Please sign in to post.

Stockholm!

Having a lovely time in Stockholm. Was able to obtain entry as an EU resident with the EU digital pass which I got from my doctor from my CDC card (vaccinated on a US base).

We flew Stuttgart to Riga to Stockholm. Had to fill out a form no less than 24 hours in advance to transit through Riga, no such requirement for Sweden but I did upload a picture of our pass to the airline's website (Air Baltic) and showed it at check-in.

It's our 1st time in Sweden and we're loving it. We held out visiting in the past due to the high cost, but after 10 years in Europe and 1 1/2 without normal travel and going out expenses, we could finally comfortably afford it.

We arrived Wednesday evening, and went straight to our AirBnB, a lovely but tiny flat in the southwest of Södermalm. The nice couple that lives there are spending their time at their summer cottage. We were instructed to tell neighbors that we're just friends visiting if asked. We actually almost cancelled the trip due to my cat being in not-great health, and when I messaged thr owner about whether I should cancel when I was waiting to hear from the vet, she told me to cancel the AirBnB booking and if we could go, pay her directly with a significant discount over the AirBNB price. We were happy to do so. So very good value, a full sunny flat with balcony for less than $100/night.

We finished with check in at 20:00 so only had time for our dinner reservations at Bird, a hip fried check restaurant that was fabulous. I can't recommend it enough and the prices are decent for Stockholm. Afterwards we wandered a bit in the hipster neighborhood and had a drink at a popular casual local pub where we shared a table with another American who'd lived in Sweden. We had very different opinions about COVID and it was a little awkward.

Speaking of, we chose Sweden for this trip because rates are very, very low here. We'd actually originally hoped to visit the UK but we weren't allowed to until last week by which time we'd already bought tickets, but the high rates there does make one pause a bit. There are no restrictions here anymore except for a limit on the number of people inside but it's quite generous by the standards in say, Germany. No mask requirements. That feels a bit weird but I was in the US in June so I experienced that there, too.

The next day we were woken up by very early, very bright sun. We lucked out with the weather, and decided to take slow boat to Grinda in the Stockholm Archipelago. Sunny and about 70 degrees, just perfect. Grinda was nice but definitely felt like a summer camp, and it was packed. We ended up having a sandwich from the general store just because the restaurant and cafe were packed. It was an awesome day. When we got back we wandered around Gamla Stan for a bit before having a quiet but very tasty dinner of British/Swedish pub food at The Flying Elk. Loved the place, but it was empty on a Thursday which seemed odd, except for a few people sitting outside. I had fish and chips and my husband had crispy pork belly on potato puree with roasted marrow veg. Great beer selection - the Swedes and the Danes are super into cutting edge craft beer and you can get good beer almost everywhere, but expect to pay for it.

Had an early night as it was getting chilly post sunset. Made a note to reserve a table in the sun at a waterside cafe for the next day.

Posted by
9550 posts

Oh Sarah — this indeed sounds wonderful, and i am so glad you are having a great time. I randomly went for a long weekend just about exactly two years ago right now (my Facebook keeps sending reminders) - I had a big work thing in August, but my brother and his family were coming on a Scandinavia trip, so I literally flew up for the weekend just to meet them. Like you, we just loved it, and I hope to go back before too long.

For our “day out,” we took the boat out to Sandhamn and loved it. Sounds so fun that you’re staying in a nice flat. We rented rooms in a hostel, the Generator, but for us it was just like a low-budget hotel. (It also worked really well because my brother made these plans for his family, and then I just added on a room for myself, so it was super easy and we were all together in the same place).

Hope you enjoy the rest of your time. Thanks for sharing what you’ve experienced so far. I am headed to Bergen in a little more than a week, and I am getting so excited!!

P.s. I hope your cat will be okay. I am sorry he/she is not doing well : (

Posted by
2468 posts

Sarah,
Yours is the second trip report I’ve read today and it does my heart good to read you are having such a delightful time! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences. I’m particularly interested in Stockholm since I’m going there next May on a RS tour.

Posted by
6344 posts

We were instructed to tell neighbors that we're just friends visiting
if asked.

That sounds a bit fishy to me, and might be an indication that they did not have permission to rent out the apartment.

