Good Evening Europe, this is Sweden calling! I just got back from a biggy trip all round Scandinavia. I hit up parts of Norway, Denmark and Sweden but of course there is so much to see and do there that I mainly went to the big cities/obvious spots. All those posts will be bundling out (Copenhagen already has) over the next few weeks but here is Stockholm. I timed it so I would be in the city to also experience Eurovision (sneaky planner here). The city was a fluff with gays, flags and music – not a bad combination. I probably didn’t get the most genuine ‘Swedish’ experience but none the less I loved every second. There is a lot to see in the city but considering I was hungover and out dancing most nights things are a bit limited haha. None the less – Stockholm!
Probably the most famous export apart from meatballs and the Muppet chef are ABBA. That’s why there is a whole museum devoted to them where people can learn all there is to know about the supergroup. I am not the biggest ABBA fan but I can appreciate a good party tune here and there. The museum reminded me of Graceland and how overwhelmed I was with the power and influence Elvis had. Seeing all things ABBA from outfits/records to lunch boxes and even paperclips really blows your mind. To be propelled into that amount of stardom and have your face on every magazine and media outlet must’ve been scary. Even after ending ABBA have kept pushing though with their musical, movie and now dinner experience. I think it’s worth witnessing the story (there are also some interactive exhibits where you can dress up in their kooky outfits and sing with the band themselves).
To get quite fancy and fine head out of the city to Drottningholm Palace, the official private residence of the Swedish Royal Family. As it is a live-in/used home a lot of the palace is off limits but you can get a sense of the decor and ambience from the public section. For me the focal point and highlight were the gardens. They were created over time and therefore the style varies from English to Baroque and has water features, wild animals and a Chinese Pavilion. It’s a relaxing day out to soak up some history and feel lah de dah.
Of course I had to grab some meatballs (just a given really). I went to Meatballs for the People and it was delicious. The place is very urban with wooden tables and uses mini-saucepans as plates. It’s a limited menu but how far can you stretch when offering up meatballs? The pickled cucumber/veggies alongside the fresh lingonberries and gravy just smother and blanket the mash and balls perfectly. The biggest takeaway is that it smashes IKEA’s balls, so always go to a ‘professional baller’.
Gamla Stan is the old part of the city and central hub for all tourist activity. It’s a bizarre mecca of beautiful, classic architecture full of bric-a-brac souvenirs no-one ever needs. Places to check out would be the Stockholm Cathedral and the Royal Palace. If you want somewhere to grab lunch or people watch check out Stortorget aka the oldest square in the city. All of these places are walking distance and worth an afternoon exploration.
I love riding the subway. I enjoy the sensation of going through tunnels underground and thinking about all the people overhead on land going about their business. Something cool about the metro here is that a lot of the stations are decorated, either with art features or more immersive pieces. There were some that really felt like you were in a cave, delving deeper into the earth. The red caves are such a beautiful contrast to the metal/machinery and it’s kind of like being in a post-apocalyptic movie.
Naturally I had to include a little bit about Eurovision. The whole city was decorated with banners and flags, and there were two built up village/screen areas for people to watch and feel involved. I luckily managed to go to a few shows and the atmosphere was tip top. Some people are full on hardcore fans and know such insane trivia it blows my mind. I felt so proud to be part of Europe and see all the love and enthusiasm (hopefully leaving the EU won’t change that haha). It really is a big party and everyone has the biggest smile on their faces.