We woke up in Sweden to the smell of coffee brewing and bacon sizzling. Reggie cooked up a breakfast feast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast, freshly cut fruit, and the vital morning beverage that is coffee. Before we sat down to give grace, Reggie asked, “Is there anything else I can get you?” To which I answered, “Yeah, do you have a brother I can marry?” A hearty meal and infectious laughter are a great way to start the day.
Our first stop was Skansen, the magical island of wild animals, roller coasters, and festival food. We went to see the elk, bears, and other furry friends. And in the spirit of trying new things, Kristi and I split a grilled flatbread with goat cheese, walnuts, and honey (one of the many Swedish recipes we decided to take home with us).
We then took a boat to Gamla stan (Old City), which is where most of the stock photos come from when you google “pictures of Sweden.” For lunch we ate traditional Swedish meatballs, which are about three times bigger than the ones they serve at IKEA.
After lunch, we continued exploring Gamla Stan, where we saw the narrowest street in Sweden and the little iron boy statue, also known as the Jarnpojke. However, our greatest discovery of all was fika. Now Fika in New York is just a Swedish coffee shop, but Fika in Sweden is a way of life. To fika is to take a break from your day to meet with at least one other person over coffee and pastries.
Note: It is NOT a fika if you are alone and it is NOT a fika unless there’s a hot beverage and sweets on the table. For some, fika is built into their work schedule and they are encouraged to take a break for coffee with at least one other person in or outside of the company. Thus, a common phrase used is, “Ska vi fika?” meaning “Shall we fika?”
Kristi and I are determined to bring that fika life back to the big city.
After enjoying fika with a group of new Swedish friends, we were ready for Culture Night! Culture Night only happens once a year in Sweden so it’s a pretty big deal. This is when participating museums and other cultural venues open their doors to the public for a night of educational fun and, in some cases, food and drink. We met up with three more friends to visit the Stockholm Palace and Museum of Antiquities, but ultimately landed at the Nobel Museum, where we danced the night away in a large ballroom made of gold. I felt like we were galavanting inside a giant vault with a live band. The first two hours were dedicated to swing and the last two hours were cha cha. So something for Kristi and something for me. It was the perfect ending to our night in Stockholm.