Happy New Year, my loves!
Starting this new year with a throwback to how I spend the last days of 2016. Here’s the thing, the first two days of every new year are a huge celebration. Not only am I honouring the turn of a new year; simply making it feels like a huge achievement. It’s always followed by two things I will forever be grateful for! The birth of my sister on the first day of every year. Time and time again, I find this to be the best present my parents ever gave me. Next to giving birth to me on the second day of 1993. I mean there’s not much that can top ringing the new year, as well as celebrating our birthdays together. The fact that gifts are a part of this tradition, is merely an added bonus.
Thanks to our great sense of style, if I do say so myself, we’ve given each other some memorable gifts throughout the years. However, this time we both decided to try something else. Instead of giving each other something tangible, we figured going for something that will definitely stand the test of time. We both love to get out and try new things, travel and explore new cities. With Stockholm right around the corner, we settled on a four day trip to this uncharted metropolitan. Giving me the opportunity to share the capital of Sweden with you to! Now four days aren’t nearly enough to completely explore the whole town, but we managed to discover quite a bit of its treasures. Hopefully I’ll succeed in passing on the allure this city carries.
Let’s start with our stay:
Usually, Airbnb is my first choice but this time a hotel turned out to be the better offer. After strolling on numerous travel sites, we settled on the Best Western Kom Hotel. Which turned out to be the best choice for our travel demands. Whenever I look for places to stay, my top priority is its location, location, location. Preferably, in walking distance of public transportation as well as local restaurant, supermarkets, some sight if possible. Just not in the middle of nowhere, making the exploration of said city –nearly- impossible. I mean, that’s the main reason why one travels isn’t it? Furthermore, breakfast needs to be included, Wi-Fi is a must and lately a gym is an well welcomed bonus. Luckily for us, The Best Western Kom hotel checked off all these boxes.
Before I forget, I have to applaud them for their customer service. We arrived before check-in time, set at three pm, but we’re able to move in to our room right away. Also the room was spacious, most importantly very clean and equipped with a tea-set. Another added bonus, the map of the city we got with our room-keys. Another positive was the locked baggage room made available to us on the last day of our trip. With check out time set at noon and our return trip set at four, we had some time to kill. Thankfully, the hotel offered us a place to keep our luggage whilst we said goodbye to the city. Lastly, the best way to book a hotel is through special offer site such as Momondo, Trivago or Booking.com. The latter being our choice.
Exploring the city:
Taking you along our day to day activities would turn this blog into a booklet. Hence the reason I choose to give you two of my must see/do sights of the city.
Our first day was mainly spend walking & getting lost in the city. We made our way to the metro station ‘Medborgarplatsen’ located in Söldermalm. A district known for its fashion/vintage stores, galleries & highly recommended by locals. Leaving us no choice but to do some shopping, next to taking up the atmosphere & the scenery. Which really succeeded when we ended up on top of the Katarinahissen, which translate to the Katarina Elevator. Originally constructed in 1881 & consequently adjusted to fit the demands of a growing city throughout the years, it supposed to be a shortcut between the Katarinavägen, Slussen and Mosebacketorg. Unfortunately the constructions have been halted as of 2010. It’s however open for the public & provides a view of all of Stockholm.
Considering the temperature December brings and the exposure to the wind on top of the Elevator we decided to find a place to warm up. Being a coffee lover, I knew exactly the place: Joe & the Juice. I’d say it’s the Scandinavian version of Starbuck, a little bit like ‘the coffee company’ in the Netherlands. Slightly better though. A little piece of gossip fuelled my curiosity to this establishment. Rumour is that they only employ attractive men as their baristas & in my experience, this rumour turned out to be true! Also important, they do serve great coffee! I highly enjoyed my Vanilla Soya Latte 😉 Finished the day strolling through Gamla Stan, passing the impressive Swedish Parliament house, cruising the shopping street ‘Drottninggattan’ up to our hotel. What more can one wish for.
The Royal Palace:
The non-appealing look of the dungeon part of the castle almost led to us missing out on this experience. If only because the entrance to the castle through this part is easy to look over. Luckily, my curiosity to what lied behind those doors took over & boy am I glad I did. Beside the ‘Tre Kronor’ museum, housing what’s left of the original Royal palace, destroyed by a brutal fire in 1697. We also got to view the Treasury as well as parts of the Royal Apartments. We ran out of time once we got to the Royal Apartments and only made it to one side. Still worth it!
My favourite part has to be the special exhibition in commemoration of King Gustavs & Queen Sommerlath 40th anniversary. It is housed in the Royal State hall & focusses on the five brides & their attire worn on their special days over the course of four decades. As a way for you to relive these days, there’s also a viewing of each day. The opulence, the intricacy behind each and every dress, absolutely breath-taking. The entrance fee is 160 SEK for adults and 80 sek for students of all ages. This is approximately €16,78 & €8,39. Unfortunately this particular exhibition is temporary and runs through until the 12th March of this year. Nevertheless, I still recommend a visit to the Palace if you’re in town.
Here as well I’ve chosen my most memorable discovery in Stockholm. I didn’t get to try the Swedish meatballs nor the well-known Smörgåsbord. Stockholm did however made me fall in love with Persian Cuisine.
After scrolling the web the first night, we found ourselves eying this particular restaurant called ‘Shahrzad’. What actually sold us was the proximity of the restaurant to our hotel, it was only three minutes away. I know, I travelling for delicious cuisine but you guys, I was exhausted. Our train to Stockholm that day was at 5:50 am & I didn’t know, this is usually not what one looks for when it comes to good food. I mean, I usually don’t mind really get to sleep the night before. Back to Shahrzad; I was preparing myself for the worst & maybe my experienced with ‘Shahrzad’ profited from it. We loved it so much that we decided it should host our last dinner in Stockholm.
First night I had the Bagalipolo Ba Mahi (Saffron Marinated Salmon skewer) and the second night I picked the Bakhtiari (Saffron marinated chicken skewer and yoghurt marinated lamb fillet skewer). You guys, this is the best meat I’ve ever had. I don’t know what they do to it, but the lamb, chicken and salmon were moist & seemed to melt on your tongue. Our favourite appetisers were the garlic infused Nan & Sossis Bandari (Sliced, fried lamb sausage cooked in tomato and chili sauce). Such easy & comforting dishes, don’t ask me to recreated them though. This restaurant even got me drinking beer! Me! I’ve worked in a beer café for 2 years, tasted countless amounts of beer & despised the taste of each. But this Stone’s Ginger Joe, extremely tasty! xxx
I hope you enjoyed the first of many travelblogs. Didn’t make any resolutions this year, but one of my goals is definetly to travel more. As always I’m curious as to how you spend your last days of 2016, so hit me up in the comments below