One year later, I’m finally finding the time to document my memories of our trip. I’m calling them diary entries, because they’re mostly thought dumps to recall as many details as possible – mostly for memory sake. I’m already forgetting little details about our trip, which is sad as it was really a once in a lifetime experience that I want to remember for the rest of my life. So these posts will be long and full of pictures. Consider yourself warned.
We spent 5 days in Stockholm. Mike had been before and said it was in his top 5 cities to live in, so he wanted us to spend the majority of our Scandinavian honeymoon there. Cool!
The train ride from Oslo to Stockholm was interesting. After feeling exploited in Oslo, I convinced Mike that it would be a great idea to make peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch on the train ride to Stockholm to save us some money. So we bought a giant loaf of bread at a food market just before we went to the train station and a few hours into our train ride, we dug in. I normally exercise a bit of restraint with peanut butter and jam on my sandwiches, but for some reason, we both thought it was acceptable to add giant gobs of each onto our sandwich. It was ridiculously indulgent and we were patting ourselves on the back for our delicious and cheap meal.
Until an hour or so had passed and we both remarked that we were feeling extremely nauseated. Sitting on the train with peanut butter and jam cemented at the bottom of our stomachs was awful! We laugh about it now, but we couldn’t touch peanut butter for the rest of our trip which is normally unheard of for me.
Somehow we navigated our way through the subway system to check in to our hotel with our five pieces of luggage and sore bellies. Mike had a really squeaky wheel on his largest luggage which echoed along the subway hallways in Stockholm. We got so many dirty looks for that! I was so glad when we finally arrived to our hotel to check in.
After two icy runs in Oslo, one that resulted in Mike’s phone being smashed, we decided to try running on the treadmill that the hotel gym. We also wanted to take advantage of having access to a gym since the rest of our trip was likely going to consist of AirBnbs and staying with family/friends.
It took me a while to get used to the style of showers that we saw everywhere in Sweden. Generally speaking, it’s one of the cleanest countries that I’ve ever been to. But quite a few places didn’t have a separate space carved out for the shower which meant that when you did shower, water could technically cover your entire bathroom floor. It kind of made me dread taking showers in there. I obviously had to live with it, but it wasn’t the last time we saw bathrooms styled like that so I guess it’s a Swedish thing?
Due to the lack of day light (the “sun” came out from 9am to 3pm, but the clouds mostly covered it so it went from really dark to just dark), we don’t have too many bright or colourful photos.
But trust me when I say that this city was full of charm, character and vibrancy.
We loved it.
It helps that it was a baked goods haven.
I didn’t mind the snow in Stockholm. Since the window of day light hours was so small, the snow helped brighten up the city once the sun went down.
One of the reasons why we chose to stay in a hotel in Stockholm was because of the breakfast buffet. This was something Mike was particularly excited about (because… food) and I was on board because I’m always up for saving money where possible. So we did what any self-respecting adult would do – we ate so much at breakfast that we were full until dinner. It was kind of fun to eat without abandon – yes, we had to deal with food comas and extremely sore bellies, but how often in life can you literally eat until you can’t fit any more food in your stomach? haha. Not often (and no, it isn’t tempting to make this a habit).
We managed to do 5 runs in Stockholm, 4 of them outside. I’ll save my running recap for a separate post some day (if I can remember the details!) but those 4 runs included 2 easy runs, 1 tempo run (3x3km with 90 sec recovery – yuck!) and hill repeats in Södermalm (up Götgatan and Hökens gata 8 times), a trendy neighbourhood with some of the best coffee and baked goods we had in Stockholm. We also made a few friends through the Run with Me Stockholm group and went for one snowy run and one hill run with them. We actually ended up meeting Nicky, one of the original members of the group, in Istanbul a couple months later. I loved Europe for making everything – and everyone – so accessible like that!
One of our “rave runs” was the snowy one that we did through the University grounds. I get grumpy around snow sometimes, but this was a run to remember. It felt like we were running through an enchanted forest. We had most of it all to ourselves and I felt like a kid again.
None of our pictures could really capture how awesome this forest looked while covered in snow.
Stockholm is surprisingly diverse as well in terms of food options. This is always something I pay attention to when I visit a European city. Growing up in Toronto, I’ve been spoiled with having endless options and variety in food. So I almost cried for joy when we stumbled upon a Korean restaurant serving bibimbap on our first nights. Bibimbap is one of my all-time favourite comfort meals. It was everything I was craving and we actually went back there a second time because it was so good. I know it seems weird to eat Korean food in Sweden, but I had my fill of Swedish food at breakfast.
This was one fantastic bibimbap.
The coffee scene in Sweden was pretty amazing as well. The money we saved on lunches went straight to oat milk cappuccinos (SO GOOD!) and delicious baked goods. It’s too bad that I only discovered one of my favourite baked goods – cardamom buns – of all time near the end of our trip.
I overlooked these when I first saw them as I thought they’d be pretty plain and boring. I was so wrong!
I’ve had my fair share of cinnamon buns, but cardamom buns were some of the most uniquely flavoured things I’ve ever eaten. They’re less heavy than frosted cinnamon buns, but full of flavour and have an amazing aroma. If I had tried one sooner, I probably would have eaten multiples of these every day.
I plan to tackle baking some Swedish style buns some day soon to recreate these at home.
We didn’t do much sightseeing in a traditional sense. Our main goal was to get a feel for what life could be like in Stockholm. They had a booming tech scene and we wanted to understand how possible it would be to work within it. Every person we met spoke impeccable English. We started poking around on job boards and asked questions about neighbourhoods. We didn’t get so far as to look into what it would cost to rent a flat there, but we did ask around. Stockholm shot up to the top of our to-live list.
We did find ourselves a new bar that served one of our favourite Danish beers, Mikkeller (which I just discovered has now closed their Stockholm location :(), and at least two cafes that if we could see ourselves going back to on a regular basis. One was called Snickarbacken 7 (pic above) and the other Johan & Nyström Konceptbutik, which I wrote a Global Cup review about here.
It was really hard to leave Stockholm (minus the creepy hotel bathroom). Both of us were sure that we’d be back again in the summer, of course, that was back when we thought we would still be in Europe by then. Someday, I’d really like to return to Stockholm to see it during the summer. It was a bit depressing to have so little day light during the time we were there, but that’s just a Winter thing and I’m sure the summer more than makes up for it.
I could have easily spent at least another week exploring Stockholm properly. It felt like the days went by way too fast (which I think happens when it gets dark so quickly). On the morning of our 5th day in Stockholm, we left for Malmo early on a Friday morning. I know we’ll make our way back there again soon.