That means “hi” in Swedish, and is pronounced exactly like “hey!” in English. It’s both convenient and super confusing because every time we walk into a store or a place we’ve never been, people say “hey!” with an enthusiasm like I’m supposed to know them, but I don’t. For those nervous about language barriers while traveling, Stockholm could a great choice–everyone speaks perfect English when you need it and the culture and city are totally unique. Plus, it’s really worth mentioning that the flights here are crazy cheap. One way tickets into Stockholm’s main airport from the Bay Area are ~$250 (less in some cases) on Norwegian Air and make for a great entry point into Europe.
So many fun things have happened over the past 2 days since the last post!
We started Thursday, our 3rd day in Stockholm, with a free walking tour. I have been skeptical in the past of free walking tours but this was my 2nd one, and I’m sold! Basically, the tour is designed to fit anyone’s budget. They’re totally free, and you pay them by either leaving a tip of your choosing/ ability or writing positive reviews on the internet–or both! In my experience, they’re guided by enthusiatic locals who just love their city. We learned a ton about history, modern times, and Swedish culture–they are self proclaimed passive aggressive, btw. 🙂 My favorite part of Swedish culture so far is how progressive they are, and have always been. They celebrate equality of all types: women, gay rights, family contribution, etc.
Afterward, we watched the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace (to my point above, there was a female guard which I’ve never seen in London, Italy, etc.), and toured the exhibits in the palace itself. This included The Treasury, which was my favorite part. They had actual swords, jewels, crowns, coats, etc. of real Kings and Queens past. These items were SO old–some going back to the late 1400s. I sure hope people are collecting neat things in the United States. No photos allowed, unfortunately.
From there, we headed back to our neighborhood for lunch, and then back out later in the day to the Fotografiska museum, which is a Stockholm highlight for sure (shot out to Colin for the recommendation!). Because we knew they had a “rooftop” bar/ cafe, we decided to time our visit so that we could enjoy a beverage up there as the sun set.
First of all, this is my heaven. Aside from the wonderful photography exhibits, all of their drinks, each which is complex and layered in flavor, are non alcoholic. Sure, you can add alcohol if desired, but the drinks are designed to stand on their own. Spoiler alert: they did.
Round two and the view from our seats to our East. Additional photos here, by the way.
Then, we caught some brief shut eye because we had to be up in a few hours to watch the MOST EXCITING THING OF ALL- – MODEL 3 LAUNCH!! All day leading up to launch we had been watching the videos of the lines, the customer buzz, the everything, and to be honest, it really made me miss being there with everyone. A huge, heartfelt hug to all my colleagues and friends. I’m so excited for the next few years together as we continue to change the world. 🙂
The next morning, Friday, another exciting adventure- – to IKEA! Swedes appear to take their IKEA seriously; they even provide a free bus which runs all day in Stockholm to take people there and back. It’s magical. We boarded the bus with mostly Swedish grandmas and a few young people (no other tourists) and arrived at the largest IKEA in the world just 30 minutes later. We had fika, walked around, and then rounded the trip out with some cheap lunch from their cafe (Swedish meatballs with lingonberry, of course).
Once back in the city, we did a lot more walking, exploring, and really enjoyed the city. The weather has been cold, but when the skies are blue, the city is truly beautiful! The buildings and architecture are great. Check the photo gallery, here. Sorry it’s not in descending order; I haven’t mastered that in wordpress yet but I’ll work on it.
Finally, Friday closed with an argument with a Swedish washing machine. This is included more so I can look back and laugh, but the struggle was real. After Googling and translating the manual from Swedish, we still didn’t know how the hell to operate it, which slot the soap went into (insert joke about poor IKEA instructions here) so we just winged it. Happy to report we still have clothes that fit and are the intended color.
The monster in question:
That’s all for now. We have today and half of tomorrow (Sunday) in Stockholm before hopping to Berlin.
posted from: Gran Cafe in Sodermalm, Stockholm.