The last few days of our trip were rounded out with neighborhood exploration, an amazing photography museum, delicious meals, and some seriously chilly temps. Of course there were also a few tantrums, tired moms, and overflowing suitcases to deal with as well 🙂
Friday, Lynn and I set out on a morning shopping and exploration mission sans kiddies while Ashley did a little bit of adventuring with her little ones. We toured the neighborhood around our hotel a bit and checked out some of the fashion and home decor shops, sadly it was good Friday and many of the stores we had been planning to visit on this excursion were closed, which was a bit of a bummer. Still, we jumped in a cab and headed over the Södermalm neighborhood, a very fun and trendy area where we were able to find a few cool places that had stayed open. Grandpa, a lifestyle and clothing store carrying mainly Swedish brands was a favorite in that area.
We also took a peek in the famous Urban Deli, a gourmet grocer, wine bar, and restaurant rolled into one, but didn’t eat there because sadly we took a completely in-vain journey to Steam, a famed Asian restaurant in Södermalm said to have amazing dumplings, (dumplings are another major obsession of mine), which was also closed do to the Easter Holidays. I wish we had a full day to explore the small streets and alleys of Södermalm but we were only able to walk around for a little while as we had a very necessary Swedish spa plan scheduled for later on that afternoon. On a future visit I definitely want to explore this neighborhood further and eat those amazing dumplings, preferable not on a holiday!
After Ubering around unnecessarily we made some calls and found that another chic lunch spot on our list, Gretas, inside the Haymarket by Scandic Hotel was in fact open, and so we went there for an amazing and healthy little lunch, prosecco for me, followed by a fabulous dessert. Greta’s was super cute, with charming pink decor and pineapple light fixtures. The menu each day is healthy and small but amazing, we had the most beautiful carrot soup I’ve ever seen, and a great salad with squid.
All the while this adults -only outing was happening Karen, Jackie, and the kiddies were spending another lively and exciting day at Junibacken, where they played for hours and had lunch in the whimsical cafe.
We reunited with Ashley and the crew briefly at the Nobis and then the three of us ladies headed off to a little ladies spa situation at Sturebadet, a gem of a spa discreetly located kind of randomly in a sort of shopping mall tower. This place is seriously in disguise, you walk into a very unassuming little storefront in the main building, only to take an elevator and be transported to a large indoor oasis complete with a large indoor pool backed by a beautiful mosaic tile wall, jacuzzis, steam rooms, aromatherapy meditation room, and the like. The whole setup still confuses me a little but we had a lovely and relaxing time, and I think no trip to Sweden would be complete without going for an authentic Swedish massage and spa experience. Post massage we walked out into a light snowfall, seriously freezing temps (they had been dropping for days) and frozen spring blooms. Thankfully no full-on snowstorm ensued but it was definitely brisk for the remainder of our trip.
That night we had a seriously crazy dinner at a delicious and thankfully very loud Tapas place called Boqueira. The hotel arranged the reservation pretty last minute and so we ended up having to sit at a large high top table, with all the littles on super high chairs. Basically Karen and I had to take turns having Isla on our laps throughout the entire dinner, where much screaming, crying, and whining was taking place, and Lu or may not have may have slid of her chair at least once. Still, as always we tried to find the humor in the craziest of situations (great wine helps) and still managed to have a nice time. We got tons of small plates and paella, everything was delicious and thankfully due to the general noise volume in the large and full space, only a couple of people shot looks at our unruly children.
Our last full day and night were such good ones, we had a really memorable day spent exploring with the kiddies followed by an unforgettable dining experience which was the perfect way to end this wonderful trip…
Our first stop was Fotografiska, the renowned Swedish photography museum right on the water. Being a photography lover this was a place I had been looking forward to visiting for the entire trip, and it did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to have a napping Isla in the stroller and so was able to pretty leisurely make my way through the museum. The rest of the kiddies were pretty excited about the photos and picking their favorites, so a good time was had by all I’d say. There were so many highlights, including a Patrick Demarchelier fashion photography exhibition, Lumière, a collection of photos taken of babies in utero by Lennart Nilsson, and the crowd favorite, a mesmerizing exhibit called I Know Not These My Hands by Cooper & Gorfer, which was a collection of intricate photography collages so dreamy they literally looked like paintings. The photos below do not do them justice, if you ever come across it them make a point to check out their work! The girls loved watching the movie showing the photographers’ process for picking their subjects and shooting the photos on location as well. Fotografiska also happens to be topped off with a fabulous restaurant looking out over the harbor, which did visit but opted for the still delicious but more casual take-away option so the kids could run around a little. The icing on the cake and was an insane bookshop, where I took a ton of photos to remember for my ever-growing coffee table book collection.
Being that the day was bright and sunny and a little warmer we walked from the museum over the bridge to the Gamla Stan aka Old Town area and explored that neighborhood for a while, taking in the quaint alleys and cobbled streets. Ashley and I had a little pit stop for a glass of wine, and after a while we all meandered back to the hotel, over more bridges and past lovely old buildings. One of my favorite parts of traveling is just the aimless wander, taking it all in and not quite knowing what you’ll come across.
Later on that afternoon after a little rest in the hotel we brought all of the kids back to the nearby park to get some energy out before they had dinner in at the hotel with Karen and Jackie, and had a little photo session where we managed to get the one and only pic of the entire group of twelve of us of the trip!
That evening was our last night, and Ashley, Lynn, and I had our final dinner out, and it was without a doubt one of the best! The Michelin star restaurant, Gastrologik , is tucked on an unassuming side street in the Ostermalm district and is an innovative Scandinavian restaurant focusing on seasonal ingredients. The meal was around twelve courses, all small, and featured some of the most beautiful food I have ever seen- think a small snack in a bowl of tiny tried rosebuds and an oyster dish served on wha looked like a birds nest. Aside from the unforgettable food the experience was made all the more interesting because we sat at the common table with five strangers. It was fun to talk about the food and wine and meet new people, a couple of whom were definitely characters- throw in a wine pairing and it was bound to get interesting. Definitely worth a visit for the beautiful and delicious food, and I would recommend sitting at the common table as you get a tour of the kitchen area and can watch the chefs at work for a little while, which is always fun and interesting. The decor is also worth mentioning, a very minimal but elegant modern look, and the only photo I have from the night is of the entirely copper bathroom!
The journey home from Stockholm feels like a distant memory a few months later, which makes me realize I have to get better at writing things in a more timely matter, but I digress. After painstakingly repacking, aka stuffing way too much in the suitcases and praying they aren’t overweight or that you get a nice ticket agent, and a few crazy tantrums in the hotel lobby that made me dread the travels home we were on our way (by taxi this time) to the airport, our whirlwind Scandinavian adventure having come to a close! The airport experience and flight themselves weren’t bad, a lot of iPad movies were watched, and everyone had a lot of kiddie sleeping time and pretty minimal screaming time which is always a good thing. I’m happy to report that none of my children got sick during the entire journey from the Nobis Hotel to my doorstep, but even if they had I would have survived, having packed the requisite three outfits per person in our carry on bag. I will always treasure this trip taken with my best friends and all of these kiddies, and I have a newfound love for the Northern European region and look forward to the day we will find ourselves there again!