SOMEWHERE IN STOCKHOLM: Expensive Food, Modern and Medieval, Etcetera.


I miss going to an unfamiliar place. The past months I've been traveling to countries I've already been to, and although it's a different city or season, you can't take away the sense of fulfilment or should I say "adventure" when you go to a totally different continent, with a different language, currency, culture, and timezone!





My trip to Europe must be one of the highlights or even my low-key achievement for 2018. I know most of my readers are Korea enthusiasts, so when I offered something new on the table I really felt the difference haha! I got direct messages from people asking when I am going back to Korea even when I am in whole new and exciting destination! Hahaha kayo talagaaa! 😂❤ The lack of interest by maybe half of my usual readers / Instagram followers made me savor this trip even more though. It's not Seoul, it's not even the expected Paree, but it is MY personal trip with my sister which made it even more special to me.

 It's not easy to go here, aside from the long haul flight, all the pre-travel requisites involved were just too tedious (from visa to saving up). Being there overwhelmed me as we don't have any off-days. But now that I am back in my room typing these and looking back on that trip, everything's worth it! I am silently wishing I will have the strength to go through all these again next year (visa and saving up) so I can explore other parts of the great European continent! (I am eyeing you Amsterdam!)







But before we go side-tracking from the main objective of this blog post, allow me to take you to those beautiful summer days in Stockholm. It's our very first stop in the Great European Escape with just me and my sis, so Stockholm somehow symbolized sweet freedom in our journey.





From experience, I would highly recommend anyone going to Europe to try their FREE walking tours. My OC Ate made sure to signup for us in almost all cities we went to (except one) prior our flight (reservations required). 

I am not sure if my readers are also information buffs, but joining at least one in every city we went to gave me more insights about the place in less than 1/4 of the day and I loved it. Since we're just exploring by foot, we were able to check out more places at no cost. To add value to these free tours, I'd say the only city na hindi kami sumili sa walking tour was my least favorite during the whole trip!! Haha! Parang walang laman when you just walk around and take pictures, but well that's just me!





Little peculiar tidbits of Stockholm were revealed to us during the walking tours, and I think these made me love Sweden more than just knowing it's the home of H&M or IKEA or even my travel backpack Fjallraven Kanken. Like how you suddenly like a person more after seeing his flaws, Sweden and the Swedish people became real to me. 

Sharing some of these interesting Stockholm trivias:

1) In a vague history of Stockholm, a kidnapping occurred where victims actually took pity of their captors. Call that EMPATHY LEVEL 100!!! They called this the Stockholm Syndrome.

2) Swedish are known to HATE small talks that the only words that you need to know are "Hey! Hey!". Look away, and you won't even be seen as rude, hehehe.. so me!! 😂

3) They say that anything romantic in Sweden is sort of disgusting! A way to say "I love you"?
"You are the person that I hate the least." !!! 😂

4) Sweden is also one of the least religious countries in the world. Most Swedish define themselves as irreligious but spiritual.

5) Swedish are desperate for sun. During the winter, Stockholm has only about 5 hours of daylight. When we went there, it was summertime so you'll see lots of locals lounging in public parks and even cemeteries--in groups and even on their own!



6) If you're also a music love like me, well, Sweden is the world's largest music distributor! A lot of internationally acclaimed artists are from Sweden--from ABBA to Avicii! Also, did you know that Spotify is from Sweden!?




7) Stockholm is a good combination of modernized and historical. Castles are very well-preserved here, and at the same time, they formed a "Council of Beauty" to prevent their skyline from being ruined by buildings!!



8) And lastly, and my most favorite trivia, is the Swedish concept of FIKA. They consider making time for fika everyday an ESSENTIAL. This means making time for friends to share a cup of coffee (or tea)! ☕



These are just less than 1/4 of the stuff I picked up during our free walking tours. It may be true or just stereotypes, but here's a sure fact: You'll see bodies of water here and there as Sweden is built on FOURTEEN different islands connected by 57 bridges!




We arrived in Sweden via train from Norway, and sun has already set so it must be almost midnight. It was a cool summer night, and our walk to our guest house is a bit ma-effort, but since it's just the first part of our trip, I had so much energy in me to drag my bags. Later on in this trip, Europe's cobblestone roads and my luggage were simply my least favorite combination.

We had baon of sandwiches, chocolates, vegetable sticks, and water from my Tita in Norway, so naka tipid kami sa train!

Ate made a new friend hehehe:

I was listening to Avicii during the whole ride. I know that EDM is "not me", but sobrang feel na feel ko sya knowing that we're heading to Stockholm!

Hostels

We stayed in two hostels in Stockholm. Ate booked Generator Hostel for just a night because it's nearer the train station where we hopped off at about 12 midnight.




Sadly, hindi ko manlang nakilala fully this hostel coz we immediately checked out the next day to transfer to a private room in another hostel.

