustic cozy.  There are about 10 tables with varying number of seats and a bar with 10 seats.  Good music during dinner.  The cocktail menu is original and daring but pricey (135 sek / 7.81 for USD conversion).  The bread and butter basket was just the right pre-dinner snack.  The butter was flavorful; soft bread was warm and soft.  I ordered the moose steak dish and it was more like a meatball.  The flavor was earthy and it was perfectly cooked.  There was a flavorful creamy vanilla-type slightly sweet sauce.  Berries (not sure what type) and a block of potato browned on all sides were served alongside the moose.  I really enjoyed it.  The flavors melded together nicely.  I used the butter with sea salt from the bread basket on the potato cube.  Sublime.  Dessert was a warmed cloudberry (typical fruit of northern Sweden) with vanilla ice cream.  The berry had an interesting flavor: tart, but not quite like a pomegranate.  It looks like an orange blackberry, but doesn’t taste like one.  The vanilla ice cream was rich and deep in true vanilla bean flavor.  However, I’m not sure the two flavors (cloudberry and vanilla bean) worked together for me.  I appreciated the crunchy morsels at the bottom of the ice cream.  Overall nice, flavorful, Swedish dishes served in a cozy and comfy unpretentious atmosphere.

IMG_8998 IMG_8999

Day 7: Kirkenes, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden #stockholm #sweden #2015

12:10p KKN →  Stockholm 18:00p

The theme of this trip = DELAYS.  But it’s hard to work up an attitude or ungrateful behavior while on vacation.  So, this delay time has given me a chance to look up things to do in Stockholm!

Scandic Grand Central, Stockholm

Try Swedish: Food & Culture

The White Guide: Sweden’s best restaurants and cafes

Time: Stockholm City Basics: 

  • Arriving. From Arlanda Airport, the Arlanda Express will have you in central Stockholm in 20 minutes. Fares are about $31 or $59 return. Concessions are cheaper. A summer special lets two adults ride one way for about $32. The bus is cheaper again but it takes twice the time.
  • Getting Around. Stockholm’s metro, the Tunnelbana (T-Bana), is excellent. Look for the big blue T that marks station entrances. For a 72-hour stay, a travel card covering all public transportation in greater Stockholm will cost about $23. A Stockholm Card for the same duration, covering transport plus entry to 75 attractions, is $75. See
  • Tipping. Hotel bills include a gratuity for service charges. At bars and restaurants, leave a small tip by rounding up the bill to the nearest 10 kronor (about $1.30).
  • Survival Skills. You have to try very hard to get yourself into a serious scrape in Stockholm. The Swedish capital is very ordered and polite, and the Swedes’ proficiency in English is, as the Irish comedian Dylan Moran puts it, “bewilderingly excellent.” In fact, the only surefire way to infuriate the locals is by boarding the T-Bana without letting them exit first. Antisocial behavior by stag-night revelers (especially Brits) used to be something of a nuisance, but crackdowns in recent years have led to a real improvement in the situation.

