Often overlooked by tourists and only for those who "know," Stockholm, Sweden is on the travel rise. Beautiful people and architecture in every distinct and diverse neighborhood give Stockholm a reason to be seen.
This past summer, I visited Stockholm for a quick trip to see an old friend of mine. I had no idea what to expect or what there was to be seen. By the end of my short three day trip, I was head over heels for this city, whom, to me, looked as if Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Prague had come together to combine their very best to make such a city.
Cecilia, a Swedish native who lived in my hometown in California for a few months a some years back, opened her home to me for the weekend. Determined not to be a tourist, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. The two of us, along with her cousin Emil, covered Stockholm front to back within a matter of days. From the royal palace and car shows to the ABBA museums and Stockholm's reason for rising fame: the shopping, I felt like a local. Of course I wasn't, I had barely scratched the surface of Stockholm. Maybe I felt so at home because I was with somebody who knew everything Stockholm has to offer and because everybody, and I mean everybody, thought I was Swedish. Pretty awesome compliment if I do say so myself.
Walking down the street in the trendier neighborhood of Södermalm, my longtime Swedish friend and personal guide quietly pointed out Swedish musicians and celebrities just out for a walk or grabbing a coffee, as if it was part of their daily routine, going unnoticed and unaccounted for. No paparazzi or dedicated fans, just simply a coffee run. I feel like this is something so rare today, but something so accustomed to Sweden. The simplicity and low-key vibe of the Stockholm life that I experienced was beyond refreshing. The U.S. could learn a thing or two from the Swede's take on life.
Stockholm is so unlike anywhere I have been. I tend to gravitate to warmer climates with long-winded and romantic history of art and religion, places like Sevilla, Florence, and Nice. Stockholm opened my eyes to a place rich in culture and easy living. I think I could have found a new happy place within Old Town walls and Södermalm shops.