It was our last full day together so what better way to have couple-bonding time than borrowing a tandem bike from the hotel? Well, actually, there are probably lots of better ideas since it can be a stressful experience but SMS and I did pretty well! There were a few initial wobbles but then we were set. SMS took the lead seat since he is a much more avid cyclist than I am and I just peddled along in the back.
We headed over to the Vasa museum, which was listed as a “must-do” by many sources. The Vasa is a Swedish warship that sank very, very quickly in 1628 on its inaugural voyage. It only made it ~1300 m before it heeled and water came rushing in. Apparently, the center of gravity was much too high and it was very unstable. This was actually known before the launch but there were time pressures (from the King!) to get the ship battle-ready. There was an investigation which sort of fizzled out once the council realized the king would partially be at fault for approving the original plans so Henrik Hybertsson, the main ship designer died in 1627, seems to have been blamed and any other culpability assignments were avoided.
The Vasa is very impressive. We took an English tour and then wandered around. The museum has a lot of supporting exhibits. The most interesting one to me was the movie about the ship and the excavation, complete with footage from 1961. All in all, it was a very cool museum but if you have a really short time in Stockholm and you can’t get to it, I would say it’s ok. There are so many amazing sights in the city so see what strikes your fancy, rather than being bossed into seeing something because everyone says you should! 🙂
After the Vasa, SMS was hungry. When this occurs, it can be a quickly escalating emergency. I talked him into checking out a restaurant a mile away, which we biked in tandem towards, a happy couple! Forget the suspicious glare from SMS who has, unfortunately, been caught in a situation where I assure him that there will only be a small wait and the opposite occurs.
But in this case, it was an excellent idea! I had used Yelp and found excellent reviews for Oaxen Slip , a self-described Nordic bistro. We were seated on the covered patio and ordered several small plates. It was all so good. We also ordered a cocktail made from their housemade rhubarb lemonade and aqua de cedro. It was amazing. Our dishes included Norrøna herring with brown butter, warm potato salad, chopped egg, beetroots & hazelnuts and other dishes no longer on the menu but included a mozzarella dish with scattered bread crumbs, a reuben-like sandwich (good but not my favorite), and a delicious salad.
We also saw the Prince van Orangiën, a luxury yacht converted to a small hotel. It looked very cute and got me thinking for my time in Stockholm after the conference…
After lunch, we cycled back to the hotel to turn in our tandem bike. Then we walked over to the Fotografiska, the photography museum that had also received rave reviews. It may have been better to take public transport since, by the end of the day, we had done a lot of walking but it was still cool to see the city. The museum itself was ok. The exhibits were all modern photography and only highlighted the photos, with no technical details or camera equipment displayed. There is a good snack bar with a great view but overall, I found it to be overhyped for my particular level of interest in modern photos.
After the museum, we walked towards Sodermalm, which I heard was a very cool part of the city. We didn’t find the cool part on this walk. I did find it when I returned to Stockholm but this walk was a bit of a bust. Plus, we were walked out. So, we hopped on the subway and headed to the Central train station. We walked to the Smaka for some more food. We finally got our Swedish meatballs (yay!) and then we sat down to listen to some live music. I took a few classy crowd pictures (see below).
We headed back to the hotel and up to the 9th floor. This time, it was late enough that the rooftop, which is reserved for spa users during the day, was open! We relaxed in hammock-like chairs and just chilled out for about 40 minutes. It was delightful and the views were amazing. I felt very lucky. It was a nice way to mellow out after a busy day and enjoy each other’s company on our last day in Sweden together.