Weekend break to Stockholm

My friend and I went on a 4 day break to Stockholm last week.  I liked it because there was so much to see and do but I have to admit that as much as it was nice, my heart still told me that Luxembourg was prettier to look at.

That did not stop me enjoying the atmosphere though.  If you’re looking for a guide to bars and restaurants, I’m afraid this post will be useless to you. We went more for the cultured route.

We saw the Vasa museum, Spirit museum (not about ghosts but vodka), police museum and the Ice bar (the only bar apart from T.G.I.F that we visited).  For restaurants, we just sort of went with the flow and just wandered until somewhere caught our eye and then we’d wander in, take a seat and enjoy the atmosphere and food.

Vasa museum

Before going to this museum, the only thing I knew about it was that it had a really old ship inside.  I didn’t go with much expectations apart from the fact that I’d have a good nose around and learn something new.  I was in for a treat!  I would highly recommend this museum.  I love the fact that it’s very interactive so you don’t feel like you are just walking round looking at old things.

As well as the displays, there are activities to keep you entertained, there is a movie that gives you a little history of the ship and how the museum came about.  It’s a good little movie.  It’s done through a combination of acting and narration so it doesn’t feel like someone is talking at you.  There was also a little area where you could have a little go at doing some repairs to get a feel of the work that those working on restoring the ship to its former glory would do.

I think it’s somewhere that both adults and kids would enjoy.  We enjoyed it so much that we ended up spending about 3 hours walking around it…partly due to the size of the museum and partly because we were having so much fun in there that the time just flew by.

Spirit museum

This museum is in the same vicinity as the Vasa museum.  Unfortunately due to spending so much time in Vasa, we only had about an hour to go around this one but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  You can choose to do the standard tour or if you’d like to have a little drink along the way, you can do the drinks and nibbles tour.  This costs a little bit more but you get a small box filled with little vodka goodies and sweets to try at various points along the tour.

There are little booths as you go along where you can have a smell of the things that can be used to make vodka and on these, there are little symbols telling you which drink from your little snack box goes with that smell.

If you do go for the drinks and nibbles tour, be careful of the fish-shaped sweet.  It really does taste like fish.  I found out the hard way.  Please also remember that you have to drink the drinks on the premises.  You are not allowed to take the bottles out with you.

Do have a chat with the very friendly ticket guy.  He is very knowledgeable about the history of Swedish vodka.  I learnt a lot about the founder of the Swedish vodka brand Absolute.

There are other little surprises along the tour but I’ll let you visit to find those out for yourselves.  I enjoyed this tour very much and after Vasa, this would be my second recommendation for a bit of culture.  There’s also a restaurant, so you can have a bit of food to soak up the vodka you had along the way.

Police museum

Ok, I’m not going to lie, this was my least favourite museum.  It was my least favourite for 2 reasons, 1) everything was in Swedish so I couldn’t read to understand what the exhibits were about and 2) it wasn’t really my sort of museum.  I’m more of a history museum type rather than those types.  However, my friend wanted to see it and I thought I’d go along.

This does have a good point against it though.  It is very cheap.  It was the cheapest of all the museums we visited.  However, I do think it’s more suited to the children as evidenced by their play area being more amazing than the actual exhibit in my opinion.  I so wish I could’ve pretended to be a child to have a go at all the cool toys they had in the children’s section.  Sadly only children were allowed in that area.

Ice bar

This was the only bar we visited.  It’s a cool little bar with a weird twist.  The bar is made from ice.  Even the glass that you get your drink in is cut from ice.  In case you’re wondering, once you’re done with the glass, they just leave them to melt and they get a new stock of freshly cut glasses every two or so weeks.  I know because I asked.

We had a bit of trouble finding this bar because it wasn’t that well sign posted.  It was worth the half an hour we spent wandering up and down the same street trying to figure out where it was though.  If you do want to visit, it is in the Nordic Sea hotel.

Be prepared to have cold fingers.  We stayed for 2 drinks before deciding to leave and head to somewhere a bit warmer.  It’s one of those places you have to visit to say you’ve been but don’t expect to spend your entire night there because its sub-zero temperatures may not make that possible.  I hear it’s very busy at the weekend, so if you’re going then, it’s probably best to pre-book.

Other random tips you might find useful

– If you’re in the centre of Stockholm, try to find the restaurant called “The Londoner”.  It’s not super fancy but the staff are friendly, the food is good and the price is reasonable.  Stockholm is expensive, however, in here, I had starter, main and 2 drinks for about 30 euros (about 35 euros with tip).  The portions are also generous, so you will leave there full.

– The hop on hop off buses or City sightseeing buses are an amazing way to get around and see the sights.  The tickets are valid for 24 hours.  So you don’t have to rush to see everything in one day.  You can get on and off at any point as long as your ticket is valid.  The hop on hop off bus yellow line, also goes not too far from the Ice bar.  So is a good point to end the tour and have a drink before getting some food.

– Be careful when getting taxis.  Look at the yellow sticker in the cab window to see how much a cab will cost around the city.  Not all will be the same price as there is no rule on what they can or cannot charge.

– The Swedes speak English very well and are also very helpful, so if you need some help, don’t be afraid to go up and ask.

– Find a T.G.I. Friday and have the Ice cream sandwich cocktail.  If you like oreo cookies then you’ll love it!

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