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Our Journey Begins in Stockholm

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

After a near-miss connection through Chicago (but not so close that we didn’t fit in time to grab a small bag of Garrett’s popcorn), and a long flight over the big pond on Scandinavian Airlines that delivered too much food and too little sleep, we landed in Stockholm to gorgeous blue skies and warm summer breezes. Our travel BFFs, Karen & Bryan, arrived two days earlier, so we met up with them at our hotel. In our pre-trip planning, we scheduled a three-hour Segway tour for the morning of our arrival. What better way to see the city and get a lay of the land? However, we didn’t factor in jet lag and lack of sleep into our plans – what were we thinking?!


We mustered through, although I may or may not have actually started to drift off while maneuvering a Segway through the streets of Stockholm! Our tour guide, Yuru (short for a Venezuelan name that we attempted to pronounce and sadly butchered), was fantastic and most enthusiastic about his new country (he moved here in search of a better life and he found it!).

Highlights of our tour were driving through the Kungsträdgården (originally the King's private garden) – their version of a mini Central Park. We also ventured over the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan – the original old town of Stockholm, the massive Royal Palace, and crossed multiple bridges. Did you know Stockholm comprises dozens of small islands connected by 54 bridges? Its makeup is one-third water, one-third parks, and one-third city.

We even saw the location of the famous six-day Norrmalmstorg bank heist in 1973, where hostages began to identify with their captors and the term “Stockholm Syndrome’ was born.

We stopped briefly for our first Fika – a traditional Swedish coffee break. Fika is what teatime is to Britain. We devoured our first kanelbulle – a tasty cinnamon pastry treat.


Lastly, we toured the island of Djurgården, known for its many museums – including the Vasa Museum, the ABBA Museum (yes, that’s the one), the Viking Museum, and the Spiritmuseum – the home of the Absolut Vodka brand. I think we know what museum was just added to our itinerary!


After our Segway fun, we returned to the hotel, where Mark and I promptly crashed for a much-needed nap. Yes, I know – we broke the golden rule of international travel: stay awake the first full day and until bedtime. Yeah, that just wasn’t happening.


We woke up in plenty of time to head to the Ice Bar for our 7:30 reservations, where we enjoyed several pre-dinner cocktails from carved-ice glasses in 20-degree temps!

We then ventured to Gamla Stan, where we enjoyed drinks and an outstanding dinner at Fem Små Hus – Swedish cuisine with a French twist. The restaurant’s seven beautiful underground vaults span across five buildings dating back to the 1600s. A woman, Anna Lindberg, ran a restaurant in one of the vaults and is said to have also “rented a room by the hour” in another. Apparently, she was quite the entrepreneur!

After a lovely stroll back to our hotel at dusk (11:00 pm), we called it a night. On to a beautiful day of site seeing on Sunday!

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