This past week has been so exciting for me: two of my best friends came to visit! I feel extra lucky and special because they flew all the way from Utah to come see my home here in Stockholm. Our home university had spring break this past week, so most of my Utah friends were traveling around. I am so happy my friends chose to spend their break visiting me because I had the best week ever with them. I got to introduce them to my new friends and classmates, as well as show them the places that are meaningful to my life here. While I am not exactly a local of Stockholm, I don’t know if I would consider myself to be a tourist. My two friends, on the other hand, reignited my excitement for Stockholm and inspired me to really play into the tourist mindset. Keep reading to see what fun tourist things we did this week!
Fika Buffet and Fotografiska
The first morning of their visit, we met up at the Fotografiska museum, which I had already been to one other time. Luckily, the exhibits here are always changing, so it was still new and exciting for me. Our favorite exhibit during this visit was called “In Bloom” which featured various immersive digital art displays. There were interesting videos to watch regarding the different pieces and the whole experience felt like I had been transported to another world. However, the best part about the museum visit was the fika buffet upstairs! If I’m being honest, this was the main reason for our visit, and it did not disappoint. We had unlimited coffee, cinnamon buns, biscotti, and more, all for around $12 USD. I ate way way too many cinnamon buns, but that seems to be a common occurrence for me. We sat next to a large window and enjoyed our pastries. Funny enough, the one time I have friends visiting is of course the one time that there is a blizzard in Stockholm. But I’m not complaining; the snow reminded me of Utah, and with two familiar faces by my side, I felt very content.
This is what we looked like riding the metro because of the blizzard. (Us Utahns know all about snow).
There’s me in the middle, with Maya on my left and Quinci to my right. If you are looking to show people what Sweden is all about, you have to take them to Hornsgatan Kvarterskrog. These are the best Swedish meatballs you will find in Stockholm. While the dish is a bit pricier, it is so worth the money. You get meatballs, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes. My friends were so pleased with these meatballs and this restaurant that I felt like a five-star tour guide. I also ordered my meal in Swedish and they were shocked, so I felt really cool to be able to show them these parts of my life. We spent the evening catching up and laughing, and it felt so good. My friends and family back in Utah are a whole 8 hours behind me, so it’s sometimes difficult to keep them updated. Seeing them in person was definitely much needed!
Boat Tour of Stockholm
If we look cold, it’s because we were. BUT, don’t worry because we still had the time of our lives on this boat. This experience is exactly what I meant when I said my friends inspired me to be a tourist; I had never even considered taking a guided tour of Stockholm. Quinci and Maya planned the whole thing out, so all I had to do was buy my ticket and sit back and enjoy. We got to ride on a cute little boat while we toured all around the islands of Stockholm, and our tour guide was excellent. She was cracking jokes and knew so much about the history of Stockholm and its buildings. I actually learned more about Sweden on this tour than I have anywhere else. I think it was somewhere around $30 USD or so, which felt like a fair price for how cool the experience was. I am used to walking around the streets of Stockholm and don’t always stop to look around, so being on a boat out on the water really gave me a new perspective on things. On a side note, we almost missed this boat ride and had to sprint off of our bus to the dock, but it’s fine because it gave us some adrenaline.
Me, a tourist, excited about the flag of Sweden. (Fun fact: our tour guide told us the flag represents a cross on a blue sky).
When we got off the boat, we wandered around for a couple hours and had a photoshoot. Surprisingly enough, this was my first photoshoot since being here in Sweden. I think I am too busy worrying about exploring new places that I forget to document the process. Quick study abroad tip: take photos. You don’t have to take photos to impress other people or to post on your socials to look cool. Just take photos because you’re going to want to remember these awesome things and places you experience. As we wandered, we came across a fancy hotel and looked around inside. Everyone in there also looked fancy so we got scared and left. We also wandered into the National Museum, which we did not buy tickets to. However, we did get some glimpses into what it looked like, so I will definitely need to go back to investigate further. It looked quite interesting! Overall, it was super fun to walk around the city and take photos like a tourist would. We were giggling loudly throughout the journey, so we definitely got some stares, but that made me feel even more tourist so I loved it.
Mandatory Abba Museum Visit
I had to do it at least once. I’m sure we all saw this one coming: the classic Stockholm Abba Museum visit. This is going to sound bad, but I honestly didn’t really know who ABBA was before coming to Stockholm. Trust me, if you come to Sweden, you will learn more about ABBA than you ever need to know, but in a good way. Somehow I became an ABBA fan after visiting this museum; it was so much fun and so informative. My friends absolutely loved this place, and so did I. It had a lot of immersive parts, including karaoke and stage performing, as well as song mixing. We spent a couple hours here and there were many laughs exchanged. It was reasonably priced and full of good vibes and photo ops. Also, don’t worry about language barriers here, as every exhibit had an English translation. I had ABBA songs stuck in my head for hours after we left. I haven’t ever been to a museum like this one before, so I would definitely recommend you visit it.
Again, I am very grateful I got to be Quinci and Maya’s tour guide for a few days. Their visit cured a part of me that feels homesick from time to time and reminded me that I am so lucky to be studying abroad in such a beautiful place! If you choose to study abroad in Stockholm, definitely try to convince some people from home to come visit you. My friends found a cheap hostel for their stay and all of the activities we did were fairly budget friendly. The process of obtaining a transportation card is also quite easy, so no need to stress about that. It was so interesting to interact with people who hadn’t ever seen Stockholm before because it gave me a new appreciation for the things around me. I am mostly settled into routine now, so some of the initial excitement about Stockholm has worn off, but my friends visiting reignited my spark. There are so many tourist attractions here in Stockholm that I have to remind myself about. I wish I could stop time so I could go out and explore all of Stockholm because there is so much to see.
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