Posted by
27062 posts

Yes--It's probably in a condominium that prohibits subleasing and/or short-term rentals.

Posted by
7049 posts

Your Airbnb host appears to be pretty dishonest - that would rub me the wrong way (I wouldn't do business with people who lie so out in the open, because they can as easily turn on you). You have no protections from Airbnb while working outside the system.

Posted by
23243 posts

I am glad it is working out for you but ---- We were instructed to tell neighbors that we're just friends visiting if asked. ----- would raise red flags and make me very nervous. With that response I assume I am breaking some rule or regulation. I would want a better cover story than that.

Posted by
3049 posts

Friday had similarly nice weather so we debated but finally settled on visiting Skansen and we're mostly happy we did. We're in our 40s without kids so we weren't sure but it was worthwhile, especially the historic area (although I admit watching the wolverine play was also pretty great). We had a very light lunch of street food at the main square there because we had 15:30 reservations at Eskadet, a Michelin starred restaurant that uses no electricity, only fire, smoke, and coal in their cooking. It was expensive (although not the most in Stockholm by far) and it was a great and delicious experience for a belated anniversary "dinner".

After shivering in the shade as the sun got low the previous day I'd emailed the adorable cafe "Strandvägen 56" which is just past the bridge to the Djürgarten for a reservation in the sun at 18:30 and drinking my rosè just baking in the sun with a view of all the boats coming back and forth I'd felt like I'd aced a test of how to enjoy summer like a Swede. We also managed to pop into Mikkeller Södermalm on the way back, a real haven for beer nerds like us. A truly lovely day.

Unfortunately the weather turned today in a big way, which was forecast. We used the excuse to have a delivered US/British style breakfast (a treat for us where such things don't exist in our corner of Germany) but our plan to do the Vasa museum and the Nordic Museum on a rainy Saturday in high season wasn't ideal - we had to wait about 30 minutes just to get into the Nordic museum due to capacity restrictions and decided to just take our time there since the Vasa museum would probably be crowded to enter with enough time to enjoy. The plan is to go tomorrow at opening.

At the Nordic Museum I called for reservations at the Tudor Arms, a disturbingly authentic British pub for a cozy place to hide from the rain. Their menu didn't inspire for dinner so we walked a few blocks to BAP - Burger and Pastrami for a decent sandwich and amazing burger by European standards. Unfortunately we got slammed by rain and shifting bus stop locations due to construction and ended up a bit frustrated and soaked. It's been raining, often fairly heavily for 13 hours without stop now, and the forecast for tomorrow keeps changing but hopefully it will be a bit better as we'd like to see the changing of the guard after the Vasa museum.

Will update! Happy travels - even with this miserable weather it's a delight to be somewhere new.

Posted by
6344 posts

Forget about the changing of the guards. It is not a public event due to the pandemic.

Posted by
3049 posts

As to those saying the not AirBnb situation is shady - I agree, it is! But in context, our host, who had many great reviews on AirBnb and no negative ones, was in frequent communication with me regarding my inability to commit due to my cat's health (she seems to be doing ok, thanks to those who asked, we have a great vet student as a cat sitter). It was a bit of a risk and it's obviously frowned upon by her neighbors but culturally I don't think it's going to be a problem for us. I'm not sure I'd recommend this type of travel if I didn't have the ability to go get a hotel at short notice, but we took a bit of risk to have a pleasant and affordable place as did our host for us staying here, if that makes sense. Living in Germany as long as I have, I have an amount of faith in the social contract if that makes sense? But there are definitely other countries in Europe where I would not be ok with this kind of arrangement! But at least the host is getting thr money and Airbnb isn't getting a cut and I'm fine with that too.

Posted by
3049 posts

Badger - thanks for the heads up. Same witb Pride. Oh well, one less worry about the weather, plenty of museums to entertain.

Posted by
6489 posts

The Vasa museum is fascinating, I hope it isn't too crowded and you enjoy it.

Posted by
6344 posts

It was a bit of a risk and it's obviously frowned upon by her
neighbors but culturally I don't think it's going to be a problem for
us.

Not just frowned upon, the host probably does not have permission to rent out the flat. I hade to google condominium and if wikipedia is correct, it is probably a housing cooperative (bostadsrätt) if not a rental flat.

