When Joel found out he had a last minute work trip that would need him to be in Sweden, it took me about 45 whole seconds upon hearing this news to look up my flights and book myself on a Friday night flight to Stockholm. Towards the end of the year i'd spent the lions share of my holiday so it was jam packed weekends all the way and what better way to spend the weekend than exploring a new city and ticking another country off my 30 by 30 list. TICK and TICK!
So shortly after booking flights we started looking up places to stay for the weekend. We came upon the Berns hotel early on in our search and decided it looked absolutely stunning and was in the perfect location so we thought, why not treat ourselves - YOLO, am i right?!
We arrived quite late on the Friday and took a taxi from the airport to the hotel, we looked into trains and it was honestly nearly the same price as a cab so we went with the lazy/easy option. Once at the hotel we grabbed a bite to eat and a couple of amaretto sours in the gorgeous hotel restaurant.
One thing we discovered the next morning is that Stockholm have nailed their public transport system. I realise that's a bizarre thing to say but once you're in the centre there really is no need to travel by anything other than train or tram. Not only is their underground so quiet and clean but each station has been turned in to it's own art instillation. You could spend all day going from one beautiful stop to the other. We decided not to have breakfast in the hotel but instead head straight to Fabrique for a coffee, when in Stockholm eh!! Fabrique is like Sweden's answer to Gails bakery, excellent coffee and even better pastry or 'Fika' as they say. We took our coffee and went for a stroll, taking in the beautiful buildings and wide expanses of water everywhere.
Naturally I had pencilled a few brunch options in the plan so after a morning wonder we headed to the Greasy Spoon. You might be thinking, that doesn't sound very Maddie #healthy, but the name is quite misleading, the food is actually really delicious and you can be as naughty or as healthy as you like. My mr was feeling very hungry as we had to wait a while for our table so we ended up with 3 dishes between us... #noregrets.
Brunch done it was time to explore. We headed towards the old town which i had heard is the prettiest part of Stockholm. We wondered the streets and narrow passageways until we got to the famous Markt Square.
There's something so beautiful about these brightly coloured buildings but i have to say we were so spoilt having seen the architecture in Copenhagen and Amsterdam earlier in the year that, although it is really nice it didn't quite hit the same level as those cities did for me.
Golden hour was approaching so we walked through the old town, past the palace and parliament buildings towards the centre of town.
We parted ways for a few hours as there was important rugby to be watched and important shopping to be done. A few hours later and we joined back up at the hotel to chill before dinner. I really wanted to try some authentic Swedish cooking which i must admit thought would be difficult as Joel and I are vegetarians and i assumed everything would have a meatball attached to it. I needn't have worried, as I found this restaurant called Pelikan which, although specialised in traditional dishes like meatballs, it did have a lot of other options. I ended up eating these incredible mushroom dumplings that were just divine.
The next morning we decided to tick off some of the more touristy things, number 1 of which was a visit to the Vasa museum. The museum is dedicated and home to the worlds only original, preserved 17th century ship which sank and spent over 300 years at the bottom of the sea before it was resurrected and pieced back together. It was incredibly impressive.
After the museum we had brunch (i can't remember where exactly which means i didn't take any photos which also means it was probably not that exciting or worth writing about). We had a few hours left before we had to head to the airport so we went for a walk around Skansen, unfortunately we were a week before the christmas markets started but we still enjoyed wondering around looking at all the animals and taking in the views.
I've decided that i would love to go back to Stockholm in the spring time or summer. It was bitterly cold while we were there and for a city that's surrounded by so much water it would have been nice to be able to make the most of that. If you've been to Stockholm before i'd love to know what your favourite bits were as i think we only managed to scratch the surface of what the city has to offer.
Leave me a comment as i love getting recommendations for places to go!