There is something ethereal about Sweden. Walking across the bridges that connect the 14 island archipelago of Stockholm, your mind can begin to place a tab on some of the things that make this country and its people so unique. Maybe it’s the immaculate streets void of any litter or the cheery bright-eyed Swedes that you come into contact with. The essence of Stockholm extends far beyond these simple matters — as you cross each bridge into a different part of the city, there is an entirely different feel. The heart of the city, Gamla Stan — or Old Town, is full of towering medieval structures washed in burnt oranges and creamy marigolds. As your feet conquer the uneven cobblestone streets, the sweet smells of breads and ice cream shops making fresh waffle cones putters you along. There are seemingly endless narrow streets throughout Gamla Stan and when you hop off the main street of Kopmangatan, you’ll find some of the most picturesque narrow alleyways all to yourself.
Pop out to the outskirts of the streets and it will seem like a completely different world, full of pointy building and endless water.
Other areas of Stockholm offer shops full of traditional nicnacs, restaurants with menus only in Swedish — not to worry, it seems every Swede speaks English as though it’s a first language, or cafes to sit and people watch. One of the most cherished traditions in Swedish culture is that of fika, a simple aspect of daily life. To outsiders, fika may seem to be just a coffee break, but to sit down and enjoy fika will have you wondering why this isn’t a part of daily life, everywhere. The essence of fika is to slow down. What makes this unique from a regular coffee break is that it is generally enjoyed with a tasty baked good to pair it with. Within virtually no time at all, you will find yourself at cafes throughout the city, taking an easy fika break as if you’ve been doing it your entire existence. It’s a truly pleasurable way to pass time, catching glimpses of the daily lives of Swedish city dwellers and staying up to date on the undeniable stylish garb of nearly everyone. Enjoy fika The countryside of Sweden is altogether perfect, in every way. An eight hour train ride from Stockholm through the countryside to Oslo, Norway proved endlessly breathtaking. I had allocated these eight hours for catching up on lost sleep and although truly exhausted from adventuring and exploring the vast city of Stockholm, I could not sleep. As I would begin to doze off, the train would round a corner and the next breathtaking scene would unfold. With impossibly blue sky and rich velvety green empty fields scattering the landscape, the only thing to see is clear lakes reflecting the crisp clouds, vibrant yellow flower fields and the iconic red houses and barns dotting the scenery. Needless to say, not catching up on sleep as planned during this train ride was well worth it and something that my mind plays loops of constantly.
If you want to experience a sweet fika break in a sidewalk cafe or take a dip in the crystal clear lakes of the Swedish countryside, we’d love to help you find your way there!