My short list of what to do in Sweden

So here I sit, planning my trip to Sweden and realizing that I have only a very short list of things I want to do there (besides hang with The Swede).

First of all, I want to see the salvaged 17th century ship housed in the Vasa museum. I assume it’s called the Vasa museum because she was (rather improperly) designed for one of the Gustav Vasas who ruled early Sweden.

The ship sank on her maiden voyage and never made it out of the docks.

Then there is the archipelago of Stockholm, made up of 24,000 islands and islets 40 miles east of Stockholm. It is known for it’s beautiful scenery, fishing, and wildlife.

Boat tours are available and I’d like to take a little 3-hour day trip around some of the closer islands.

I’m also interested in the ABBA Museum. Because ABBA.

It’s kitschy. It’s amusing. It’s funny. It’s ABBA.

I’ve got to go visit and spend a little money, money, money having fun there.

Finally, I really want to experience an authentic Swedish smörgåsbord.

Supposedly the best one out there is the smörgåsbord at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm.

I want to treat The Swede and his daughter to the buffet spread there to thank them for hosting me.

And that’s it folks.

Sure there are secondary items on my list like seeing the Royal Castle and the changing of the Guard, going fishing or on a mini safari, and shopping for trinkets in Gamla Stan (Old Town).

And then there’s the impossible – visiting ICE HOTEL SWEDEN way up in the arctic circle.

Because I am nothing if not adventurous.

We won’t get to those things but at least I have a few things on my list we can do.

Besides you-know-what. . .

Off I go. . .

Today I leave for Sweden.

I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

The only reason I’m not jumping out of my skin with enthusiasm is that the flights are 9 and 3 hours long.

With a 2 hour layover in Iceland.

Oh boy.

I am not the world’s most chill airplane traveler, despite the fact that I’ve flown small planes.

For some reason, although I know it’s a big, safe sky bus, it makes me nervous.

And when I get nervous, I pick at my nails.

And I REALLY don’t want to ruin my Swedish manicure.

Yeah, I bought blue and yellow gel nail polish and yellow striping and I gave myself a Swedish manicure.

Just because I can.

So cross your fingers, say a prayer, and think good thoughts for me as I rocket through the skies toward Stockholm.

Excited!

Walking in a winter wonderland

You will not BELIEVE what I’ve done.

I BOUGHT A PLANE TICKET TO SWEDEN!

Yup!

You heard right!

I’m going to Sweden to visit The Swede.

Well, to visit ALL THE SWEDES, I guess!

I’m so excited I could just spit.

My trip isn’t months away.

Oh no!

I’m going to Sweden December 28th!

Basically I’m on vacation for two weeks over the holidays so I figured why not visit The Swede who is ALSO ON VACATION?

Now.

It’s occurred to me that Sweden in December MIGHT be less than ideal.

Especially for a born and bred California girl.

It will be a shock to my system, I am sure.

Not just the cold but the lack of sunlight.

I hear that the sun rises at 9 am and sets at 3 pm in Stockholm in the winter.

Sigh.

It will just make me appreciate my lovely sunny California ALL THE MORE.

But you know, Stockholm could be awfully pretty in the winter – a snowy wonderland of sorts.

And (BEST OF ALL) this means I will be spending NEW YEAR’S EVE with The Swede.

Flip me over, butter my butt and call me sweetheart – I AM TOTALLY EXCITED!

Sweden

I’m one step closer to booking my trip to Stockholm.

I just bought myself a big, puffy, faux fur trim, hooded jacket.

Because basically I’m OBSESSED with the weather.

I live in a temperate climate and so I rarely get to experience the phenomenon known as WEATHER.

Nope.

I basically exist between 50 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit every year.

In Stockholm in December, normal temperatures are around freezing and occasionally warm up to 35 degrees.

That’s COLD!

I don’t even KNOW about the sun, but I suspect being that far north in the hemisphere means that there will be MUCH LESS DAYLIGHT than what I’m used to.

Once, I took a trip to Pennsylvania in the winter time.

Besides shoveling snow EVERY DAMN DAY I WAS THERE, I got to experience what I like to call FUCKING COLD ASS WEATHER.

It was 10 degrees outside.

I’ve never experienced cold like that.

With the wind chill factored in, the temperature was below zero.

BELOW FUCKING ZERO!

The wind WHIPPED through my jeans like needles of ice pricking me and I remembered those ridiculous looking long puffy jackets people on the east coast wore and realized that THIS IS WHY THEY WEAR THOSE SILLY THINGS.

BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING COLD!

Well, I’m not positive, but I think Sweden is COLDER THAN PENNSYLVANIA!

Nevertheless, I have heard it’s beautiful.

And technically, I’m probably Swedish myself (23andMe says I’m mostly Northwestern European).

So I SHOULD go.

But will I?

Mind Blown!

I am considering a trip to Stockholm over the holiday break.

To visit The Swede, no doubt.

But also to see the Vasa and ABBA museums.

Go shopping in Old Town.

Visit the historic Kunglinga Gardens.

And of course, take in a hockey game.

Or five.

I really want to see The Swede in his own country.

As much as I like squiring him about town in California, you don’t REALLY get to know a person until you see how they live and what they enjoy.

One thing I will avoid?

Surströmming.

Fermented herring.

Because nothing says vomit like cold, fermented, smelly fish.

Yes, when I went to Scotland I ate haggis.

It actually wasn’t THAT bad.

But I have a THING for fishy foods.

I simply can’t eat them.

So no surströmming for me.

Lots of The Swede, though.

Consider that I have put my birth control in, then you know I’m serious about visiting.

Plenty of baby making fun with NONE OF THE BABIES.

Now, that’s what I call a vacation!

Of course, there’s one other thing to deal with:

THE WEATHER.

Today for instance, it is 66 degrees Fahrenheit where I am but only 42 degrees Fahrenheit in Stockholm.

That’s COLD, my friends.

And this California girl barely has an umbrella or a jacket, let alone snow-appropriate clothes.

Seriously, WHAT WOULD I WEAR?

I have no warm jackets.

I have no snow boots.

I am sure there are clothes I need to have that I’m not even aware of.

Longjohns?

Special socks?

Puffer jackets?

Seriously, the considerations are MIND-BLOWING!

The one where she goes on a nice date

I had a date last week with a nice gentleman.

He played guitar for me and let me sing.

I’ll tell you one thing, it is NOT EASY to sing JANIS JOPLIN.

Not at all.

It’s easier to sing HOTEL CALIFORNIA but of course, the lyrics are hard to remember.

We started out with dinner at a Burmese restaurant.

It was quite tasty AND spicy!

Who knew I’d have a thing for coconut rice and tea leaf salad, including jalapeños!?

Just wash it all down with a Burmese beer and you’re good to go, you know?

Then he invited me to his place.

Since we’d already had the “I’m on 90 days of abstinence” conversation, I agreed.

Like I said, he was a kind, respectful gentleman and I trusted him.

We had fun drinking beer, talking about his travels, and playing music.

I sang Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.”

He played “Under Pressure” by Queen, which is a remarkably repetitive song, by the way.

Who knew?

In the end, I went home with barely a kiss on my lips, but a smile on my face.

He invited me on a trip to India with him.

Of course, if I go anywhere this holiday season, I’ll be going to Stockholm, not India.

But I appreciated the invitation!