A few months ago when I booked the flights for this trip, my best friend from college commented on how she had always wanted to go to Scandinavia. “Come along!” I told her. So she did!
Nicole and her husband Mark arrived in Stockholm the day before us, so I figured they could take the day to get over their jet lag. We arrived around noon and got settled in to our “boatel”, the Rygersfjord, and then met Nicole and Mark on Djurgarden at the Vasa ship museum. We toured the museum together and then took the ferry to Gamla Stan to walk for a bit. We had dinner in the old quarter at a fantastic restaurant called Magnus Ladulas, where we were able to try some delicious reindeer meat, and a delicious dinner of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers, and lingonberries. Mmmm so good and way better than Ikea’s. Afterwards we had a glass of wine on the top of our boat, watching the sunset at 10:30.
The next morning we met Mark and Nicole at their hotel for a fabulous breakfast, and then we went on a walking tour of Gamla Stan, visiting such sites as the smallest statue (10 cm), the narrowest alley (90 cm), and learning all about the history and culture of Stockholm. We visited the National Library, went by the Nobel Museum, and Storkyrkan, the cathedral. Another great dinner at the same restaurant (it was really good!), followed by ice cream on Belgian waffles, and then back to our boat for some more sundowners. Obviously, travel for all of us is just as much about the food and drinks as it is the history and the culture!
On our last day in Stockholm, we all visited the Nordiska Museum and the Historical Museum. Both were really good. We had an early dinner in Ostermalm at Zink Grill. Before we all left the next day, I had time to go in search of a few key scenes from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy in our district of Sodermalm.
Nicole and Mark took a flight, while Chris and I took a high speed train, to Copenhagen. Upon arriving at 7:30, we met at their very swanky hotel (the Hotel Alexandra) for drinks, and then wound up at at a Croatian restaurant called Dubrovnik’s for dinner. No complaints about the food!
On Sunday we took a rather lengthy, but super informative, three hour walking tour that showed us the main bits of Copenhagen. Palaces, museums, statues, squares, Tivoli, etc. Afterwards we found the Little Mermaid statue of our own, entered the Marble Church, and climbed the Round Tower and looked at a solar flare using the telescope in the 400 year old observatory. Chris and I ate an early dinner in Nyhavn, and walked home via Christiana.
Today, our last full day, we met Nicole and Mark for a huge breakfast at their hotel, and then while Mark visited bookstores in town, Nicole and Chris and I took the train to Elsinore, home of the Kronborg castle and the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare this year, they were performing scenes from the play in various rooms around the castle. Afterward, Chris and I visited the Royal Danish Library, which had an excellent exhibition of their most treasured items, including a 7th century manuscript, original Hans Christian Andersen writings, drawings by Matisse, Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa, and many more. It was a wonderful exhibit and I’m glad we got the chance to stop in (plus it was air conditioned, always a favorite for me). We all had dinner at Halifax, and enjoyed one more stroll around the city looking for ice cream.
We will return to Copenhagen briefly for one day for our flight to Iceland and then home. In the meantime, we are off to Krakow to finish up our Baltic leg of the trip!