Notes From The Road: Stockholm, Sweden

photos! 1 currants // 2, 3 stockholm flea market + book sale // 4 havrebollar – they taste kind of like cookie dough rolled in coconut // 5 downtown apartments // 6 picnic overlooking the city // 7, 8 salty black licorice candy, bulk candy // 9 fancy building // 10 porridge with lingonberry jam

I’m spending six weeks poking around Europe, visiting friends and clients and (as you can see) stuffing my face with fantastic food.  You can read about previous travel adventures here.Photo evidence to the contrary, I swear to God I’ve been doing things other than eating here in Stockholm.  Really!

Things like:

* Watching 36,000 people (!) run through the streets of Stockholm at midnight and dancing to a fantastic reggaeton dj at the finish line.  Also, witnessing a dude running in vinyl shorts and a full-faced gimp mask. You sir, are one committed runner. We made our way back to the train station while the race was still on and had to cross the street three times – which meant finding an opening in the huge flood of racers, jumping into the race and running along with them (and sort of sideways) in our dresses in order to get to the other side.

* Picnicing on the hills overlooking the city with my friend Emmy.  To the tunes of an actual old-school, battery powered, cassette-playing stereo.  Awesome.

* Navigating the metro system like a boss.  “Oh, yeah I can totally meet you Skanstull.  I’ll just jump on the green line at Friedhemsplan.  No bigs.”  You guys, I get so impressed with myself when I navigate public transport.

* Attempting not to stare, open-mouthed, at everyone who walks the streets of the Sodermalm neighborhood.  It’s like The Sartorialist, in real life.   In other news:  WHY DO YOU GET TO BE BOTH TAN AND NATURALLY BLOND?  Where is the justice in that?

* Ordering a latte/salad/metro card using my American phrasing “Could I have a _______ please?” and getting the response “Yes!  Of course!”  I think maybe I’m saying it wrong?  The staff seems to think that I’m actually questioning their ability to give me the thing I’m requesting.

* Watching the blue-suited, silver-helmeted guards patrolling outside the royal palace.  They all seem to be 19 and ever so slightly embarrassed.

* Dancing to a dj, at a club-of-sorts, under a bridge (!!)  My 19-year-old self would have been so proud.  Europe!  DJs!  Non-traditional club space!

* Wanting to compliment every Swedish dude I meet on their impeccable manners, fashion sense, and just general sweetness.  It’s like an entire country of men you want your younger sister to date.  At the under-the-bridge club, I saw a group of eight well-dressed guys arrive with their umbrellas (it was sprinkling) and messenger bags.  They then made a pile of their stuff, formed a circle around said stuff and danced.

Their version of hitting on you?  Maybe dancing in your vicinity while turning ever so slightly in your direction and trying to make eye contact with you.  No butt grabbing, no anonymous grinding, no pick up lines shouted over the music.  So sweet!

Next week, I’m hitting up the archipelago, trying some traditional cheese cake and some rosehip soup, and maybe going to a crayfish party

If I’m missing anything awesome, let me know!

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  1. Joyce Ann Underwood

    I want to know all about that food up there! What's the story on the skull cookies? Is that candy in those bowls? What kind of truffle is that? Is that oatmeal in the last picture? Are those things at the top grapes, or maybe currants? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂 So happy your trip is going so well. I hope you enjoy your crayfish. Have you never had them? They're kind of a thing here in the south.

  2. Caiti

    "Ordering a latte/salad/metro card using my American phrasing "Could I have a _______ please?" and getting the response "Yes! Of course!" I think maybe I'm saying it wrong?"

    I'm living in Ireland for several months, and whenever we order in restaurants and ask like that, we get "Of course ye can!" as a reply from the wait-staff. So, even without a language barrier, I've spent the past 5 months wonder if I'm phrasing my order wrong, or if that's just how they reply! 🙂

    • Heidi

      In French class, my teacher Mme P taught that the way to order food in France is to basically say, “I’ll take a burger,” or “I’ll have an order of fries.” I thought that sounded so demanding but it seems that purchases are supposed to be phrased as demands (not questions).

