S and I spent the last week in Sweden, a country I have always wanted to visit! We spent the majority of the trip in Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden (and Scandinavia as well).
Since we were in Sweden for a week, this post had the potential to get a little wordy and repetitive (i.e. ‘Sweden is awesome!!!!’) so I thought I’d keep this post to the top 5 highlights and fun facts.
1) IKEA is King
You may have gathered from my living room redecorating post that S and I are IKEA fans. Well, that is nothing compared to the Swedes. As you may know, IKEA is originally from Sweden. Everywhere we turned, we saw IKEA cutlery, mugs, candles, you name it. The largest IKEA in the world is in Stockholm, but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see it.
2) Astrid Lindgren’s Novels
Astrid Lindgren, the famous children’s book author of Pippi Longstocking, the Emil series, and other books, is beloved in her home country of Sweden and around the world. S and I visited a few Astrid Lindgren sights, including 2 film locations for the movie adaptations of Lindgren’s stories ‘Emil’ and ‘Bullerbyn’.
Pippi Longstocking books and merchandise are everywhere in Sweden – it makes me want to familiarize myself with those books and movies!
3) Road Trip to Småland
Though S and I spent most of our time in Stockholm, we did detour out of the capital for 3 days to visit Mariannelund and Vimmerby, two small villages in the picturesque Swedish province of Småland. A Swedish friend of S’s that we visited said that Småland is known for 6 things:
- Glass blowing artists
- The inventor of the zipper (who I thought was Canadian, but apparently was a Swedish-American man)
- The hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’
- Astrid Lindgren
- Polkagris – peppermint-flavoured striped candy sticks
Småland is a beautiful province rich in lakes and forests. I’m glad we got a chance to leave the capital to see some of the countryside!
4) Museums Galore in Stockholm
I love a good museum and Stockholm has a plethora!
S and I danced our way into the new ABBA museum. The museum highlighted ABBA’s rise to fame in the 1970s after winning the 1974 Eurovision song contest. There were some interactive elements to the museum that S took advantage of (ie. a song recording belting out ‘Mamma Mia’ in a private sound recording booth, starring as an avatar in ABBA’s most famous costumes, and dancing for 30 seconds in a music video). Best of all were the catchy tunes and costumes on display. If I wasn’t a big ABBA fan before going in, I certainly am now!
I found a video clip about the opening of the ABBA museum so you can take a peek inside as well.
Another fun fact – it turns out that Agnetha, one of the ABBA singers, went to the ABBA museum 3 days after we were there!!!! If only we’d gone 3 days later…. ;o)
We also visited the Vasa museum, the most visited museum in Scandinavia. This maritime museum features the only 17th century wooden war ship to be salvaged. Sadly, the Vasa ship sank only minutes after its inaugural sailing in 1628. It was preserved underwater for 333 years before it was brought to the surface and turned into a museum.
5) Lunch with Linnaeus
Between visits to the Vasa museum and taking a boat tour around Stockholm, S and I went to a great local restaurant called Cafe Saturnus to pick up a sandwich and a Kanelbulle (a Swedish cinnamon bun). Instead of chowing down in the cafe, we decided to get the food to go to have a spontaneous picnic in a park. We found a park close by, sat on a bench in a square of the park and realized we were sitting right in front of a statue of the Swede Carolus Linneaus, the father of taxonomy!! Being the biology nerd that I am, I think this was one of my favourite parts of our trip. The Kanelbulle, which was half the size of my head, was a close second…Swedes love to have fika, which I found out is basically the equivalent of Kaffee und Kuchen in Germany – a love of sitting down with friends to share a coffee and a pastry. Fika is a social institution in Sweden and is very much a part of the culture. I think I could get into some of these European culinary traditions!
Thanks for the memories, Sweden!
Have you ever been to Sweden? What were your favourite sites or cultural customs? Let me know in the comments below!