Our train pulled into the Stockholm station at about 6:15a. Thankfully we had the foresight to set our alarms for 5:30a to make sure we were up and ready to hop off the train when we arrived at the station. Since we were so early the hotel didn’t have any rooms ready for us, so we dropped off our bags and headed out to find some coffee and get started on sight seeing.
Since it was so early not a lot was open, but we did stumble upon a coffee shop, Espresso House, that I would later learn to be the equivalent to our Starbucks (looks like I’m finding those everywhere). I ordered my new favorite drink, a vanilla latte, and we sat and enjoyed our drinks surrounded by cozy decor. After finalizing our plan for the day and wasting about an hour and a half, we set out to knock a few sights off of our list.
We headed to Stockholm’s city hall building, where we took an informative tour (they won’t allow you to trapse through the building on your own, since it is an active building with people working), and then we took a stop for lunch. The temperature was warmer than Copenhagen, but still not as hot as home, so we enjoyed our lunch al fresco; I enjoyed some fish and chips while the hubs ordered a lunch special of grilled chicken with chorizo and mashed sweet potatoes.
After lunch we took a short stroll up to the royal palace, where we were able to walk through the treasury, royal apartments, gallery, and a mini-museum. As I was traipsing through the halls, I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have been like to actually live there. I mean, to have your “bedroom” be smattering of 5+ rooms, to have marbled staircases, and beautiful gardens and rooms full of sculptures. Every time I would look in one of the less than shiny mirrors, I couldn’t help but think about all the other people that have also looked in those same mirrors. It’s pretty cool if you stop and think about it! We also stumbled upon the changing of the guards, which included a little concert from the royal band – it was perfect timing!
For dinner, we headed to Herman’s, a vegetarian buffet, which was like my heaven. They had a grill out back where they were grilling tofu and all kinds of veggies, and then both hot and cold food inside. I loaded my plate with as many grilled vegetables as I could fit and a ton of their salads as well. Everything was delicious, and I had said that I would have been totally fine eating all of my meals there. It was a nice change of pace from all the rich and heavy foods we had been eating for the majority of our trip. I also had some grilled eggplant slathered in BBQ sauce that I fell in love with and recreated as soon as we got home.
Our go-to dessert was ice cream, or as it’s called over there, glass. They had tons of shops throughout the city, and the majority of them had homemade waffle cones. So on our way back to the hotel most evenings we stopped to get some – my favorite flavor was the maple walnut.
For dinner on our second day, we headed to a traditional Swedish restaurant, Pelikan. It was my goal to have Swedish meatballs while in Sweden, so I knew this restaurant was going to be my best chance at that. I read reviews about their food, and knew that the food would be good – they only have 8 main dishes, so it was easy for me to make my decision; Swedish meatballs with gherkin pickles, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes. The meatballs were huge and so full of flavor, and it made for an excellent meal paired with the sweet berries and salty pickles.
After starting our third day at my beloved Espresso House and taking a look at their photography museum, we worked up an appetite. Since we were heading over to to another island (Stockholm is a bunch of little islands, for all you non geographers), we stopped at a little stand that seemed to be bustling for lunch. Turns out we stumbled upon one of the weirdest, but delicious combinations ever. It was a wrap filled with mashed potatoes, and a hot dog with all the fixin’s (relish, mustard, and ketchup). It sounds totally bizarre, but it was really tasty – you could even get one with seafood salad if you wanted. Who would have thought that would be a delicious combo (obviously the Swedes)?!
Dinner that night was at Garlic & Shots, a restaurant my husband had actually visited while he was in England a few years ago. I ordered a huge black bean burger and garlic fries, while the hubs ordered a spicy beef chili skillet. And of course, we had to try their garlic beer. That’s right, the beer actually has little pieces of garlic floating in it! It sounds weird, but I promise it’s actually quite delicious. They also have an impressive shots list (hence the name), and while I didn’t order any, there were definitely a few I would try.
Our last day started with a buffet brunch cruise around Stockholm’s archipelago islands. It’s here that I tried the fried pickled herring that I actually enjoyed. I also had some grilled vegetables, smoked salmon, some cold salads, bread, and some breakfast sausage and ham. They also had a phenomenal dessert buffet that I forgot to snap a picture of, but trust me it was delicious.
One thing that I enjoyed in both Copenhagen and Stockholm was the elusive chocolate ball, known as the chokoladboll. It’s a little chocolate ball that is covered in shredded coconut, and is absolutely delicious. I found a few recipes online, and definitely plan on recreating them myself. My mouth is watering just at the thought of them! So of course I ended the trip with one at the airport.
It was a great 12 days away, but it was certainly nice to get back home into a normal routine, and to of course spend time with the kitties. It was definitely an experience I’m so glad I got to have, and can’t wait for my next vacation (Disney in January)!
Have you ever been to Sweden?