  3. Sarah Rooftops

    "Of course!" is just good, enthusiastic customer service in the UK – I used to say it to people all the time.

    Oh, and I always feel so proud of myself when I navigate public transport in a strange place. Or even in my home city when I'm going to an unfamiliar part of town. I feel so *capable*.

    And I also want to know about the skulls!

  4. Karen

    Big, massive YES to the crayfish party. Seriously, it's such a Swedish thing that last summer my unofficial Swedish adoptive family held one just so I could experience it.
    Also if you're still in Stockholm: please do go to Vete Katten to check out their cakes/pies/meringues/etc. My favourite is the Twiggy 🙂

  5. ruffian also

    ive always wanted to go to stockholm! im trying to save up to go there the summer after i graduate high school!

  6. mslizot

    "WHY DO YOU GET TO BE BOTH TAN AND NATURALLY BLOND? Where is the justice in that?"

    Your pretty well summed up my entire experience of Sweden.

  7. Michelle

    Yay! Heading to Stockholm for my first time ever in 22 days! This is making me even more excited! Thanks for the great post.

  8. Sarah Von Bargen

    Ha! I just edited the post to include captions 🙂

    I've been to Vete Katten! So cute and old-fashioned-y!

    I know, right? I've seen one actual pale person and, like, zero pimples this entire time.

    You're going to have so much fun!

  9. Antoinette | love.antoinette

    Totally NOTHING wrong with just eating your way through such a country with gorgeous, sweet men :o) They may even show you where to get the best donuts, fruits, and flea markets!

    Amen to dancing with European DJ's under the bridge. Dancing has no age so keep those hips shaking!

  10. Unknown

    I want to head to Sweden…immediately.

  11. Magnus Hultin

    Welcome to Sweden!

  12. Samantha J. Bird

    I want to go to Sweden very badly, now. It sounds amazing.

  13. Lina

    I think Sarah up there is onto something. But! I think, at least in Sweden, people might perceive a "Could I have a …, please?" more like a question and not an order, as in asking if it's okay/possible. When I think about it, I (and a lot of people here, I think) order something by saying "I would like to have a …, please." But, then again, like Sarah said, they might just be enthusiastic! You quite often get an "Absolut!" or "Självklart!" back when you order or buy something. When I worked in a flower shop and someone walked in a said they wanted this or that, I would usually reply with something similar, because a "yes" or "okay" or "mhm" just sounds like you don't really give a shit, doesn't it?!

  14. Nata

    My brother ran that race! Not dressed in gimp wear though. Or so he has me thinking, that dude didn't by any chance have a long blonde pony tail and bare feet shoes? 😉

  15. Nova

    In Mexico I used to say "no thank you" when people would offer me things and they'd get so confused because it was kind of like I was saying "no, yes"…I didn't catch on for months.

  16. Margit Mae

    I loved visiting Stockholm despite the fact that I felt like I was surrounded by tan, blond models all time. Everyone is so well dressed and polite! I also noticed that people seem to work hard during the week and party very hard during the weekend. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me. 🙂

  17. Davinia Hamilton

    Eep! Looks like you're having a magnificent time, lady!

  18. Mackenzie

    HOLY BAJOLY! i need to move to sweden IMMEDIATELY. if not just for the clubbing under a bridge, rumpelstiltskin style!

  19. Emmisen

    most of us are fake blondes! don't know where the tanned ones get their colour from…

    good to see you're getting a proper swedish experience sarah! 😀

  20. Sarah Von Bargen


    No way! I was 100% convinced that every blonde here was natural! Seriously! Well, then you guys must have some greeeeeat hairstylists 😉

  21. benskog

    Oh, that must be some of the Debaser clubs that you´re describing, Sarah! And Söder is lovely, lots of gorgeous hipster guys… But seriously: Good-mannered?!? Sorry, but no. I´ve lived here for 37 years and must flee to London once in a while to escape the general rudeness!
    Glad that you´re enjoying yourself, though!

  22. Jamie

    I went to Stockholm on a work trip and stayed for the long weekend afterward. It was amazing, and I hope I get to go back!

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