Stockholm is one of my favorite cities, coming second to Boston. I could absolutely see myself living in Stockholm some day. Mormor, my grandmother on my mother’s side, is one of the sweetest people I know. I got to spend the past 5 days with her in Stockholm and it has been wonderful! I arrived at Stockholm’s central train station at about 2pm and was greeted by my aunt Margaretha, who was kind enough to give me a ride to Mormor’s apartment where Swedish meatballs were waiting for us! The rest of that afternoon was spent eating and catching up with my grandmother, who I do not get to see nearly enough.

The next day, Margaretha was off from work so we went into the center of Stockholm and explored. This was so much fun! I have always ventured to the same part of the center,  ‘T-Centralen’ – which consists of a main plaza and shopping area. This time we went to a different neighborhood, known as Ostermansborg. This was beautiful. We walked through a park, where there was a statue of Carl Linnaeus. My middle name is Linnea, one of many typical Swedish names. I finally learned where this name comes from; it was one of Carl Linnaeus favorite flowers which he named after himself, they are small and pink.

We landed in an old indoor market where I had never been before. This is by far one of the coolest places I have seen in Stockholm. There were shops with fish, meats, cheese, vegetables, restaurants and almost anything you could imagine…

Ostermalm Saluhall - Stockholm

We had lunch here – fish stew (salmon) with tomatoes, olives, potatoes and a Swedish sauce. This was absolutely one of the best Swedish meals I have ever had. It was flavorful but simple, and the combination of acidic tomatoes and lemon to the salmon and potatoes was perfect, I wanted each bite to last forever!

Possibly my favorite part of Stockholm is the old city, or Gamla Stan. Growing up and traveling to Sweden every few years with my family, visiting the old city has always been a top priority. There is a magical feel to the narrow, cobbled streets here. Aside from the swarms of tourists who flood the city in the summer, Gamla Stan is an absolute must see in Stockholm. With cute bakeries, restaurants, statues, beautiful architecture and little antique shops – there is something here for everyone.

During my day in Gamla Stan I have come to realize how much I love traveling alone. Having the freedom to wander down a street that looks interesting, then turn around and head down a different alley if I get the urge, is an exhilarating feeling. To be fully alone with a chunk of time in a new location creates unlimited possibilities for wandering – I can think of few things that are better than this.

In town, I turned down a small alley way and stumbled into a small shop that sold old Swedish copper, as well as antique nick-knacks. Everything was pretty expensive, but I just love popping into small shops like this one and simply browsing.

I had lunch at a small restaurant, Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, gravy, mashed potatoes and salad. I sat outside enjoying the first day of beautiful weather this trip, it was almost 70 degrees (F) and finally sunny, after days of rain!

On last my night, the family gathered, including my pregnant cousin Louise who I haven’t seen since I was about five and my cousin Jacob! It was a lovely meal; warm smoked salmon with a potato snow pea salad and a delicious sauce. We also tried some smoked reindeer that my aunt picked up at the indoor market for me to try; it had a texture and taste like ham, and was very salty! All in all, it was unbelievable to see my family and my trip to Sweden was wonderful, I am sad to be leaving.

Now I am off to Rome where the plan is to meet my friends Marianna and Sammy at the Roma Termini station at noon tomorrow. I have decided to do this trip without a phone, so we will have to rely on the ‘old fashioned’ method of making plans – setting a time and place days before, and meet up without further confirmation. I hope this will go smoothly and I can barely express how excited I am to start this completely unknown part of my journey!

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