Notes From The Road: Goodbye, Stockholm

I’m spending six weeks traveling through Ireland, Sweden, Poland, Iceland, and New York. I’m visiting friends and clients and devoting myself to trying each country’s cheeses and candies. Hey, somebody’s got to do it and I’m willing to take one for the team. You can read about past travel adventures here. 

After 18 days in the proverbial motherland, I’m finally heading out.  In fact, by the time you read this I’ll be stuffing my face with pierogi in Gdansk, Poland!Sweden has been absolutely lovely.  Just about perfect.  Not only because the food’s great, the people are kind, and the public transportation is clean and reliable, but because I’ve had 18 days of relative relaxation.  I’ve had a private room in a lovely Airbnb house; I can close the door and spend entire days working or reading or napping.  I can engage in the travel novelty of routine: going to the market for  dinner ingredients, doing laundry, having a regular coffee shop.  It’s hard to over-emphasize how invigorating and calming it is to have a bit of non-scheduled downtime between fevered tours of countries.

I spread my two weeks in Ireland between three cities and four places of lodging and after this I’ll spend five days in Poland with friends, 10 hours in Berlin dashing around the city with Natalie, 3.5 days in Iceland with my boyfriend and two of our buddies, and then five days in New York seeing two old friends, two new friends, and two clients.  I’m excited!  Also: preemptively exhausted.

What did I do with the second half of my time here in the city of Beautiful Blond People?

* Poked around Trosa, one of those painfully picturesque tourist towns where you buy an ice cream cone and wander around gaping at the sheer adorability of it all.  There’s a canal that runs through the middle of the town!  And people have their boats docked next to their houses like a second garage!

* Took the train out to Upsalla, a college town about an hour outside of Stockholm.  It’s home to what is now my favorite museum ever.  Cat mummies!  A human mummy whose hand broke off and they just placed it next to his foot!  Creepy specimens in jars!  Viking burial boats!  Art cabinets! Specimens labeled ‘what is this?’!  Awesome.

* Conducted my own Swedish Stomachache Experiment by purchasing a bag full of weird bulk candy.  I kept an on-going memo in my phone so I could remember which ones were good for future reference.  And just FYI, those black licorice pistols are gross.

* Happened upon the tree pictured above, all festooned with huge colored balls and thought “Well, my goodness.  If that’s not magical than I don’t know what is.”

* Ate my birthday dinner with three Swedish friends and was all verklempt and amazed when my friend Emmy pulled out a surprise birthday cake she’d smuggled into the restaurant.  So sweet!

* Discovered that I am not – at all – a sailor.  A friend of Emmy’s took us sailing through the archipelago and my time at the wheel was mostly spent not understanding which way to turn, reading the GPS incorrectly, and panicking when the sails filled with too much wind.  Nope.  I’ll just wear boat shoes and stripes and drink a vodka gimlet on a bow, thankyouverymuch.

This week, street art and buffalo grass vodka (or “wahd-kah”) in Poland!

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  1. auroralapetite

    Make sure to order a tatanka cocktail (pronouced ta-tan-ga), it's made from Zubrowka vodka (the bison grass vodka), apple juice (has to be red apple juice) and slices of lemon. It's amazing and tastes like apple pie.

  2. Joyce Ann Underwood

    I feel really silly. I thought "Swedish Fish" was a cute name, or a brand or something – like "Boston Baked Beans". I didn't think they were actually a big thing in Sweden, but there one is, on what I presume to be your birthday cake. You learn something new everyday . . .

  3. Jenny

    Oh man,the pink little octopus-looking candy is my favorite! I ate them by the pound in Iceland. But beware of the brownish little octopus candies!! I thought they would taste like cola but no! They tasted more like salt!

  4. Nova

    Your trip looks amazing!! My big excursion this year is going to Calgary to visit my family. I mean, not bad but it's no Sweden/Germany/Iceland etc.

  5. Jessica

    Welcome back, anytime 🙂

    /a swede

  6. cupsandmeasures

    Actually its pronounced "vood-ka" and spelled Wódka. Careful about staying over for breakfast at a friends after a night out, somehow the vodka finds its way to the table. I know from experience (when visiting friends and family).

  7. denisediscovers

    You do look a bit anxious there behind the wheel. Glad you made it back to dry land safely!

  8. Anonymous

    Haha! I just looked at the black liquorice pistols and thought: "yum,they look like the real thing! So good!"

  9. Mackenzie

    cute candies?! sailing?! little windows with cute little details?! can i immigrate there, like, now?! you have officially made me a swedo-phile (sounds more horrible than i thought it would be).

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