Monday, August 06, 2007

Stockholm: Ja!

Here's a fun travel tip. If you really want to get to know a city, accidentally leave your stroller at home. Even if your 3 year old is a good sport in the airport and gamely keeps up the pace for a while, he's bound to lose it completely and demand a place where he can rest eventually. When this happens, you can frantically search online for local stroller dealers, try to communicate with non-English-speaking stroller vendors via phone (slowly speaking English with a heavy fake Swedish accent is less than effective, for the record), and then navigate the city's subway system and side streets in search of an inexpensive (ha!) buggy. By the time you've wheeled your "wait, we just paid how much and the wheels aren't even steady?" purchase out of that darling, overpriced little baby shop and back through the "isn't this charming... I could totally live here if only I were tall and blond and skinny and capable of pronouncing 82 consonants at once" area, you will feel OK about hightailing it back to the local tourist traps (where everything is easy and everyone speaks such nice English...).

Our little stroller snafu notwithstanding, we had a fabulous time in Sweden. Stockholm is truly a beautiful city. It's small enough that it can easily be learned in a short period of time, yet big enough that there's plenty to see and do. Everything is incredibly kid-friendly (with the possible exception of food offerings, which were a little dicey for my non-herring-appreciative offspring) and the proximity to all that water gives the city a relaxed, laid back feeling which we loved. I could feel myself instantly unwind in the archipelago, but then quickly adapted back into the faster pace of the city as soon as we hit dry land. Definitely a "something for everyone" destination (including my kids, who predictably gave Stockholm a big thumbs up as soon as they spotted their first ice cream stand).

I must confess, Sweden was never especially high on my mental "must see" itinerary before I started researching and planning this trip. In fact, I commented to my brother after our home furnishing extravaganza last fall that we could cross Sweden off the list now that we'd spent so much time in Ikea. I'm glad to have been talked out of this folly. Stockholm was everything we look for in a city break and more. I highly recommend nearly everything Swedish (even their furniture, which I must grudgingly admit is holding up reasonably well 11 months later). Everything, that is, except their umbrella strollers. If you go to Stockholm with young kids who are less than enthusiastic about hoofing it all over creation for hours on end, do yourself a favor and remember to bring your buggy. If you come to visit us in London, however, you can leave yours at home. We've got just the (slightly unsteady, but it gets the job done) loaner waiting here now. God knows it might as well get some more mileage for what we paid...

Photos are up on Flickr for those who want to see!


Anonymous Aunt Carol said...

Great photos - I think these set the record for the number of pix where Julia is smiling!!!
I'll have to put Stockholm back on my list. Don and I were there in 1984, but it rained the entire time, and we didn't get to see much.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Eden said...

Wonderful pictures!! I can't get over the amazing experiences you are having! And, maybe, Mommy should be in some pictures too :-)

4:24 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

The whole trip looks amazing. I love the hand-in-hand picture of the kids and the one of Evan sleeping in Julia's lap. Too sweet. And that see-saw looks like lots of fun! M would love the Pippi exhibit!

8:19 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Loved the pictures. And loved the one of Evan sleeping in the stroller. Such beautiful gardens. Have I mentioned lately that I'm jealous? ;)

12:40 AM  
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