When this captivating city takes you hostage, there’s not much to do but identify with it and embrace its tastefully whimsical culture. Take a dose of each of the following to work through a traveler’s case of Stockholm Syndrome:
Served with gravy, lingonberries and mashed potatoes, this is a tasty traditional dish. For a particularly fun experience, check out Meatballs for the People, a hip and cozy restaurant where you can choose from a varying selection of meats for your meatballs, such as moose or wild boar.
In other words, a coffee break or the act of taking one. In Sweden this is a way of life, as you may have suspected if you’ve read the Millennium series. You can fika to take a break from work, to get together with friends, or even take your fika to go. Enough said.
- Compact living
There’s something so satisfying about practical and efficient design. Ikea’s impact and functional design in general can be seen inside every building in town. Visit the Nordic Museum to learn – among many other things – about the history of homes and interiors in Sweden, or take the free Ikea bus from the Central Station to shop at the largest Ikea in Sweden (second largest in the world).
Or really any Swedish pop music (think The Cardigans or Ace of Bass). Listening to this upbeat fluff can pick up any mood. Stockholm is home to ABBA: The Museum, a cute and interactive experience involving history narrated by the 70s singers themselves, props and costumes (including men’s and women’s platform boots), and karaoke for hits like “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo.” As it says at the museum’s entrance: “Walk in, dance out.”
This is a city of islands so fish (not just in gummy candy form) can be eaten at any time of day. If you thought you’d never be interested in eating fish for breakfast, you’ll be surprised by how appetizing a freshly smoked salmon can be. The same even goes for pickled herring and, of course, seafood stew for lunch or dinner. Go fish!
- Say “hej!”
Pronounced “hey,” there’s probably nothing weirder or more disconcertingly freeing for an English speaker than addressing a stranger this way. In Sweden, it’s not as informal as it sounds and can even be used to say good-bye (similar to greetings like ciao or aloha). So “hej!” away.
Get well soon!
P.S. Later this week I write about the Sami, an ethnic minority group in Sweden, originally nomadic reindeer herders.