When my mom was in high school, my grandparents decided to host a foreign exchange student, and they were paired up with a girl named Malin from Sweden who was just about my mom’s age. They rode horses and visited Vegas to drive along the Strip; I remember hearing stories about my mom and May while I was growing up even though I never met her. This past summer, over thirty years after she had lived with my mom and grandparents, I had the opportunity to stay with Malin and meet her fiance and kids! It ended up being one of my most unforgettable memories from my trip.
In addition to being a nurse, May flies planes for fun. I didn’t even know that people could do that! But she does, and she took took me up in the Swedish skies in a vintage plane from the 60s. We flew from Stockholm to a small island off the coast called Visby where we walked along the beach, found some of the cutest coffeehouses, and then ate lingonberry ice cream. On the way home, we followed one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen, and then I got to try Swedish-style cheeseburgers!
May and I spent the rest of our days riding bikes around Stockholm decked out in neon-orange helmets! We found some amazing coffeehouses, and after a long day of bike-riding, we came across this Thai food-truck where we picked up curry and then picnicked at a nearby park! I got to experience Stockholm as a local, and it delivered.
After Stockholm, I took the train over to Gothenburg where I spent my whole day there eating buns and drinking coffee. Gothenburg is wonderful to just walk around in, taking pictures, and looking at cute local shops. I also found myself along the coast on my first night there and saw an incredible sunset even though it was probably midnight or something.
The next night, my airbnb host took me to the most stereotypical American-style sports bar I have ever done seen, and we watched golf, drank Swedish beer, and ate artificially-buttered popcorn. Later at home, we talked over beers at his kitchen table until it was super late, and then I got to regret it during the whole plane ride the next day! I hated myself at the time but looking back, it makes me smile, and I almost don’t remember the headache!
Things to do in Stockholm:
- Rent bikes – Stockholm was one of my favorite places to just stroll around and take pictures, and bikes are definitely the most convenient way of doing so!
- Vasa Museum – visit the old 17th century ship here and learn all kinds of cool history. There was a really amazing installment on women of the Vasa, and it was definitely my favorite part.
- Picnic – Stockholm has some amazing parks, so pick up some sandwiches or Thai food and picnic while watching the sunset!
- Fabrique – delicious coffee and the best cardamom buns!!
- Rooftop bars – Stockholm has some amazing rooftop bars for wine-ing and sunset-watching.
- Visit Visby – oh, you mean you don’t have a pilot-friend to take you to Visby for a day? Don’t worry, you can take a ferry!
- Drop Coffee – order the capp and also get a brownie + whipped cream for good measure!
And for a day in Gothenburg:
- Haga – This street has all kinds of cute shops and places to brunch – I easily spent half a day here. It’s also really close to other nice areas of town!
- Walk near the coast – this is especially fun around sunset. Most of my day in Gothenburg was spent walking around and taking pictures!
- Bakeries – if you walk around Haga long enough, you will come across some of the best bakeries even on the side of the street!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: All your Love by Jakob Ogawa