I took the upper bunk since most of the beds were already taken when we entered the room in the middle of the night. Ang dyahe talaga pag guesthouse but that's part of it and the price to pay for staying in a fairly cheaper accommodation, so wala namang nagalit!! Imagine super dilim na as I tried to unzip my luggage and take out stuff in plastic bags--and although super small na ng movements ko ang ingay padin hahaha!

But anyway, I was able to take a hot bath, sleep well, and even charge my gadgets, so when I woke up the next day, I opened the curtain right beside my bed and gosh sobrang blown away ako with the view. Asa Europe talaga ako!


Bye room for a night!
Generator Hostel - About Php 2000ish / head / night.

Ate and I transferred to City Backpackers for a private room--just walking distance from our first hostel. Perks of having a travel companion is that we can split most expenses, including our accommodations, so I don't have to be in bunk beds all the time. Our total gastos for 2 nights in our second guesthouse is just Php 5,500 each so diba ganun nadin halos nung asa dormitory type kami.



What a quaint place!









The lock to our room is ala Korea na passcode type. It's just a small box room but we had it to ourselves so finally okay lang na mag ingay, haha! Wala syang own CR, but just across our door is the toilet so walang problema when I needed to pee in the middle of the night hehe. Showers are also all over the guesthouse, and again wala kaming naging problema either maaga ba kami magising or almost walang naliligo when we were there. Haha!





Retro staircase heading to their shower rooms:


On our first full day, we joined TWO walking tours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They have tours in English and Spanish, and it often takes only around 2 hours max--We had a lot of time to ourselves in between, and also at the end of the day. Again and again, highly recommended if you want more information not on the internet, and to meet people from different countries (Philippines represent! Hehe!). Ate was also able to ask for tips like dinner places and where to go for good beer haha!

 CITY TOUR
- Main streets Drottninggatan and Kungsgatan
- Hötorget, Haymarket
- The Concert Hall
- KungstrĂ€dgĂ„rden, The King’s Garden
- The tour ends close to Old Town and the Royal Palace

SÖDER TOUR
(Trendy or hipster tour)
- Medborgarplatsen
- Götgatan
- Katarina Church
- MonteliusvÀgen







Yung systema after a tour is the guide will end with his closing, often times with witty side remarks, and ask us for tip of any amount.

Find out more about Stockholm's Free Walking Tour Here.



Of course, after "school" haha (felt like we were in a class field trip during the walking tours), it's nice to be on our own again!! Saktong balance lang of info overload + chill.

Our last stop was in the area of the Royal Palace where we witnessed a marching band.


Where did we go when we were left on our own?

GAMLA STAN

The name of our hostel room is also my favorite part in Stockholm. Gamla Stan aka Old Town is where Stockholm was founded. It is also the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe.



Searching for the Stortorget or the center was also a treat, with the narrow cobblestone streets only for pedestrians, handicraft stores with pretty window displays, and local cafes and restaurants with facades straight from the Middle Ages. My gosh, people use "every corner is Instagram worthy" one too many times but I can't help but to also use this description for Gamla Stan!








"Feel the wings of history over a cup of coffee in our medieval cellar vault"


FOTOGRAFISKA

After all the walks and the hot summer sun, a stopover in Fotografiska was meant to be. It's the centre for contemporary photography in Södermalm, with unique exhibitions, a cafe, and a souvenir shop.

They had a video viewing lounge showing polar bears suffering from climate change. Ate and I decided to take our time in this room and enjoy the bean bags and aircon, while watching the sad film. Another favorite as a Beatles fan is the Linda and Mary McCartney photo exhibit. It felt as if we just received their permission to peep through their private family photo albums from the 80s.












STOCKHOLM SUBWAY ART 

You must really be in a first world country when even underground subway stations are tourist attractions! 

Tunnelbana, or Stockholm's metro, is the LONGEST ART EXHIBITION in the world. Around 90 of a hundred of their stations have works of art in different medium (I noticed mostly paintings). Ate and I went to the popular ones in what I call our "train station hopping" afternoon. What I like about this part in our itinerary is that we were indoors most of the time. (ang init sa labas)


Central Station

KungstrÀdgÄrden Station

RĂ„dhuset

Solna

Meeting an old guy from Baghdad in Solna:

Thorildsplan


Universitetet




Stadion


We purchased this Stockholm Access Card or reloadable tap card to go train hopping.


STOCKHOLM'S CITY HALL

Built from EIGHT MILLION BRICKS. Stockholm's City Hall is one of the most visited sites in the city, and also one of their most famous. They have available tours and wonderful views from the tower, but Ate and I just went around the compound on our own.




ROYAL PALACE

The Royal Palace or Stockholm Palace is the official residence of the Swedish monarch. It dates back to the 18th century, and one of the most impressive palaces in the world!







