Traveling to Stockholm
Traveling from Rovaniemi to Stockholm is no easy feat. We first woke up in Rovaniemi Finland, at 4:30AM. Quickly packed our bags and went to the lobby to wait for our taxi. The City Hotel was lovely, to begin with, but what we really appreciated was something we had never enjoyed at another hotel before. Our taxi was arriving well before their breakfast buffet had opened, so they saved us a little cold breakfast platter for us to enjoy while we waited to leave. It was lovely.
A short while later we hopped into our taxi and were off to the train station. Despite how exhausting our 9-hour train ride was, it provided us with some gorgeous views. We slept most of the way, eventually arriving back in Helsinki. From there we went directly to our cruise ship which would take us on an overnight trip to Stockholm, Sweden.
This was a different cruise line from the one we came over on. But we sure enjoyed the journey. There was a lovely dinner buffet we enjoyed. Then there were some performers with truly terrible voices singing some of the worst top-40-hits. One reason we are not big cruise ship people.
Our Rovaniemi Hotel: City Hotel
Our Ferry ride from Helsinki to Stockholm: Silja
Our cruise ship docked around 10:00AM so we deboarded, dropped off our luggage at the train station, and hit the city.
We visited a little souvenir shop, picking up our postcard and sticker then continued to the royal palace. Much of it was under construction but it was interesting how buried within the city the building is. We could have easily been missed it.
We decided to get lunch but there was one place we had our heart set on.
It was a quick free bus ride from the train station to the largest Ikea in the world! We went straight to the restaurant for the famous Swedish meatballs. It was so good and the presentation was much nicer than any other Ikea meal we had experienced.
Rather than spend the rest of the day getting lost in the largest Ikea in the world we went straight to the exit to buy some swedish fish. To my disappointment, they did not have any actual Swedish fish. Just some dumb knockoffs that we didn’t realize until it was too late. I am still trying to finish the bag.
We took the Ikea bus back to the city center to collect our luggage and check into our apartment hotel. Our night ended with a visit to the grocery store and looking at all of our cool photos from Rovaniemi.
M had been up frequently the night before not feeling well. But he pumped himself full of Emergency and Advil to try an get through everything on our Stockholm to-do list.
We first boarded the subway and headed to one of the many islands of Stockholm. This island we dubbed, museum island. There were tons! First, there was Skansen, the outdoor museum we planned on visiting first, the Nordic Museum, the Vasa museum, and the Abba museum (yes, that Abba) all located on this rather small island.
As mentioned, our first stop was Skansen. It is the first outdoor museum in the world and gives its guests a taste of what it is like to live in Sweden back in the day. They have a large piece of land filled with old wooden buildings, homes, schools, and churches. There is also a zoo featuring some common animals you would find when traveling throughout Sweden.
After looking at a few of the cozy cabins we continued to the animal section. A lot of the animals available were ordinary animals you would often see in any zoo. But there was one I was particularly interested in visiting, the moose. And we did!
As well as many other friendly creatures.
After the park, we visited their little gift shop which was filled with traditional Swedish souvenirs and trinkets. Perfect opportunity to find me a little something…
We took the tram one stop to another side of the island where we visited the Vasa museum. Beforehand I knew nothing about what to expect but was completely amazed when we walked in and saw a giant ship from the 1600’s. The ship was in incredible condition and was 98% original.
We took a few photos before a short tour.
The ship was built by the king of Sweden who basically wanted to show off to his brother, who was the king of Poland. The ship was brightly painted and had tons of cannons, more than normal for that time period. So they didn’t really know how to build the ship properly. Basically, it was to top heavy and 20 minutes into the maiden voyage a gust of wind tilted the ship causing flooding into the cannon holes. Thus, sinking the entire ship.
The museum was very detailed with a theater room, furniture from the ship, the ships sails, and skeletons found in the wreckage.
After the tour, we grabbed lunch at their little cafe. Then continued to explore more the museum had to offer.
M was starting to feel that cold from earlier so we returned to our hotel/apartment for the evening.
With a few things left on our list, we began our day by hitting a popular shopping street, Drottninggatan. There were tons of shops, especially home furniture stores and items featuring “Swedish Design”. But all were a bit too far outside our budget.
Once hitting the end of the street we continued to explore by visiting the Ostermalm Saluhall, an indoor market, where we were hoping to pick up lunch. After exiting the subway we noticed it was located in a pretty high-end area.
This was confirmed when we entered the market and it was filled with elderly ladies in mink coats picking up their afternoon caviar. Cute.
We decided not to eat lunch there. There were a few restaurant options, lots of fish for sale, and other lovely nordic treats, but we decided to visit another place down the street I saw highly ranked on Trip Advisor under cheap eats.
The restaurant was called, Mom’s Kitchen, and it is moments like these that make traveling so fun.
We walked into the little cafe and was warmly greeted by a man with an American accent. The place was small and only had a glass case with a bunch of pre-made meals. Um ok.
We stumbled to translate the menu a bit, then the owner quickly stopped us and in English walked us through every homemade traditional Swedish meal they offered. M choose a sort of fish stew over potatoes and I ordered a veal cake with mashed potatoes. While our food cooked, we continued to talk to the owner. Turns out he is from LA, about 5 minutes from where I lived in California.
We then sat down and our food was quickly delivered. Goodness, it was good. Traditional food with high-quality ingredients. It was soo much cheaper then it should have been.
As we paid for our bill as asked the owner what brought him to Sweden. He gave us the quick version of his life story and turns out he was in the military! We laughed over the similarities and he eagerly gave us some pastries for free. Which were to die for.
After our amazing lunch, we headed over to old town to shop the many souvenir stores.
We were looking for a few things but did not find exactly what we were looking for. So we headed back to the hotel/apartment, enjoyed dinner, and packed for the return trip home.
It was the end of our trip and we had an early train to Copenhagen. Slept most of the way, but we got our Denmark hot dogs once arriving at the train station.
Our travel was not over, we had another long bus ride, then ferry journey from Denmark to Germany. Took a beer and cider intermission. Then got back on a train to Hamburg.
Spent the night in Hamburg. It was too late to finish the rest of our journey home. So we rested at a hotel and picked up some Chinese food from the train station that looked amazing! Turns out it was! Yum, train station Asian food.
The following morning we took 5 trains to finally get home. Oddly enough, after weeks of living in negative degree weather. Strasbourg’s 40F degree weather felt….warm.
What has happened to me?
Hotel: ApartDirect Sveavägen