While we were sad to leave Iceland, Erin and I were getting REALLY excited for some warmer, more consistent weather! Everything we heard about Norway and Sweden was- go to Norway for the landscapes, and go to Sweden for the cities! We planned accordingly. We flew into the small town of Stavanger, Norway, and picked up our car. We drove to the ferry that would take us across the fiords, where we would then drive on to Preikestolen. We dropped our bags off at the cutest little cabin that we would be staying at that night, just to put on our hiking gear and immediately head up the mountain! Preikestolen is a famous hike (about 3.5 hours total) that leads you to the top of the mountain where a huge cliff drops straight down to the water below. It makes your heart race just looking at it. What you can’t see in the photos is the crazy wind we experienced while sitting on the edge! The entire hike up was very enjoyable. There was even a lake near the top that was incredibly tempting not to jump in. That night we had some of the best wine of the whole trip at the main lodge, after we cooked ourselves some dinner in our little cabin.
The next day we started the long drive to Oslo. We stopped for a night in Kristiansand, a cute Norwegian vacation town, where we dined, shopped, and admired the quaintness of Norway. This country was quiet, calm, tranquil, and simply beautiful. It reminded me of the Adirondacks. Everyone takes their time, moves slow, enjoys life. When we left Kristiansand, we got to see the real roads of Norway. Even though traffic was coming from both directions, we had to drive down the windiest roads that were only a single lane at some points. We drove through switchbacks for about 3 hours, trying to keep our eyes on the road while still admiring the beauty of the fiords. We stumbled across the tiniest town that we LOVED, Flekkfjord. Everyone was dressed in their best and drinking wine by the water. So adorable. We then hit Oslo. We went out for some snacks and drinks, and of course, to see the palace! I realized it was my first palace I had ever seen! We watched the guards walk by the neatly kept gardens, and we took in the view the Royals had in their mansion on top of the hill overlooking the main street of Oslo. The next day, we were off to Sweden!
After Norway, we arrived in the thriving city of Stockholm. We took the train to the city centre, where we filled up a three day metro pass, and somehow found our way to our cute hostel on the island of Sodermalm. To get there, we had to walk a ways with our huge travelers backpacks through a lush park. We saw kids playing and people being fit and active on their afternoon jogs. VERY different than Iceland! The weather was also perfect. It was the perfect summer afternoon. The first thing we quickly adapted to here was: coffee and cake. Swede’s love having a sweet piece of pastry with their morning coffee and I don’t disagree with it! We had coffee and cake every morning! Our first bit of this deliciousness was in the area of Galma Stan. Galma Stan is the “old town” of Stockholm, with small cobblestone streets and cafes everywhere. We walked through as many tiny streets as we could, and ended up there later that night for some Friday night fun. The next day we found ourselves walking by the palace, then over the many bridges and somehow waiting for a ferry to take us to Djurgarden, which seemed like Stockholm’s “central park”. Before hopping on the ferry, Erin and I had a glass of wine and simply people watched for about an hour in silence. We were in awe of how perfect the Swedish people are. It was like looking through a J. Crew catalog. Everyone was gorgeous, over 6′ tall, perfectly toned, well dressed, and completely happy. Was this real life? Does Stockholm hire these people to walk around town? Unfair.
Once we got to Djurgarden, we fell in love with Stockholm even more. We visited the Vasamuseet, where we saw a 15th century ship on display that had sank off the coast of Stockholm, and then retrieved from the ocean floor in the 60s. It was breathtaking and unbelievable. The intricacy of this ship was amazing. We then strolled around some of the parks and decided that we needed to come back to Djurgarden the next day, on bikes. We rented bikes from our hostel and did just that. It was our last day of our trip and we wanted to do it all! We biked ALL over the city. We ate so many Swedish meatballs, drank a lot of wine, biked to every garden, and then treated ourselves to a farewell dinner in Sodermalm. We had such an amazing trip and didn’t want to leave. So at our farewell dinner we decided to start planning our next trip!!! Until next time….