Friday, 24 March 2017

EXPLORING STOCKHOLM // GAMLA STAN and SODERMALM

My friends and I visited Stockholm recently and amongst many memorable things we did (the ABBA museum, for instance) we also ventured to a couple of notable areas in the city. Here's an overview of some of the food and drink places we found on our travels in Gamla Stan and Södermalm, including  places I'd definitely recommend if you have the opportunity to visit.

Gamla Stan


The old town in Stockholm is the recognisable, small area of colourful buildings you may have seen on Pinterest and Instagram. A place to rival Nyhavn in Copenhagen, these streets are wonderfully pretty and full of quirky cafes and souvenir shops to boot.

Gamla Stan - colourful buildings

We ventured to Gamla Stan and spotted the loveliest cafe, Kaffekoppen, so we headed there on our last day to celebrate Fettisdagen (The Fat Tuesday - similar in tradition to pancake day!)

Gamla Stan - cute coffee shop front in old town Stockholm

Semlor - a sweet Swedish delicacy

The Swedish semlor - a sweet, cinnamon roll filled with almond paste and whipped cream - is something I knew was a must when visiting Stockholm over Shrove Tuesday. Although cinnamon and almond paste are absolutely not my favourites, I tried this glorious looking roll - because, well, when in Sweden - and was pleasantly surprised.

Apparently they also so offer a jam version, so next time I'll be back to sample that instead!

Record Store in Stockholm

Gamla Stan

It's ridiculously easy to find your way around Stockholm.

We walked absolutely everywhere, from our hotel in the East of the city, through to the old town and right across the water to Sodermalm. If you don't fancy doing 25,000 steps a day however, the T-Bana system (the underground) is a simple way to get around. There are stations littered around each neighbourhood and many run till the early hours.


Sodermalm



This part is suggested to be the 'hip' area of Stockholm, so we tried out a couple of foodie places and bars in this area like the cool kids we think we are.

There was a fantastic veggie feast at Herman's Vegetarian Restaurant and Garden Cafe. With plenty of food puns, skyline views and an incredible lunch buffet on offer every day (and it's all vegan) this is a must visit if you're ever visiting the area.

Vegetarian cafe in Stockholm

Vegetarian cafe in Stockholm

Also in Sodermalm you'll find plenty of pubs and bars to drink the night away.
Before we visited, lots of people had mentioned they thought Stockholm was really expensive. In actual fact, as with lots of European countries, it completely depends on where you go and what you buy.

In Sweden, they have Systembolaget - liquor stores who have the monopoly on selling alcohol with a volume of 3.5% or more. The only alcohol you can buy from a supermarket is weak beer and if you do want to buy something stronger, the liquor stores are only open for specific, short hours each day. Lots of the bars are very expensive if you're buying spirits and cocktails but there are definitely budget options out there.

Tourist shot in Stockholm - with Fjallraven backpackOne of my favourite finds was Baras 2 Noll - a quirky, bigger-than-it-looks drinking hole just off the main street of Sodermalm. They serve a variety of drinks including house beer and cider for a mere £1.80 - it's a pretty sure bet if you're on a budget.

We also visited a great, local Krogan Soldaten Svejk in Sodermalm for our last meal in the city. Good beer and authentic, Swedish pub food (with all the cheese you could possible want) - what could be better?


Tourist shot in Stockholm - Winter

Overall, I loved Gamla Stan for it's friendly atmosphere and often touristic nature, but would love to explore Sodermalm further if I got the opportunity to visit again. There are definitely far more delights than we had time to discover!

Have you visited Stockholm? Any great food/drink places you discovered?


leanne

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A TRIP TO THE SEASIDE WITH MUM // ft. The Car People

Scarborough Graduation - Family Photo

Just in time for Mother's Day - The Car People asked me to write about a memorable car journey I shared with my wonderful Mum.


On a number of occasions throughout my time at university a few years ago, my mum and I made the short trip to Scarborough together. Choosing to live by the sea for three years was a hit because she and I are both a big fan of the typical British, East Coast holiday but more specifically - 2p machines. 

When she dropped me off every year to a new flat or shared house, we'd pack the car to the very brim and wonder how I'd managed to amass so many 'need to have with me' items.

Scarborough Sea Front

One notable trip however, was the first time I drove my own car for the trip.

It's not news to those who know me well that I am not a fan of driving, so to be taking to the road for a drive lasting longer than an hour - for the first time ever - was bound to be memorable. Although my mum has always been a great driver, it turned not she's not particularly supportive when it comes to being passenger to a nervous driver. Honestly, I can't blame her.

The journey ran surprisingly smoothly in my opinion - it's a very straight, very easy road from my parents' house - accompanied by worried outbursts and gasps from my mum every time she thought I was driving:

A. too fast
B. too close to the left
C. too close to the right

By the time I actually arrived into the town, I had become so worked up over these interjections that I pulled over into the car park of a B&Q and absolutely refused to drive any further. My mum drove the rest of the way and it's safe to say, I've not been asked to drive her anywhere since!

Graduation photo - Scarborough Spa

It's not all been an uphill struggle though, the final time we drove up to Scarborough together was to attend my graduation ceremony. Although I was more excited for the wild night out afterwards, it was an exciting trip all round for my family and my mum in particular.

We managed to get there safely (her driving, of course) with no dramatic driver swaps along the way. It was a glorious day and great to celebrate the occasion with my mum and the rest of my family.

Graduation family photo - Mother's Day


I might be biased, but I think my mum is the absolute best, even if she doesn't trust me to get her to the seaside in one piece!


Thanks to The Car People for inspiring this post - let me know a memorable car journey you've had with your own mum in the comments below!

leanne

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