Time: Top 10 Things to Do in Stockholm

  1. Nystekt Strömmingvagnen:  First things first. Before taking on the city and its white-sneakered Swedes, get brunch on the go at this Stockholm institution. The herring wagon in Södermalm Square has been fortifying Stockholmers with freshly caught fish for more than 20 years. Skåning, a serve of herring on rye topped with Spanish onion, fresh dill and mustard, is a favorite.
  2. Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tour: Next, get onto the water to acquaint yourself with the city’s intricate island layout. This two-hour boat tour, tel: (46-8) 1200 4000, takes in 15 of Stockholm’s bridges and the locks that connect Lake Mälaren with the Baltic Sea. Admire the saffron- and terracotta-toned architecture along the way. Boats depart on the hour from 10 a.m. in summer.
  3. Rosendals: Parks and gardens make up a third of Stockholm, but among the standouts is Rosendals, tel: (46-8) 5458 1270, created on the grounds of King Oscar I’s 19th century palace on the island of Djurgården. Ferries to the island are frequent, with Rosendals (“Rose Valley” in Swedish) a 15-minute stroll from the dock. Produce grown in the organic garden is served in the café, bakery and shop. With a copious serving of chicken salad and one of the café’s seasonal cakes on your tray, take a table in the greenhouse or loll on the grass in the apple orchard.
  4. Museum of Modern Art and Architecture (Moderna Museet): Since the infamous 1993 burglary of $66 million worth of Picassos and Braques, using methods copied from a French heist film, the Moderna Museet, tel: (46-8) 5195 5200, has been reworked to a Rafael Moneo design. The lantern-lit galleries house the permanent collection of Swedish and international modern art, including significant works by Picasso, Matisse, Dardel and Hjertén. Last year, to mark 50 years since its opening, a monumental new work by Barbara Kruger was unveiled at the Museet’s entry. The architecture museum, which is among the world’s largest, occupies the adjacent former naval drill hall. On the way out, you can spy Kastellholmen’s turrets above the treetops.
  5. The Royal Coin Cabinet: Crossing the Skeppsholmen bridge from the Moderna Museet, trace the water’s edge to the Old Town. Take refuge from the sun in the Royal Coin Cabinet, tel: (46-8) 5195 5304, a stately clay-colored building beside the palace.Cabinet is too modest a term for this hoard. Many ancient coins from Baghdad and surrounds found in Europe were unearthed in Sweden, and more ancient English coins turn up in Sweden than in England. Here they all are, along with the world’s largest coin, a whopping copper plate of almost 20 kg struck in 1644, and the world’s first banknote, issued in 1661 by Stockholms Banco.
  6. Södermalm Nightlife: Settle into a long evening in bohemian Södermalm (Söder for short). For spectacular views and chic surrounds, head to the skyscraper-high Och Himlen Därtill restaurant and bar, tel: (46-8) 660 6068. If the restaurant is fully booked, try Imperiet, a restaurant run by the same team on a lower floor. For a livelier scene, check out Hornstull Strand Etablissement, tel: (46-8) 658 6350, a restaurant, concert venue and club. The mirror-mosaic frontage and mismatched alfresco furniture hides an interior that is immaculately styled. Under sherbet-colored illustrations, the benches are tiered, grandstand-style, so you can people-watch to your heart’s content.
  7. The Långholmen Pontoon: In the morning, clear out any lingering cobwebs with a dip. Stockholm’s water is clean, and warmer than you’d think, thanks to the North Atlantic drift. The small island of Långholmen, once a prison island, is a popular swimming spot. Making your way past allotment gardens and historic shipyards, you’ll find the sandy cove on the northern shore. The wooden pontoon has plenty of space to lie back and read the paper while you dry off.
  8. Millesgården: At Millesgården, tel: (46-8) 446 7590, sculptures from antiquity and the Middle Ages to the last century stand sentinel above the Lilla Värtan strait, with the Baltic Sea beyond. The Swedish sculptor Carl Milles created the sculpture garden and grounds at his cliff-top home on the island of Lidingö, in Stockholm’s north. The realization of Milles’ fantasy for this five-acre (two hectare) tract was all-consuming. “We have no money for forks, nor for linen,” Milles’ wife Olga once said, “but Carl can always afford columns!” The result is magnificent.
  9. Roberta Settels: Shops in the Old Town purvey many a pretty objet d’art, but for some truly covetable creations, seek out Roberta Settels, tel: (46-8) 206 778. She sells sumptuous sandals and shoes for men, women and children, all handmade in Sweden with vegetable-tanned leather. The designs are timeless and, as the years pass, Settels’ sandals are not worn out but in, with the leather deepening in color and character.
  10. Nyfiken Gul: This open-air restaurant, tel: (46-8) 642 5202, borrows its name from Vilgot Sjöman’s 1967 film I Am Curious (Yellow), or Jag är nyfiken — gul in Swedish, and nestles on Södermalm’s southern shore, exuding nostalgic charm. A meal here is like a Sunday barbecue in a friend’s garden. Start with the fresh beetroot with parmesan butter before grilling your own fillet of marinated lamb. Now you can sit back and let the day fade.

Time: Finding the Perfect Souvenir

This trip has been a hilarious and stressful go. Bc the flight out of Kirkenes was so delayed… Had to run through the airport upon landing in Oslo. Picture this: I’m all geared up for winter (big puffy coat, laptop bag, wool long sleeve shirt underneath a dense turtleneck, running tights underneath some jeans, and big ol snow boots)… Sweating profusely and I’m sure looking like a wild banshee running through the domestic and international terminals. Now that I’m in Stockholm, my big bag is stuck in Oslo. This has got to be my most complicated trip. Never had I experienced a missed flight/entire schedule change or missing bags before. As much as the Scandinavian people and cities have been nice, I’m ready to go home. The stresses and insomnia and other inconveniences really make me ponder if I’ll do another trip anytime soon (aside from the Africa trip already booked for February).

Stockholm has a great cool vibe. I would definitely spend more time here than Oslo. Should’ve had NYE here rather than Kirkenes. Came across some good luck while dining at Teaterbrasseriet. The restaurant was full, but the bartender talked to the restaurant manager for me and I was able to score a bar seat with a full restaurant menu (instead of the bar menu). You simply can’t understand how much that made my day! My baggage is somewhere in Oslo. I have no clothes or toiletries for the evening. Good thing there’s a 7/11 close by!




Hotel options:

Södermalm = cool for young people

Gamla Stan = Old Town; tourists

Normalmm = locals; modern


Restaurant Frantzen:

#23 of 100 (full).  😦