Maggie and I have crossed the halfway point in our journey of...self-discovery? Self-reflection? Seeing who makes the best desserts? Anyway, one contender is the Swedes, which we learned while spending the last five nights in Stockholm.
First of all, I think I have a case of Stockholm Syndrome, because this place was great! One thing I really enjoy about visiting cities after tourism season (besides the chill in the air) is that there are no lines at anything. Photography Museum? No lines. Sunken Ship Museum? No lines. Amusement Park? Closed for the season.
We ended up having time to visit quite a few museums, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to rank them here. We missed the ABBA Museum, but I'm sure if you like ABBA, you won't be disappointed.
Vasa Museum: The Vasa was a ship that sunk in the waters around Stockholm within minutes of setting sail on its maiden voyage in 1628. The ship was salvaged and this museum was built around it, serving as an exhaustive explainer of this beautiful centerpiece. The ship sank because it didn't have nearly enough ballast (weight in the bottom of the boat) for how comically tall it was. I can't recommend this place enough. They have tons of well thought out exhibits, and on each floor (maybe 6 or 7 in total), you get a new vantage point of the ship.
Skansen: This is an open-air Swedish history museum that contains a zoo (with lots of wolves and bears), and is the most pleasant walk you'll find in the city. You can even purchase a hotdog and cook it yourself over an open fire. On a nice day, this might be preferable to the indoor Vasa Museum.
Fotografiska: The Photography Museum offered a pretty expansive exhibit on one of Sweden's most well known photographers, Lars Tunbjörk. I enjoyed his work, though one of the patrons at the museum was audibly farting as we walked around and it was pretty hard to keep it together. I heard the bar on the top floor is great too, but we missed it.
The Royal Palace: From the outside, the Royal Palace isn't that interesting of a building, but they let you view quite a few rooms on the inside, and if you so desire, you can buy postcards that feature photos of the royal family. You can also catch the changing of the guard just outside of the palace at 12:15pm every weekday, but it's not essential.
Spritmuseum: This museum is dedicated to alcohol, its history in Sweden, and being lame. For some reason, it offers a room of what it feels like to be hungover. Why would anyone ever want that. Skip it.
We went to a few good restaurants in Stockholm as well. My two favorite were Bistro Bestick (last photo) and B.A.R., which had a meat and seafood counter where you could pick what you wanted and they'd expertly grill it for you. We also went to a place that gave us one slider for about $18. Food prices here were no joke!
Generally, I just loved the feel of Stockholm. It's a city made up of several islands and features some of the best public transportation I've ever seen for a mid-sized city. The metro is a must visit for both transit and art enthusiasts. Several stations (including Solna Centrum and T-Centralen, highlighted in photos below) are their very own art exhibits, and all it cost us was the price of a subway ticket (which like all things in Stockholm, was kind of on the high side).
We're now on the way to Copenhagen on a train that was delayed three hours due to "a fire that's too close to the tracks." It's like we never left California.
As always, the photos are below. Thank you for reading.