Our first day in Sweden we drove through Malmo and Lund, both really pretty. We just drove through Malmo, we hadn’t been in the car very long from Copenhagen because the bridge connecting the two countries isn’t that long! But we already had a one year old fall asleep in her seat and so we didn’t want to disturb her nap, as this often is the case when traveling with young nappers -we’ve learned to just roll with it and we will often park and take turns going into the tourist site or find a park to sit by and the other parent will take the other children to play. But this day was cold and a little drizzly, so we continued on to Lund. We loved Lund more than Malmo, not for any particular reason, it’s just what happens when you’re on the road, you get pulled to certain places more than others. I’ve learned that it doesn’t even mean that it’s the prettiest or whichever, it’s just like your soul knows where it fits in. We ended our day in Gothenburg and stayed there for three nights.
Gothenburg was awesome, we spent a whole day at Liseberg another tremendously beautiful theme park. I always thought America was big on theme parks, but Scandinavia seemed to have several and though we only went to two of them, they were both more impressive to me than any that I’ve been to in America. We stayed at a really family friendly hotel . They had a huge play area for the kids in the lobby!
We then traveled to Granna, home of the candy cane, where we watched a young man make candy cane and it was fascinating. I have the whole thing saved in my highlights on my instagram under Sweden. I recommend watching him, it was therapeutic! Ha!
We stayed in Mariestad at a sweet little hotel. We wanted to come to Mariestad because the old town is made entirely of old wooden buildings and is supposedly a tourist stop. But it was quiet in the early days of November, so it just seemed like a sleepy little town, which is our favorite way to travel through someplace. Just at the end of tourist season or right on the brink of it. The energy is different in the air. If you visit early you can feel the static energy from the people, ready to hustle through the busy months and if you visit at the tail-end you get the relaxed feelings from the locals, that peace and living life outside the tourists eyes has finally come for another season.
We ended our last several days spent in Stockholm, which was so lovely! WE stayed at the Scandic Hotel which is amazing for family travel. They have murphy beds to pull down from the wall for extra beds and they even had bunk beds that would pull down. It’s really rare to get a room with enough sleeping spots for a family of six and some nights are just awful for at least one of us adults. So finding a chain that was completely family friendly was great to learn about and when we go back we will definitely look to stay with Scandic throughout Scandinavia.
We visited the Royal Palace and took a scenic boat cruise around the canals and we went to JuniBacken a really sweet museum for children based on all of Astrid Lindgren’s books! And since I’m keen on always having books from the area that we are traveling through, our nightly reads were Pippi Longstocking and The Children of Noisy Village. We love Astrid’s writing and the kids are anxious to collect all of her stories. Elsa Beskow is another favorite of ours and she’s from Sweden as well. So we packed her beautiful books with us, too. Bringing books that are famous in a particular area is really fun because they’re usually the books on display when you visit tiny bookstores (we stop in every one we find) and museum gift shops. And it just adds a sense of familiarity to the place and helps the kids feel connected to where we are at.
A definite must for both children and adults is the Vasa Ship Museum The boys love Vikings and we have read several different stories about them, but this museum is dumbfounding. You get to see the real Viking ship that sunk, you learn about the process of pulling it up out of the harbor and restoring it. And you learn about the people that were on the ship. This was everyone’s favorite thing that we did in Stockholm. It’s not to be missed and it is located just next door to Junibacken, so we recommend doing both on the same day.
When we booked our trip we didn’t really know what we wanted to fit in and we had thought 17 days was going to be enough to see a lot of these two countries. But, we could have done the whole trip in just one country to be honest. But it was nice to see a bit of both and really get a feel for both places, both completely different from one another and yet similar.
Scandinavia is just so amazing. We hope to go back very, very soon! Even within the coming year if given the chance.