In June, Azim and I took one of our most beloved trips ever – we travelled to Sweden to see our dear friends tie the knot 🙂
We debated about how long we would stay – with our own wedding coming up, it was hard to justify spending money on a vacation, but Azim had never been to Stockholm before and I knew he would love it. We treated it as a “pre-honeymoon”, because we knew we wouldn’t be getting on a plane together anytime soon. In the end, we stayed a week…and it definitely wasn’t long enough 🙂
Travelling to Stockholm from Toronto is not the easiest journey because there are no direct flights (what is going on Pearson and Arlanda!!), so we tried to strategically sleep when we could so that we could avoid jet lag when we landed.
As soon as we arrived on Friday evening, we went for a long walk and for a nice dinner. We explored the neighbourhood we were staying in called Vasastan. It’s residential, and very cute, but a little far from many of the major sights. Stockholm is a walkable city, and Azim and I are both fairly active, so we thought it was fine. If you have never been to Stockholm, and find 30 min+ walks to be tiring, I’d recommend a more central location.
We made our way down to Gamla Stan, because before dinner we had a ghost walking tour booked! If you know my family well, you know that we are a bit macabre this way. We love spooky activities like ghost tours, séances, and haunted houses 🙂
Our tour guide pointed out that Stockholm is one of the best places for a ghost tour, because of the city’s gruesome and violent history (they seem to have always been fighting with the Danes at some point or another). And the best part about Swedish culture, is that they like to mark some of the more grisly occasions with celebrations! For example, Sweden has a not-so-nice history of witch-hunting. Many innocent women were persecuted and met untimely, painful deaths as a result. To remember this time, small children will dress up as “witches” around Easter, and go door-to-door asking for treats. As well, Stortorget, where the term “blood bath” was invented after a particularly awful mass beheading, is now the sight of a cozy Christmas market.
Azim and I had so much fun on the tour – it was a great way to see Gamla Stan (the old part of town) and learn more about Swedish history.
After the tour we went for dinner at Kryp In. Azim and I think indulging in local and excellently prepared food on our travels is very important – whether that’s cheap eats from a renowned food truck, or finer dining like this Stockholm gem. Kryp In is a jewel hidden among the other tourist traps in Gamla Stan. The menu serves traditional Swedish dishes in a contemporary way. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for dinner in the neighbourhood!
The next day, we met up with our good friends, Laura and Mario. Laura and I have been besties since we lived together in France in 2013, where we met Linda. I am so grateful that our friendships have endured – when I started that semester abroad, I never would have thought that I would make life long friends, and that we’d be celebrating each other’s weddings a few years down the road!
Laura, Mario, Azim, and I took a fun road trip out of the city to celebrate Linda and Andreas’ wedding (thank you Mario, for driving!). I’m not going to go into details about the wedding, because it was a private and personal day.
I will say that it was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to, and will ever go to. I was so emotional seeing Linda and Andreas say their vows to each other (even though I couldn’t understand because it was in Swedish, ha!), and I felt so much love surrounding them. It was so nice to meet their parents and families, and to spend the night dancing, eating, and drinking with old friends.
Linda and I are a great long-distance couple 🙂 We keep in touch sporadically over social media or Whatsapp and send Christmas cards…but when we meet up during our travels, the real magic happens. We have so much in common, even though we come from two different countries and upbringings. She makes me laugh so much, and I appreciate her love for organization, being on time, and leaving the club at a reasonable time 🙂 Some of my favourite memories in my life, are my conversations with her.
I also love Andreas, who is truly the best man on this planet. He is so thoughtful, generous, kind, PATIENT, and funny. I was especially emotional at this wedding, because I was honoured to be a part of their engagement when he proposed in Toronto a couple of years ago J I’m tearing up just reminiscing about all of this now.
Congratulations, Linda and Andreas. I love you so much, and Azim and I were so, SO happy to celebrate the best day ever with you <3
After the wedding, we were fortunately able to spend some time in a cute little village called Trosa with Laura and Mario. We walked along the water and had coffee and ice cream before heading back into Stockholm. Laura and Mario were ending their amazing Eurotrip, so we parted ways, and Azim and I spent our last few days exploring the city.
For this leg of our trip, we stayed in a more central location called Norrmalm, in the most GORGEOUS art deco inspired hotel called the Haymarket by Scandic. The hotel is an Instagrammer’s DREAM – everything is millennial pink, offset by velvet jewel tones, gold geometric fixtures, and lush marble. I loved the shower in our bathroom, which had a beautiful mosaic of a flamingo! The value is quite good, because a VERY generous breakfast buffet is included. I would definitely recommend it!
A few highlights from the rest of our trip:
Our free walking tour of Sodermalm. Sodermalm is one of the coolest and most hip areas in Stockholm, but it also has a rich history. We had the loveliest guide named Francesca, who kept us entertained and gave us great recommendations in the area. We checked out some great vintage shops, a sneaker store, a cool beer and pizza place called Omnipollos Hatt, and met up with Linda and Andreas to have DELICIOUS Swedish meatballs at Meatballs for the People!
We took a bike tour, which I like to do in every city I visit. It’s a great way to cover lots of ground in a short amount of time, and helps narrow down which sites to go back and explore more. One additional highlight from our bike tour was getting to see Djugarden. We only had a few days in the city, so I knew we wouldn’t be able to spend lots of time there. Djugarden used to be the hunting grounds for the royal family, and in fact there are still some beautiful old mansions (hunting lodges) dotted around. Now, it is home to an amusement park and several museums. On our bike tour we were able to visit an incredible garden and greenhouse called Rosendals Tradgardskafe for delicious fika! I would highly recommend this!
Speaking of fika…we visited Vette Katten for amazing cake, tea, and coffee. I love this traditional restaurant, which has just as many locals (mostly old Swedish grandmas) as tourists. I had the “princess cake”, which is maybe my second favourite Swedish treat after semlor. We also had amaaaazing coffee at Fabrique, which has several locations around the city.
Stockholm is one of my favourite cities to shop in. I love their quirky vintage style, so Sodermalm is heaven for me. I also adore & Other Stories (owned by H&M but not Canada YET!) and Acne. Azim and I spent a lot of time in the gorgeous old department store called Åhléns. But I love the shopping in Ostermalm the best. Azim and I ended up buying each other our wedding day fragrances from Byredo. Scent produces such a nostalgic and powerful reaction. Mojave Ghost and Bibliothèque will always remind me of this perfect time in my life <3
Some notable restaurants I would recommend are Urban Deli, Eriks Gondolen, and Riche. We were lucky enough to go to a couple of these with Linda and Andreas, and had delicious meals! I had been to Urban Deli and Riche the last time I visited Stockholm, and they are still just as good.
Linda and Andreas also took us to a super grungy, super fun poolhall where I made a fool of myself playing ping pong, and totally whooped Azim’s butt at shuffleboard 😉 . These are the fun, non-touristy things you get to do when you are visiting with locals! Linda and Andreas, thank you so much for the amazing memories.
Sweden, we love you and we will be back…