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Sweden

“Hej” is hello, in Swedish. It’s pronounced like “hey”, which I’ve found to be rather disarming, because it makes strangers seem like old friends – even in the most unexpected of places. Whether it be at an information desk, convenience store, or even in an elevator – the “Hej!” always catches me off guard and I get pretty flustered when I turn around and see an unfamiliar face. “Oh, uh, hey!”

In general, the Swedes are quite nice and we’ve had a pleasant time exploring the rest of Stockholm.

Apart from fika-ing our way across the city, we were able to do some sight-seeing and window-shopping too (emphasis on “window”, considering the fact that everything here is out of my affordable range, and then some).

But let’s get to the good stuff. Here are the highlights from the past couple of days in Stockholm.

Nytorget Urban Deli, Söder
This is a pretty sweet spot. Not very often will you find a market with a bar, café, and full-on restaurant inside.

The restaurant serves food with fresh ingredients sourced straight from the market itself – which is stocked with not only your classic grocery store inventory, but with tons of hip, trendy foods and snacks too. Oh, and it smells like freshly baked kanelbulle in there. If there’s one marketing tactic that never fails to work on me, it’s places that smell like freshly baked goods. I just can’t say no.

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One of things that are very easily overlooked when moving to another country are the country-specific holidays. It wasn’t too long ago that I found out that we had work off today. Today is the Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Germany Unity Day) – Germany’s national holiday to celebrate the anniversary of the German Reunification about 24 years ago. Luckily I still had enough time to plan a last-minute getaway.

Stockholm. Close enough to make sense for a long-weekend trip, but far enough for it to feel like an actual vacation. Sweden has been on the top of my travel destinations for a while now, as it’s made quite the name for itself in the design world which I’ve always been intrigued by.

After 3 meager hours of restless sleep last night, we hurried our last minute packing and were out the door and on our way to the airport before the sunrise. Taking the earliest flight from Berlin would give us more time to explore Stockholm, so I’d say it was worth sacrificing the sleep.

The flight was a short, 1 hour and 20 minute journey. The highlight of it though, was the delightful, warm raisin bun they serve mid-flight. Yum. Shockingly good for airplane food.

It was only a little before 10am when we descended into foggy Stockholm. It’s funny – my immediate impression of the airport was that it looked remarkably similar to an IKEA store. Yep, welcome to Sweden.

To get from the airport into the center of Stockholm, you hop on a short 20 minute ride aboard the Arlanda Express train. I can see why Stockholm is praised for their comfortable and convenient public transit – this train was equipped with free WiFi (so hard to come by in Europe), personal outlets on every seat, carpeted flooring, wooden-framed windows, and roomy, fully-upholstered armchairs. Oh, and Stockholm is in the top 5 most connected cities in the world? Free WiFi access everywhere. The Silicon Valley in me lives for these kinds of geeky conveniences.

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