Like most people I love to travel. When I was younger I assumed, as most people do, and as we are somewhat conditioned to, that I would meet Mr Right and live happily ever after. I haven’t met Mr Right – and maybe he doesn’t exist. After all nobodies perfect. However, that hasn’t stopped me living happily ever after!
Around 4 years ago I decided to try my first solo trip. For security on my first venture I booked a group tour, and have never looked back since. There was one couple, one single man and several single women. I made some friends for life who I have been on subsequent trips with; and keep looking at where else I want to go and what else I want to do. If I have company great, if I don’t, no problem!
Solo travel doesn’t feel like I’m alone, more independent and confidence boosting! I can’t recommend it enough to anyone considering it and have made some great friends along the way! It also helps with perspective when you come back to work / the real world.
I have a couple of interesting trips coming up including visiting Easter Island which I’m really looking forward to! A friend suggested I write a diary to be able to look back on some of the experiences. So here I am with the modern day version of a diary, and hopefully someone finds it useful or interesting!
I’ll also add some retrospective blogs of places I’ve been, as well as some of the thoughts and experiences that come with it!
Just got back from my 4th visit to Stockholm, what a beautiful and amazing city! My friend Alex moved there 3 years ago so having somewhere to stay helps as its not the cheapest of cities. Each trip has been a completely different experience. It’s a great place to visit during the summer and the first two visits I was lucky enough to have glorious weather. It really is a city set up for being outside and enjoying the weather. I love wandering around and taking in the scenery and views. Personally I enjoy looking at architecture and buildings when abroad and Stockholm is a great city for this!
Södermalm: Alex lives in Södermalm so really central, a great and cool location; initially in Hornstull and currently in Mariotorget. What’s unbelievable is the amount of support you get with childcare. She has two young boys and if I had a young family myself or was planning on starting a family soon it would be tempting to move over there. The cost is unbelievable value especially compared to London. Not to mention the amount of time you get for maternity and paternity leave.
Nobel Museum: I visited the Nobel museum in Gamla Stan for the first time and would thoroughly recommend it. Really interesting stories and moving when you look at what some people have achieved and the impact it continues to have on our lives today. An inspirational place and also something that you can only do in Sweden. https://www.nobelprize.org/about/nobel-museum/
Gamla Stan: is a beautiful area and a short walk from Södermalm. A little bit too many tourists on occasion but a beautiful place with some stunning buildings and architecture. Still worth a walk around and plenty of places to stop for coffee and cake. Despite it being a little busy in some parts I think its still one of my favourite places to wander round in Stockholm. Fika is a huge part of Swedish life, basically it means going for a coffee. Swedes believe it is important to make time everyday for friends. Another important word is Tah-k, pronounced ‘Tack’, which means thank you.
We went to the photography museum – Fotografiska – nearest tube stop is Slussen. The collection from war photographer and photo journalist James Nachtwey who’s lost a number of friends in his line of work was impressive and thought provoking. His composition is striking and he focuses on injustice and violence. Some of the images were harrowing and really make you pause to think and regain some perspective on life. Mandy Barker’s ‘Sea of Artifacts’ also interesting and reinforces the impact plastic is having on the environment. On to something lighter and there is a great cafe and cocktail bar on the top floor with beautiful views. Definitely recommend a visit the exhibitions were outstanding. Note the exhibitions are temporary, on until mid September and late August respectively.
There are so many museums and plenty of places that are good for children as well. Some free to get in and some at a cost. You can purchase a Stockholm pass giving free entry to a number of tours, attractions and museums, depending on how long you are visiting for and what you are interested in seeing and doing whilst visiting.
Boat trips: You can also get a boat to a different island easily from here. I visited Vaxholm on my first trip, beautiful island, easy to walk round, lots to see and plenty of spots to sit out in the sun with a great view. It has regular and frequent boats making it an easy trip. There’s also a 16th century fortress on the island you can visit which is now a museum.
Beaches: There are beaches everywhere and so much water so if going in summer definitely take a swimming costume! The water might be a little chilly but worth getting in for a swim!
Still on the list! I haven’t yet been but the Abba museum and the Vasa museum are two that are still on my list. The Abba museum speaks for itself! The Vasa museum is a preserved 17th century ship so a unique visit.
Skansen: is an outdoor village also great for children. I visited during my winter trip with Alex, her husband and the boys. It has a zoo and an aquarium; and a traditional Swedish village showing the way of life in Sweden before the industrial era. The food in the cafe was pretty good. Much needed for some warmth as it was December!
We made a brief visit to the Museum of Modern Art this time around, located on the island of Skeppsholmen. Some interesting work and as with most of Stockholm, great views. Some of the exhibitions were free to view as well. I was amused by people wandering around with there own fold up seats which are available at the entrance to stop and enjoy the art; and stopping wherever they wanted to view something. In some places they looked like part of the art installation. Jordan Wolfson’s exhibition was a little controversial, the elderly couple watching it were also amusing as the wife picked up her chair telling her husband to move on as she clearly didn’t approve, and he remained seated, laughing and very much enjoying it! https://www.modernamuseet.se/stockholm/en/
Spa’s: When I went in winter we also visited The Spa – Centralbadet – which I thoroughly recommend. Traditional wooden Swedish style created in 1904, located just off the busy Drottninggatan. Some great steam and sauna rooms, Jacuzzi’s and a beautiful swimming pool in the style of a ship. Looks really grand and reminded me of the Titanic. It also has a sun roof terrace and outdoor gym and yoga area. Though being December we didn’t try these out! Obviously followed up with a glass of bubbles in the garden cafe! https://www.centralbadet.se/english/
I’ve had some lovely food and great drinks and cocktails in various parts of the city. There was a little festival by the water on our walk from Gamla Stan back to Sodermalm and we stopped and had a very nice glass of wine (or two) sitting by the waters edge. Made even better when I posted a picture and everyone told me it was raining back home!
Transport: Stockholm is a very efficient city. Options to get to and from Arlanda airport include the Flygbussarna and the Arlanda Express train. The train is a little dearer but quicker, although it depends which part of the city you are heading for. The tube network is easy to navigate. I’d recommend purchasing an Access card which functions like an Oyster card in London, you simply top up and tap in, no need to tap out. https://www.flygbussarna.se/en/arlanda
The practical stuff: One more really important thing – hardly anywhere takes cash, in fact I’d say don’t bring any! I’ve paid for everything on my last 3 trips by card. I’d advise getting one that doesn’t charge you when abroad. Starling bank is particularly good. Revolut is another good one.