I happen to know a bit about how those work, since I happen to be chairman of my housing cooperative where I live. And the law is pretty clear, any subleasing requires permission from the board. That your host told you to lie probably means there is no permission, and if caught your host risks losing their flat.

You don't risk anything worse than being forced to leave the flat, but you are financially supporting a shady business.

Posted by
4055 posts

Sounds like a wonderful trip so far (except the rain). I enjoy reading your reports because often you see and do things differently than what I end up with.

The Nordic Museum was one I really enjoyed (in 2018) and we spent several hours there. I also liked the Vasa Museum but it obviously had a narrower focus. No kids here either, but I thought Skansen was fun.

I am glad you got to go finally. Stockholm was one of those places I thought would be fine, but didn’t expect to be taken with. So it caught me off-guard to realize I thought it was worth more time than I was able to spend there and that I would really enjoy a second visit.

Posted by
3049 posts

Badger - I don't think she rents the flat often (about 15 Airbnb reviews over 5 years), so I feel more like I'm supporting a kind pensioner who obviously could stand to make a little extra money in a very expensive city. But I appreciate your perspective. I wouldn't have booked in the 1st place if I knew that was the situation, but given the proliferation of Airbnb's available in Stockholm right now I'm guessing it's a pretty common practice.

Travelmom - thanks! I hadn't really considered thr city for a long time due to the cost but it's a surprising and fun place, especially in good weather. I really hope to return en route to do the Archipelago rental thing in the future, that was the plan for this trip but weather plus the cat situation lead us to cut the trip in half and focus on Stockholm which worked out perfectly!

Posted by
3049 posts

Update from today: a little rainy in the morning and early afternoon but not too bad. We managed to get to the Vasa by 10:30 which is early for us but it was worth it, few crowds then. We spent about 3 hours there (husband is the guy who goes to every maritime museum and this is the holy grail) then had a quick rainy hot dog lunch so we could make it to the History Museum with just enough time to do the Viking section thoroughly and the Gold room. The Viking World may have been one of the single best history exhibits I've ever been to. It was just phenomenal. The Vasa deserves it's reputation, it's absolutely one of a kind. Two of the top attractions in Europe, truly.

After many hours in the museums the sun reappeared so we walked back to the lovely waterfront cafe Strandvägen 56 to have some rose - very kind staff there in such a nice setting - and making plans for dinner, we were undecided and settled on a very highly rated Bangladeshi place in the north of town that unfortunately didn't live up to the hype, in food or service. Aside from hot dogs we haven't had proper Swedish food at all on this trip but with the exception of today we've eaten very well! This is a city that takes food seriously.

Tomorrow our flight is at 17:00 so we'll take our luggage to the train station then probably check out the palace and churches of Gamla Stan or do a tour of the city hall and agaonize over herring or back Mi for lunch. Sad to leave, hope we have the opportunity to visit again before going to spend some time on the Archipelago some summer in the future. I'll write some takeaways on the train hike from Frankfurt Flughafen tomorrow Eve. Thanks for reading!

Posted by
6344 posts

Badger - I don't think she rents the flat often (about 15 Airbnb
reviews over 5 years), so I feel more like I'm supporting a kind
pensioner who obviously could stand to make a little extra money in a
very expensive city. But I appreciate your perspective. I wouldn't
have booked in the 1st place if I knew that was the situation, but
given the proliferation of Airbnb's available in Stockholm right now
I'm guessing it's a pretty common practice.

She obviously rents the flat without involving AirBnB as well. It is a problem in Stockholm, some people buy flats just to rent them out on AirBnB. And if AirBnB don't act, I wouldn't be surprised to a ban similar to Amsterdam. But, this is a probably a discussion for another time.

Aside from hot dogs we haven't had proper Swedish food at all on this
trip but with the exception of today we've eaten very well! This is a
city that takes food seriously.

Not sure I would call hot dogs proper Swedish food. But if you are looking for some good Swedish food, one of my favourite lunch places when I worked in Gamla stan was Slingerbulten, Stora Nygatan 24. Although it seems like their regular lunch offers are not available during the summer. But tomorrow they serve Isterband for lunch according to their website. Or if you want something faster, visit Strömmingsvagnen at Kornhamnstorg selling fried baltic herring (look for the large sign advertising "Nystekt strömming").