Stockholm

Järnpojke (Iron Boy) aka "Little Boy who looks at the Moon"—at 15 cms (5.9 in) high is the smallest public monument in Sweden

Järnpojke (Iron Boy) aka “Little Boy who looks at the Moon”—at 15 cms (5.9 in) high is the smallest public monument in Sweden

Dates visited: August 13, 2012 – August 16, 2012

After spending 9 days in Russia, surrounded by signs and names in Cyrillic script and advertisements for unfamiliar Russian brands, I had (subconsciously) missed not being bombarded by the marketing blitz of familiar brands! I realized this when, during our taxi ride from the Stockholm Arlanda Airport to our hotel, we got excited at seeing advertisements for the brands we typically see in the US. Point to note is that of all our travels so far, Russia (Moscow, in particular) seemed the most detached from the English-speaking world.

Stockholm is a beautiful European city with really tall beautiful people! No, seriously, everyone is immensely tall and strikingly attractive! We enjoyed our time people-watching in the city as we strolled along the Stockholm harbor and meandered through the cobbled winding alleys of Gamla Stan (The Old Town). Stockholm has some fine architecturally pleasant buildings such as Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), Stockholms Domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral) and Nationalmuseum. Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum) has a weird exterior until you realize that it is built to accommodate the royal warship Vasa, the world’s oldest complete and identified ship. This ship, unfortunately, sank almost instantly to the bottom of Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage in 1628.

Another famous attraction is Skansen. Rohan loved it for its open-air zoo (domestic and wild Nordic animals such as bears, wolves and lynx), I loved it for its open-air museum depicting Swedish rural life from 16th to early 20th century, and Prachi loved it for the live music and dancing.

But the crème de la crème on this trip was visiting the Grand Hôtel—not because Nobel Prize winners and their families always stay at the hotel, or not because it is the only Swedish member of The Leading Hotels of the World. But because it offers the most delicious smörgåsbord! My friends surprised me with the smörgåsbord since it was my birthday and they managed to get a dinner appointment and a table with an awesome view of the Royal Palace across the harbor. The smörgåsbord was just out of the world—herrings, gravlax with hovmästare sauce, charcuterie meat, meatballs with lingonberry jam, and so much more!

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