The Travelling Pixie in Sweden.
It has been slightly over a year since my last vacation in Europe where I visited the Netherlands. I’ve been longing to go off for a vacation, but with the recent terrorist attacks happening in Europe, it just didn’t feel safe to travel to Western Europe so we decided to go to Sweden instead.
Before you go….
Just some background information for those who wish to also travel to Sweden, they do not use Euros. The Swedish currency is in Swedish Kronas, and the exchange rate today is about 10.77kr to £1. I find that going to Thomas Exchange located behind the TopShop on Oxford Street offers a fair and reasonable exchange rate, so you might be interested in getting your kronas there before you head to Sweden. They recommend you to reserve your currency online before collecting it at the branch, but I managed to exchange £450 worth of Swedish Kronas there without reserving the money prior to my arrival.
In this social media-dominated world, I suppose most of you would love to document your story on Instagram and Snapchat along your trip, and this is where a mobile data card would come in handy! Well you’d be pleased when I tell you that 3Mobile offers a 12GB mobile data plan with data roaming across 42 EU countries (as well as in the UK, Hong Kong and Macau) for only £20/month! So you might want to opt for this plan if you wish to keep your friends and family updated on social media throughout your trip. You simply buy one of these top-up cards at a 3Mobile Store, enter the simcard into your phone, and turn on data roaming to start sharing bits and pieces of your fabulous adventure.
[2016.10.08] Stockholm; Day 1
We landed at Stockholm Airport at 5pm and took the Arlanda Express Train from Stockholm Airport to the Stockholm Central Station. The ride itself was a little under 20minutes and one Youth ticket (under 25) costs 150kr whereas the adult tickets cost 250kr. I highly recommend you to get the tickets at the ticket office in the airport beforehand, because if you purchase the tickets on the train, it would cost an extra 100kr!
As we alighted the train, the chilly breeze of winter gently brushed my cheeks, I guess it was kind of warmer than what I had expected.
Having arrived Stockholm quite late, we decided to wander around the shops within Central Station, and in particular, the Coop – a local supermarket in which we bought apples and other daily consumables to last us the night – we’re definitely not ready to roam around Stockholm in the cold evening trying to look for something decent to eat!
We promptly walked to the metro station and took the metro to Karlaplan station where our hotel (Hotel Karlaplan) was situated. Fortunately, our hotel was only a short walk from the station and we need not bother ourselves too much with getting directions etc. We checked in, settled down for the night, and readied ourselves for the only full day we’re gonna get in Stockholm.
[2016.10.09] Stockholm; Day 2
We woke up at 8 in the morning to get ready for our day ahead. Breakfast was provided by the hotel, so we didn’t have to go out looking for something to eat. I have to say that the hot chocolate at this hotel was AMAZING. They also had nutella and crepes for breakfast which I am most pleased about! I just couldn’t stop eating them for breakfast!
After a very full and content breakfast, we decided to walk to the old city of Stockholm from our hotel. The walk to the river side took about half an hour, which wasn’t too long in my opinion, it’s always great to get a feel of the city by walking.
Along the walk to the Old City, we first passed by the riverside. It was most unfortunate that the skies were gloomy that day. It would’ve been absolutely beautiful if not for the dark and cloudy sky. Nonetheless, it was beautiful. From where we were standing, we could see a tiny dot that resembles the Tivoli amusement park.
We checked out the kiosks for the river cruises, and decided that we will come back later in the afternoon for a cruise ride and take the time now to walk around the city more.
This is part of Stockholm’s Old City, I was quite surprised that the Old City didn’t house more of Sweden’s traditional crafts. It was quite full of tourist shops selling souvenirs and the sort, but I couldn’t seem to get a feel of Sweden’s vibe.
We wondered through the streets of the Old City, and found nothing of interest to be honest. It was quite disappointing, so we then decided to just walk around and see what we could find outside of the Old City. On our way out, I saw this beautiful yet unkempt wall laden with vines and leaves, and I just couldn’t resist but to capture the moment. It’s just so effortlessly picturesque that I instantly fell in love with this scene.
We walked and walked and walked around, without a clear direction or any idea of where we were heading to and somehow we ended up to the entrance of a park.
We just didn’t really have any idea where we were, but this place looked nice, so of course, its a photo-op!
It was quite freezing being outdoors in the wind for so long, so we went into a department store and had a glimpse of Scandinavian designed household products. The designs were so simple, minimalistic, sleek and absolutely aesthetically pleasing, I’d love to be able to get a few small pieces of home decor home with me, but then my suitcase was too small plus it was quite pricey to begin with!
We left the department store when we sensation of our frozen fingers and toes came tingling back to us.
We strolled further on to find lunch, and to our surprise, we managed to find a very authentic Italian cuisine! It’s unfortunate that neither of us remembered to take down the name of the restaurant! The food was excellent, and not too pricey! We’ve heard loads of rumours about how things are soooooo expensive in Sweden, so we were in for a pleasant surprise when our meal came to around 300kr for both of us. We only ordered one Nero Linguine and a Prawn Risotto though, but I still think that its a fair price considering the quality of our meal.
After our very enjoyable meal, we headed back for the docks to join one of the river cruises.
I really enjoyed the river cruise, it’s really a great way of seeing the whole of Stockholm if you’ve only got one day there.
The scenery is stunning, particularly when the trees have already succumbed to the weather and the leaves turned various shades of fiery red and yellow. It’s just beautiful. A tip for you, while on the cruise, I felt that the scenery on the right side of the cruise was more picturesque, so you might want to sit on the right side of the boat when you’re there! (Right side if you’re facing the bow of the ship!) Plus, the cruise offered a headphone that introduces you to various sites of Stockholm throughout the tour – there are also loads of languages to choose from, so you would most likely be able to choose your mother tongue!)
After the cruise, I decided that I would definitely want to visit the Nordic Museum. The exterior of the Museum itself is beautiful and you could definitely already tell that it’s a historical museum. It contained many of the Swedes’ historical artefacts as well as displayed installations of Nordic festive traditions. It’s definitely a museum worth dropping by if you’re not staying in Stockholm for long.
We spent about an hour or so there before the Museum was about to close and we had to leave. It was an amazing experience in this museum, also being able to learn more about the Nordic history.
By the time we left the museum it was already 5pm, so we decided that we should just buy some groceries and head back to the hotel before it gets too cold! Having been born in a tropical climate, I feel that my tropical blood just couldn’t take the cold!
We would be heading to Gothenburg the next day, taking the 11:30 train from Stockholm Central, so this concludes our adventures in Stockholm. Well, it actually is barely an adventure as we decided that we would only be strolling around and enjoying the relaxing vibes of Sweden from the start, but anyways, we had a great time in Stockholm, just feeling lazy and enjoying our long-awaited vacation!