Our Baltic sailing departed from one of the most popular cities in Scandinavia--Stockholm! Lucky for us, that meant we got to spend extra time exploring this Swedish gem. Truth be told, Stockholm had never really been on my travel radar. Even though it was a short plane ride away, in my mind it was so much father. Sometimes it takes cruising to multiple destinations to get you to see places you never considered before!
The night before our cruise set sail, D and I flew into Arlanda International just outside of Stockholm. Our flight got us to Sweden around 10pm, so instead of trying to hail a taxi or take a city bus, we opted to take the Arlanda Express straight into town (20 minute ride--kind of pricey, but at 11pm at night, you hardly give a crap--book early for discounts!). Thankfully, our hotel was just around the corner from where the train stopped, so we only had to lug our 4 suitcases about half a block (cruise packing is ridiculous, y'all). Once in our room at the fabulous Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, we met up with friends for a nightcap at the SKYBAR and then crashed...HARD. Travel is exhausting! Bright and early the next morning after checking out, we had the hotel store our luggage and we hopped a tour bus to have a quick driving view of the city before boarding the cruise ship at noon. The weather was slightly drab, but we enjoyed the sights nevertheless. Stockholm is rich with history and boasts some stunning architecture, so our eyes were busy scanning the skyline for unique landmarks and traditional facades. I especially loved seeing the ABBA museum--pop culture is still alive and well in Stockholm!
Since our cruise also ended its sailing journey in Stockholm, we had another opportunity to wander the city before flying back to Germany that evening. We opted to take a tour and airport transfer with the cruise line, so we had a tour guide drop us off in Gamla Stan (Stockholm's Old Town) for part of the morning while the rest of the day was spent viewing Stockholm's colorful harbor from various vantage points. My favorite views were from Monteliusvagen...you could see City Hall, Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen, and Lake Malaren from its vistas. D loved learning about City Hall where the Nobel Prize award ceremony and banquet is held every year. Such a neat piece of history--past and present!
Even though Stockholm wasn't a key travel destination for me at the time, we definitely enjoyed learning and exploring all Sweden's capital city had to offer. From culture and history, all the way to great food and pop music, Stockholm surprises from all angles! I would absolutely visit again someday.