VASAMUSEET

Vasa is a wooden warship, the largest in the history of Swedish fleet, that you will now find in the Vasamuseet. Inside the museum is a legit vikings ship that capsized and sank in 1628! I was so amused by how large it is and seeing all the intricate details of a boat! Entrance fee is at SEK 130 or around Php 750.







FOOD TRIP!

I guess half of the best parts during our Euro trip is all the food we tried!! Walang talo, super sarap lahat! Most of the restaurants we went to were part of Ate's research, but may random ones din that we tried because we were already tired and hungry.

Here's a list of the cafes and restos we tried in Stockholm!


Pizzeria in Gamla Stan
Serving sizes are big!! Good for sharing, matakaw lang talaga ako so I usually order a dish all to myself hahaha. Pwede din mag takeout.



Falafelbaren
One of the best falafels I had in this Euro trip! Medyo pricey at about 75 SEK (Php 450) but then again for Swedish standards one of our affordable and sulit meals na in Stockholm. Again, serving is too big for the usual Filipino appetite. But not me, I even finished my sister's share hahaha! Solid!



FLIPPIN BURGERS 
Aigooo please don't make me choose my favorite na, now that I am going back through all these food photos naalala ko how GOOD they all are!!! This one's called the Beanie Burger from one of the long time, uncontested burger place of Stockholm called Flippin Burgers. Usually punuan dito and ang haba ng waiting time, but swerte namin ni Ate we were seated right away dahil medyo late and pasara na sila when we went. (Double check on opening and closing schedules when planning for your trip!)



ÖSTERMALM SALUHALL
Didn't know that this is a 1880s food hall, but I love the vibe here. They have several food booths in large hallways selling fresh fruits, vegetables, seafoods and meat, and even cafes and Swedish gourmet goods. We had one lunch here where I ordered the freshest and yummiest pasta salad--drowning with lots and lots of arugula!






ESPRESSO HOUSE
This Swedish coffee chain beats Starbucks when it comes to having a branch in every corner of Stockholm! Espresso House is the largest coffee chain in the Nordics.



7ELEVEN
On our first morning in Stockholm, I think we were so overwhelmed by the food prices so we ended up eating in 7Eleven. They have a Pick and Mix promo where you can pick two from the menu for 35 SEK or Php 220. I got the blueberry yogurt with granola, plus a cup of brewed coffee. They also have breads and sandwiches if you want something heavier in the morning.




DJURGÅRDSBRUNN

The outdoor dining area that really made me feel the vibe of summer in Stockholm! They have several food trucks and food booths serving Swedish and Mediterranean dishes and summer barbecues. Ate got the Swedish meatballs served with berries and mashed potatoes!









Last few observations and maybe tips if you're going to Stockholm:

1) I think it's the most expensive stop of our Euro tour! A small bottle of mineral water goes up to Php 150 to 250!!! A "cheap" meal is about Php 450. But you will never go wrong with grocery visits and baon system hehe. If masipag ka, always just bring a bottle of mineral water!

2) Longer daytime. One of the perks of a summer Euro trip is that you can maximize the longer daytime or late sunset coz it's still bright outside by 7 or 8pm!

3) Super dalang ng toilet! Even in the train stations walang CR, so we always go to the loo when we see one in tourist spots like the Royal Palace or when we eat in restaurants. Btw, they call their toilets "WC".

4) We had one full day when we only WALKED. A LOT. Haha! In a way it's a good exercise after all the carbs loading, and also tipid nadin sa pamasahe. Wear comfortable shoes, and make sure to have good internet connection so you can navigate with your Google Maps.

I brought with me my TEP Wireless pocket wifi which I was able to use on all the countries we went to, plus share the wifi with my Ate. Bring a powerbank for this though, medyo madali syang mag discharge.

5) Cashless or paying with exact amount is preferred. Wala akong pinapalit na Euros sa Pinas so most of my money during the trip I just withdrew from their international ATM machines for every city. Do not withdraw too much money in Sweden though, most of the time they only accept credit cards or loose change!



Ate and I waited for the sun to set by this bridge near the bus stop for our guesthouse. Not a tourist in sight, I watched as locals rushed home in their bikes. I have no words for the colors of Stockholm's sunset, but when I turned around with the view of a red medieval style building, a body of water, and a modern highway with speeding cars--I can't help it but sigh.

It was our last night already, and although we only had 2 days, I felt sentimental leaving a city I was just about to get to know too soon.






Watch the highlights of my Stockholm Instagram Stories / or go directly to my Instagram bio @anagon.

Comments

  1. Ang saya magbasa ng travel blogs naalala ko nung bata pa ako during grade school days. Pag sinabi ni Teacher, close your eyes and think of your dream place. Syempre bilang isang bata gusto natin Disneyland. Parang ganito by reading your blogs para na din akong nakarating Europe. Lalo na mga kids gustong gusto sa Korea. Mas maalam pa sila kesa sakin. 😍

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Gladys!! <3 Much appreciated also with the comment hihi! :)

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