One of my favorite things about living in Europe is how easy it is to pop over to other countries. Like when Dan and I returned from our time in the mountains and my Aunt Hege announced that we were all going to Stockholm for my grandmother’s birthday weekend! And an 8 hour train ride from Oslo later, we were in Sweden’s capital.
Now, for a beautiful country, Norway has a pretty ugly capital. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they were thoroughly disappointed by Oslo. But the opposite is true of Stockholm – for an ugly country, its capital is quite pretty!
Okay fine, Sweden isn’t exactly ugly, but without tons of mountains and fjords it would have a bit of trouble competing with Norway in a beauty contest, you know? Kidding of course – Sweden is absolutely beautiful, I’m just jealous that they have Stockholm!
While I didn’t see any mountains ready to rival Norway’s, Stockholm is set in a lagoon with hundreds of islands (the city itself spreads out over 14 islands), which I guess isn’t so bad. And Gamla Stan’s old medieval buildings and cobblestone streets might even have made me briefly consider moving to Sweden.
We spent most of the weekend eating all the seafood we could (obviously), wandering through the picturesque streets, and visiting some museums.
Now, you might remember that I have a weird intolerance for museums, but Stockholm has one museum that didn’t leave me slumped over on a bench dying of boredom. Can you guess?
The ABBA museum!
It’s kitschy and will leave you humming ABBA tunes for the next week, but really, what could be better than posing with wax figures of the group, looking through their old costumes, and singing karaoke on stage together with giant holograms of the band members?
That’s right, nothing.
I’ve also heard the Vasa Museum is pretty cool, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything about it because when the rest of my family + Dan decided to go, I bailed. Luckily for me my cousin and uncle seem to suffer from the same museum phobia as me. And that’s when I remembered why my Uncle Steve is my favorite: he took us to Gröna Lund!
Because I’m pretty sure roller coasters are just as culturally enriching as museums, right?
I hadn’t been to an amusement park in ages, and Gröna Lund is pretty perfect, as it’s right by the ABBA museum, the rides offer gorgeous views over Stockholm, and even on a beautiful sunny summer day we never had to wait in line more than 15 minutes.
All in all I was thoroughly charmed by Stockholm, and maybe even a tad bit jealous that Norway doesn’t have quite such an impressive city. Then again, the über stylish looks all the locals were sporting – every girl was wearing a white crochet or lace dress, while all the guys had slicked back hair with blazers complete with pocket handkerchiefs – might have been a bit much for me. I’m definitely not swanky enough for Stockholm. Hot tip: if you’re heading to Stockholm, bring your dressy clothes!
There was only one small disappointment. I had read so much about the art in Stockholm’s metros – from blog posts likening it to a cooler, modern version of the Moscow metro to articles naming it “the world’s longest art exhibit” – so I was pretty excited to see it for myself.
But… it sort of just looks like kids’ school projects down there?
I mean, it was cool, and more interesting than having no art at all, but I guess the photos I had seen of it online made it look a little more impressive. In fact, I feel like even my photos are making it look more impressive, which is bizarre considering my utter lack of photography skills.
It’s okay though, Stockholm, you can’t win them all. And you really don’t need to when you’re already one of Scandinavia’s most beautiful cities.
Have you been to Stockholm? Did you go on the roller coasters???