Friday 8 December 2017

After a few days in Copenhagen (working), time to head somewhere for the weekend. Stockholm!

I’ve been to Sweden before, but only Malmo, when I popped across the border the last time I was in Copenhagen. And I’ve wanted to go to Stockholm for a while. So whilst I was in the area….!

Copenhagen had a vegan restaurant in the airport – awesome! So I managed to get some salad for dinner (and a raw peanut butter cup…) for dinner.

The flight was half empty. And just a short hop of about 40minutes across to Sweden.

Within 10minutes of landing, I was already on the train into the city. Wow – efficiency.

The Arlanda express is expensive. Around £30 each way. I saved a little bit by booking online ahead of time, but not much! It’s very quick and only takes 20 minutes to reach the central train station.

I was expecting Sweden to be very cold. But it wasn’t too bad. Around 3 degrees. I walked to where I’m staying, which was just over 10minutes away. Through the town centre – completely lit up in Christmas lights. Very pretty.

The hotel that I’m staying in is connected to an expensive deli-style supermarket. Called urban deli. A bit like planet organic / whole foods. So I could get some kombucha! Currently obsessed.

Saturday 9 December 2017

After some breakfast at the hotel (soy yoghurt and blueberry compote – I was expecting more vegan options given I was staying in a fancy deli…) I went out for a wander around.

Stockholm is spread across 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges.

I made my way through the main shopping area and onto a small island which houses the Swedish Parliament building, then across the the Old Town – Gamla Stan.

The main reason I was here was for the vegan bakery. But the buildings were pretty cool too (!).

I bought a huge cinnamon whirl from the vegan bakery. I got a bit of cash from the ATM just before going there, thinking a bakery won’t take cards. But how wrong I was. You don’t need cash for anything in Sweden. Absolutely everything is card (even market stalls!). And many places have signs up saying that they don’t even take cash.

The old town was cool. Lots of small streets, lined with tall brick buildings. And one street is the narrowest in the city – a small staircase leading downhill between the buildings.

In the middle of the small island which houses the old town, is the main square. It was very small – I was expecting it to be larger! And across the whole Stuart was the Christmas market. It was so busy you could barely move.

The stalls weren’t too exciting. Some Christmas decorations. Some mulled wine (called Glogg here) and candy floss.

I popped into a supermarket – love a foreign supermarket. Big on liquorice and fish things (like soup, pate, bits in a squeeze tube) here.

Spent a while wandering between all the old buildings, then around the palace. This is the official residence of the royal family, but they don’t live here. They live a little bit out of the main city. But with 608 rooms, this is the world’s largest royal castle.

I headed back, a different way, to my hotel to meet a friend at 12pm.

When I lived in Malaysia, I made lots of friends from all around the world. One of them is Swedish, but I hadn’t realised she was now living in Stockholm. So I got to spend the afternoon with her.

We wandered all around different parts of the city – last expensive houses, lots of shops, and along the sides of the waterfront.

We had lunch at a cafe called Sally Voltaire in the big department store called Ahlens (which is apparently not pronounced arh-lens, which is how an English person would describe it. But pronounced oh-lan. So I got laughed at!). The food was so delicious – I had a massive salad, with two different types of hummus.

It was dark when we finished lunch. It gets dark so early here.

So we went to look at all the different lights around the city. The lights are a big thing here. They even have their own website, which comes with a walking map of where each light sight is across the town! The moose were pretty cool.

Sunday 10 December 2017

After a bit of a lie in and some soy yogurt, i headed off to the gym!

At home, one of my favourite gyms is Barry’s bootcamp. When I remembered there was also one in Stockholm, and it was about a 5 minute walk from where I’m staying, I had to go!

What I didn’t quite appreciate, but perhaps should have been obvious, is that the whole class was in Swedish.

But it was fine. I’ve been many times before so knew the general flow of the class. And learnt 5-4-3-2-1 in Swedish in the process! They also did different flavour protein shakes to those we get at home – so got one of the Christmas specials, gingerbread.

I had found a lunch place that I wanted to go to – Mahalo – and it was quite far away. So I decided to walk there. And it took about an hour.

Back through the busy old town of Gamla Stan and across onto the next island, south of the old town.

This island seemed to be largely housing, with a long street of shops running down the length of it from east to west.

Some shops were open. Including a fancy liquorice shop! I’ve been trying to buy liquorice all trip. But most places seem to only sell the salt liquorice which is very popular here. But this shop also sold the sweet one.

Lunch was awesome. A massive plate of vegetables and tofu. The cafe (Mahalo) was crazy busy – vegan is a popular trend here!

On the walk back, stopped off at a Christmas tree market. And then to watch the sunset from various bridges. The sun was setting at 2.20pm. Rather early!

Then my phone died. It doesn’t seem to like the cold. But luckily I knew the way back.

I got back to the hotel at 3pm to pick up my bag. I was ready to head to the airport, then noticed that my plane was running 2 hours late. Annoying. So found a spot to sit in the cafe in the hotel for a while, whilst I charged my phone.

A short while later, it was cancelled. I was given some rebooking options – but not until tomorrow lunchtime.

So after a bit of googling, and working out where to go, I just booked myself into the same hotel for another night. Lucky they had space. And at a rate half the price I’ve been paying for the last few days!

I didn’t do much for the rest of the evening. Nice to have a bit of a rest.

But largely googling flight departures. And shortly afterwards, realised that my flight for tomorrow was now also cancelled. (Along with all other BA london flights!). Great.

So now I’ve booked one for Tuesday instead!

Monday 11 December 2017

I wasn’t meant to be waking up in Stockholm today.

But never mind. Things to do!

As I walked into breakfast, I spotted two people that I work with. Who are on holiday here. What a small world!

After a morning of work, I went back to Barrys for a lunchtime workout. And today it was in English. Nice to be able to understand the class this time around!

When I came outside, it was snowing so heavy. Probably the heaviest snow I’ve ever seen. But it wasn’t settling on the wet ground.

I went to a nearby cafe for lunch – Snikarbaken 7. Being a Monday, I assumed it was going to be quiet. How wrong I was! It was packed! But so cute. It was a shop and a cafe with only a handful of lunch options. But so delicious.

Then back to the hotel for an afternoon of work. Making it work using my iPad and phone. Essentially just calls for the entire day.

For dinner, I met up again with my friend and we went to a new rooftop bar in the middle of the city. The views were great – all across the lit-up city.

And the food was really good. But not very swedish! It was apparently Japanese with Scandi elements! I had tofu with avocado and picked vegetables on top. And sushi filled with vegetables. Really delicious.

One last wander through all the Christmas lights. And I found my favourite moose yet!

Tuesday 12 December 2017

First thing I did this morning was check on plane status. And it looked like it was going.

So after a quick breakfast of soy yoghurt and blueberries (my staple for the past few days), I was out in the snow headed back to the train station.

I already had a return ticket for the Arlanda express. But it was dated for Sunday. I asked at the ticket desk anyway. And the woman was nice enough to give me a new ticket for today, for free! Wouldn’t happen in England!

And after a broken down train. We were off.

Out of the city, there was heavy snow. A blanket of white covering everything.

Yet, the airport here seems to be able to cope! And we left on time. Finally back to England.


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