Another spring week, another random Jesus-themed holiday…this time Ascension Day. Not wanting to let Jesus rising on a Thursday ruin a perfectly good long weekend opportunity, Ant’s work also threw in Friday as a day off.
Letting flight prices decide our fate, we ended up in Stockholm. It had been over ten years since I had been there and my memory was a bit hazy, so it was nice to have an excuse to revisit some favourite places under the pretense of showing them to Ant.
I made us go to the Royal Armoury museum (livrustkammaren) underneath the palace, because I remembered it being strange and excellent. I don’t know if it’s a Swedish thing, or just this museum in particular, but they are weirdly into keeping the clothes in which royal people died – mud, blood, bullet holes and all – as well as carrying out random exhumations every so often. The pièce de résistance of this museum is the piece of cloth that held the memento one Queen kept after her husband the King died… HIS HEART. Ugh, royal olden-days bitches be crazy. Anyway, the Swedes just made all their publicly owned museums free, so go check out the Armoury if ever you are there.
Sweden also have hands down the best changing of the guards I have ever seen. It restored my faith in guard-changing after the farce that was Hungary’s efforts. It’s pretty hard to top a marching brass band where the drummer has the reins tied to his feet.
We met our quota of preposterous modern art at Moderna Museet, as well as dutifully exploring the old town – Gamla Stan.
I was never going to let Ant visit Stockholm without seeing the Vasa. Those who know me will know this museum is totally in my historical, nautical, scientific wheelhouse.
Pre-Vasa, we had loaded up on all kinds of herring and Swedish scotch eggs at the Oaxen Krog & Slip. It was a very nautical day, all things considered.
We stayed in Södermalm and tried to lean in to the hipster lifestyle, mainly by going to Omnipollo craft brewery every single day. In our defence, it was over the road from our accommodation and just too darn tempting. At one point we stumbled upon a giant congregation of hipsters, but sadly couldn’t join as we had an appointment to eat some meatballs that for once weren’t from IKEA. It was at this meatball restaurant that the holiday peaked – when we saw the UK’s Eurovision entrants at the table opposite. Don’t ask me how I knew it was them…
We also lost our mind over Swedish danishes, if that makes sense. Sacrilegious I know, but the Swedes really know their way around a pastry (our picks were Brillo Box and Fabrique).
We also got a bit carried away visiting Swedish supermarkets. It’s traditional for expats to hate on Danish supermarkets, which is a trap I have been trying to avoid (who needs choice anyway!). We must have been suffering on a subconscious level though, because we kind of ran around like crazy people in the land of plenty that is a Swedish supermarket. We were like one of those videos of a caged animal that experiences the outdoors for the first time in a decade. They also had top quality rando chocolate varieties – we might have got a bit carried away with the novelty value. While I am not sure I’d actually buy the corn tortilla chip chocolate again, I am glad it exists.