Who the hell plans a vacation virtually to the Arctic Circle in March? This guy right here. Planning trips may be a skill of mine, but the timing and location of this one seemed to escape me. It isn't cold here in Stockholm... it is EFFing freezing. Ice on the sidewalk and a stinging wind off the water chill to the core. Yeah, not this guy's best idea. But enough complaining, because my idea to visit Stockholm (granted, at the wrong time of year) was pure genius. This is arguably the most beautiful city I have seen in my travels around the globe. Every building is ornate, every street seems to have a waterfront view or a breathtaking church spire, every sidewalk is immaculately clean, and people are tall, blonde, and gorgeous. Naturally, Carlee and I fit right in. I love it here. I'm proud of my Swedish heritage. Now when does Spring begin?
I knew the cold would be a problem when a majority of the 4 hour train ride from Copenhagen provided window scenery of a winter wonderland, snow rushing horizontally past the train. Fortunately, by the time we arrived, the snow was gone and Stockholm was sunny. After arriving at Central Station, we took the Metro a couple stops to Radmansgatan, where we braved the cold for a short walk to our hotel... the Rex Petit. I don't speak Swedish, but I'm pretty sure "petit" means small, tiny, petite, perhaps microscopic... and the name suits this hotel well. Our room is windowless, a cave in a basement. And the square footage makes an interior cruise ship cabin feel spacious. But who cares? We aren't here to hang out in the hotel. Let's go freeze our faces off.
Back to the Metro, we went to Östermalmshallen, one of the world's greatest food halls. We checked out the fresh meats, seafood, cheeses, and vegetables, and then we ordered a chicken pie, potatoes au gratin, and grilled veggies from a deli. Fresh, warm, it was so satisfying on the cold day. After grabbing some coffee, we were ready to hit the streets.
The cold wasn't really that bad. 'Easy Go' wardrobe was ready for it. But on the ocassional street, the position of the buildings created inescapable windtunnels where no jacket known to man would ever keep you warm. Fortunately, the winds got a little better throughout the day.
We checked out the impressive Vasa Museum, home of the Vasa - a Viking ship that sunk in the harbor on its maiden voyage some 400 years ago. The ship was forgotten for centuries, but about 50 years ago, it was found and pulled out of the water.... still in one piece. It is breathtaking, incredibly ornate, and absolutely huge.
Back outside, we walked around town, through the streets of Gamla Stan, the city's Old Town. It almost felt like Venice, as the winding streets were narrow and sans automobiles. Restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops line the streets, and we enjoyed the afternoon getting lost in the tiny passageways.
For dinner, we went to P.A. & Co., another local blog recommendation. This place... not so great and on the expensive side (of course, everything in Stockhoom is expensive). Carlee had the Swedish meatballs (which she thought tasted like White Castle) and I had a Swedish Istergame sausage with dill potatoes and beets. Neither of us were impressed, especially with the $60+ price tag - and there wasn't even any drinking during the meal! Ouch!
After dinner, we walked a bit more and headed back to the hotel to snuggle into our warm bed inside our cave-like cruise ship cabin of a room. Loving Stockholm, we are ready to see more tomorrow.... and it will (allegedly) be 10° warmer!