Worst Tourists in Sweden

We might travel often but we’ve never claimed to be good at it. In fact, we are often surprised with our sheer inability to take full advantage of a new location, leaving our families and friends underwhelmed when we recount how we spent our time. Yes, we only visited one tourist attraction in three days. No, we didn’t get around to eating any local delicacies. Yes, we spent several hours in the afternoon hanging out at a coffee shop/cocktail bar. Oops.

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On our recent inaugural trip to Stockholm, here’s what we didn’t do.

We didn’t eat herring. We didn’t eat meatballs. Or lingonberry anything. We didn’t visit many of the city’s most well-known and beloved attractions. We walked past the Nobel Museum multiple times with promises to go in eventually, but never did. We decided at the last minute to jump on a canal boat cruise, during which I fell asleep. We went far out of our way to take one of the city’s many ferries but didn’t check the timetable and arrived to the dock only to realize we would need to wait another hour for the pleasure of a ride.

We didn’t wait.

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Despite our inability to be tourist superstars, we did adore Stockholm and all it has to offer. It’s beautiful, situated on a series of islands that connect via a complex network of bridges and ferries. Stockholm is also arguably the centre of the Scandinavian design movement, and the feeling is strong there, my friends. I typically hate shopping but the pull of the products in the grand windows sucked me right in. I bought a cute birdhouse keychain and some funny striped drinking straws. If anyone needs the perfect prop for a food photo shoot, just holler. I’ve got you covered on the straws.

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Here are a few of our other highlights from Stockholm.

The Vasa Museet (Museum) – This was the single most recommended attraction by multiple friends and colleagues. Vasa was a huge ship built in the early 1600’s. It set to sail in 1628 only to sink within a few hours in the harbour. Several hundred years later, the wreck was raised, lightly refurbished and put on display. I can’t get over the engineering disaster that this ship was, and that fact is glossed over a bit during the many informative videos and models. The ship was too tall and too skinny to withstand even the gentlest wind. Really? How did this even happen? I feel like there’s a great mystery buried in the Vasa Museet involving engineers, politicians and royalty.

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Fotografiska – A little off the beaten tourist path, this is Stockholm’s modern photography exhibition space, containing an ever rotating series of collections. There, I was introduced to the fantastic and funny British photographer Martin Parr, who I am now officially obsessed with. His series of photos of Bored Couples is cringe worthy. On his website you can see a collection from time he spent at the Almafi Coast in Italy during the height of tourist season, which is fantastic and terrible. Humans are strange creatures. His exhibition is on until mid-June, but he has many books available and his site is extensive. He’s definitely worth a look.

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Östermalms Saluhall – Finally, we took in a lazy lunch at this wonderful covered market. Markets are usually our favourite places to discover a city, and this was no exception. Östermalm’s has been in business since 1888, and is a more high-end version of this type of market than we normally see. The rows of wagyu beef and caviar were beautiful but not really appropriate for a picnic lunch. Instead we got some takeaway smorgasbord and ate in a churchyard nearby.

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We love our frequent weekend travels, and are still amazed by the convenience of flying within Europe. It’s honestly one of the great pleasures of our lives. But, when we’ve had a long week and we plop down in a new city on Friday afternoon with 48 hours in front of us, it can be tough to maintain our energy straight through to Sunday. It’s not glamorous but it’s true.

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Stockholm, we love you. We can’t wait to come back and finally visit the Nobel Museum. But for now I think it’s time for a nap.

Are you a tourist superstar? Or are you like us, meandering, taking pictures of flowers and drinking too many cocktails?

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  • May 6, 2015

    Beautiful photos, as always. I especially love the one of you with the blossom, Julie. You look radiant 🙂

    • May 7, 2015
      Julie

      Thanks of course. You’re too sweet! Practicing a little more every day 🙂

  • May 6, 2015

    ha im the opposite! i like to travel on a packed itinerary. nice to hear the opposite view though and gorgeous sweden photos!

    Sher
    http://www.shershegoes.com

    • May 6, 2015

      We certainly try to pack more things in, but just doesn’t usually happen in the end. We’re big fans of a mid-afternoon hotel break. Though in Stockholm, the biggest culprit was the amount of beer we drank on Friday night! Made Saturday a little rough for exploring!

  • May 8, 2015

    We are the suckiest tourists of all time. We just like to walk around and see normal life when we visit a new destination. Now we have a kid we can blame it on him but we pretty much go to a new place, walk around for hours, hunt out the best coffee and food we can find and then go to sleep.
    Emma Healey recently posted…How Much Does It Cost to Live in Spain?My Profile

  • May 8, 2015

    I like the way you travel, which is anyway you DAMN WELL PLEASE! I hate when people believe there is only one way to do things! You are allowed to see (and not see) whatever you would like!
    Ashley recently posted…Review of Trustedhousesitters.comMy Profile

    • May 9, 2015

      We agree wholeheartedly. It’s our getaway, so we structure around our travel style. Sometimes I think we should have seen/done more, but regardless, we always have a good time moving at our own pace, not a pace set by a guide book.

  • May 14, 2015

    As much as I want to travel, I just can’t afford it right now. One day, I hope to explore all that the world has to offer. I love your blog! It’s wonderful to experience through photographs the beauty of Europe. 🙂
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Asian SlawMy Profile

    • May 15, 2015
      Julie

      You want to travel more and I wish I could cook like a rockstar 🙂 It’s so much fun to piggyback on other people’s passions and live vicariously through others!