It's difficult to explain exactly why our weekend in Stockholm was so amazing. But I think the common factor is this: It was filled with blessings and surprises that far exceeded what we had asked or looked for.
Simply the fact that we had a friend in the area was wonderful. But then the same friend had the generosity to invite us into her home - which turned out to be a beautiful, peaceful home in the perfect location. Then we discover that her father works for the State Department - and suddenly a whole new door opens for Jacob and I to explore a career that was already attracting us.
I could go on - the happy surprises compounded daily. But instead, I will show you some pictures of this beautiful city.
Most of our days were spent exploring districts of the city. One of my favorite areas was Gamla Stan - the old town area of the city. The streets were narrow and cobblestone, filled with cool restaurants and underground, cave-like cafes.
If you were wondering where all the late 20-somethings in Stockholm hang out, they were at the Bloc Party. Impeccably groomed and hair styled, congregating in the streets with cigarettes in hand and indie music booming in the background. It was paradise for The Sartorialist.
In the evening we had grand things planned - a reservation at the Stockholm IceBar - a subset of the legendary IceHotel. Sure it may be a bit touristy, but donning parkas and hanging out in a supremely cold ice-room drinking cocktails out of ice-cups was the closest we were going to come to the real dream: a night at the IceHotel in Lapland. So the IceBar in itself was a taste of success in accomplishing our goal.
We got to the IceBar where we queued up, slipped on our poncho-parka-things and mittens, and marched on in. IceClub is more like it. Music was blaring, colored lights bounced off the ice, and soon the place was packed with people. But everything was made of ice.
After the IceBar we walked through the city back towards our apartment, only to find that Stockholm was in the midst of a gigantic city-wide Culture Festival. Every square we turned into seemed to hold another free show or concert, with an audience of thousands. The first show we ran across was a modern theater/circus performance, created entirely by women. Scaffolding was raised in the middle of the square, where the female artists blended strange abstract theater with incredible acrobatic feats.
We stayed for a bit, then ventured on. Ten minutes later we were in the midst of a gigantic outdoor club. DJs played from a raised stage that looked down upon thousands of awkward 14 year olds, all of whom were too self-aware to dance.
We turned the corner a block away from the club, to see another massive crowd ahead of us watching a symphony. This, apparently, is where all those kids' parents were. We debated continuing on but decided against it. We were tired and happy, and walked roughly 8 hours that day.
And to finish up the post, I will share a great line I just read on McSweeny's:
Places blondes don't have more fun: Sweden. (Where they have just as much fun as everybody else).