Lucky for us, over here in Europe, we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off. The European holiday scheme is so wonderful – we are so so thankful for it as it allows us to travel more frequently and relax and take a breather from our hectic work schedules. Dan and I are usually really good at planning ahead and getting good deals, but with our crazy work schedules in January and February, we forgot to book something for this long weekend. As all of Europe has Friday and Monday off, it is a very popular travel weekend and therefore, flights are much more expensive than usual. So we decided on the cheapest flights we could find! Stockholm and Copenhagen it is! Both places were on our “want to visit” list, but we didn’t really have many expectations from either city going into the trip. We were just excited to get away! So off to Stockholm…
After a longggg travel evening, we arrived in Stockholm around midnight Thursday night. We woke up bright and early Friday morning for a boat tour. It was pretty cold, but it was so sunny we didn’t care and we still wanted to get out on the boat. As soon as we got on the boat, I fell in love with Stockholm. The clear water, the beautiful boats, the colourful buildings, the character of the architecture, the old town built into the hill…I could keep going 🙂 The boat tour was such a great way to start the trip. The boat was a lot of fun. The tour guide was great and the boat was adorable: we sat on reindeer blankets provided, covered up in fleece blankets and had some Glogg (Swedish hot mulled wine) to keep us warm. The boat took us out and around the archipelago islands of Fjäderholmarna. The tour lasted just over an hour, which was the perfect amount of time [just before our fingers started to freeze]!
After the boat tour, we walked around the city and wandered over to the “Vasa Museet”. It is a 400 year old ship that was recovered from the water. It sat in the water for over 300 years, and 95% of the boat is original – pretty amazing! It’s also a pretty crazy story on how it sank…as it only lasted less than 20 minutes into it’s maiden voyage before sinking! The cannons and heavy weapons were placed on a deck too low, and when the first gust of wind hit the sails, the boat started to tip and could never recover and started to sink. How embarrassing! The museum was beautiful – the boat was so intricately designed with so many beautiful carved details and sculptures throughout. Dan loved this museum, as he is watching a show called “Black Sails” right now, and it takes places on boats just like this one.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city and then headed off into “Old Town” for dinner. We had dinner at Pelikan – a restaurant that has been in Stockholm since circa 1664. This was true, authentic Swedish cuisine at it’s finest! Dan and the Swedish meatballs and I had the roasted reindeer! It was all fantastic – I’d highly recommend this place! After dinner, we strolled around Old Town and grabbed drinks at a few little bars. First at this awesome bar that used to be an old pharmacy. They have kept the integrity of the old pharmacy on the interior and they have designed their menu around “medicine” and “elixir’s”. So much fun! Our second stop was a really cute little wine cave, tucked away in a little side street.
The following morning we headed over to the Royal Palace for a tour. At this point, we’ve seen a lot of castles and palaces, so to be honest – they’re all starting to look a little bit the same! This one was very pretty. It was HUGE! The entry ways are massive and are all stone, which was a bit odd to me as it is such a cold climate city, it seems like if the whole interior was stone, it’d be really cold!!! But never less, it was really pretty and as the weather that day was also perfect, it was nice to see the sun shining through the massive windows and columns of the palace. It’s still crazy to me that these cities have kings and queens! Puts the US White House to shame!
After the tour of the palace, we continued to explore the Old Town. I loved this area of the city. The streets were cobblestone and were narrow and windy. The buildings were colourful and each one had it’s own special character and design. We had a lovely lunch at a local café and went on our way!
We had an evening flight to Copenhagen, so after lunch we only had a few hours left in this beautiful city. We decided to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather and views. We took a bus up to TJÄRHOVSPLAN which was up at the top of the hill, with the most beautiful views of the city. It was the perfect place to sit and relax and reflect on our wonderful time in Stockholm. Like I said earlier, we didn’t have any expectations for this city – but it has moved up to the top of our list of places we’ve loved. I’d love to go back in either the summer or the heart of winter, as I can just imagine it’s beauty covered in flowers or snow!
Saturday evening we hopped on a plane to Copenhagen. Our super easy and quick flight got us into Copenhagen just in time for a late dinner. We headed over to the up and coming “meat packing district” as I had read great reviews on Yelp about the many bars and restaurants. We were especially excited for a bar called “War Pigs”. It was a collaboration bar between Mikkeller [Danish brewery] and Three Floyds [Indiana brewery]. Some of our favourite beers are from Three Floyds – so it was a shock to see that they were over here in Copenhagen! This bar did not disappoint. They had about 20 beers on tap and a cafeteria style BBQ restaurant. We had some amazing brews! After a drink, we went across the parking lot to a pizza restaurant called “Mother”. In Dan’s words “This is probably the best pizza I’ve ever had. Even better than Rome.” And that – says a lot! It was seriously so delicious! I’d go back to Copenhagen for these two places alone!
Sunday was our full day in Copenhagen, so we started it off with a traditional brunch. We found that the Danes like their food very elegant and simple. Such a great breakfast in a really cute residential neighbourhood.
After brunch, we started sightseeing the city again with a boat tour! The canal tour was the perfect way for us to see the city and to get an idea of how and where we wanted to spend our time. The main canal, Nyhaven, is very beautiful. Full of boats, colour and people. The rest of the city, was a bit lacklustre to us compared to Stockholm. It definitely had its charm, but it felt a bit tired and dull. The colours weren’t as bright, the architecture wasn’t as unique and the overall vibe was a bit too hipster for our liking. But that didn’t keep us from exploring and having a great time! We love being outdoors, especially on the water, so it was nice to just cruise for a while in a new city!
After the tour, we walked around the city some more until it started to rain. We decided to take advantage of Copenhagen’s awesome brewery, Mikkeller, and pop into one of their pubs for some tastes. After Mikkeller, we somehow ended up back at War Pigs for some BBQ and more brews J there, we met one of the workers that was from Seattle, WA and he guided us to another brewpub that he highly recommended for their sour beer selection [one of my favourites!]. So off we went to the other side of town to find this brewpub. And alas, we found what may have been my favourite bar of all time – a Lambic Beer bar! They had a WHOLE WALL full of sour beers! I was able to try what the bartender suggested as the “sourest beer” they have! It was amazing – I loved it! It was a cute bar with a lot of character.
On Monday, our last day of holiday, we got up early to grab some traditional danishes from the famous Meyers bakery and enjoy our morning coffee in the quiet, before the city full of tourists woke up! We enjoyed our danishes on the canal in the sun, it was perfect! My blueberry Danish was amazing! Afterwards, we took a walk over to the Church of Our Saviour. It is a very unique building with a tall black and gold spire in which you can climb to the top for views of the city. Personally, we thought it was ugly – but that’s just us! But the views from the top were pretty great. I always love seeing cities from their highest point, because as a real estate nerd, I love seeing it’s design and architecture spread throughout.
We spent the rest of the day just walking and taking the bus around. The weather was great, so we just soaked up the sun!
Overall, it was an amazing Easter holiday. So nice to have such a long weekend to relax. We both needed it tremendously! We put Stockholm high up on our list of places we’ve visited and loved. We’d love to go back either in the summer or in the heart of winter to see it’s beauty. Copenhagen was ok, we’re glad we did it – but probably wouldn’t go back!
Happy Easter everyone!
Our next trip in the books is for my birthday in April – Paris! Stay tuned!