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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Day In Stockholm

In the spirit of the entertaining travel features of Nylon magazine, I've dedicated a post to Stockholm, one of the most elegant and sophisticated cities I've been to.

8:05 am - Arrive at Stockholm's modern Arlanda Airport and immediately notice how pristine and organized it is. After a visit to the restroom, observe that each stall is spacious and even has its own sink and hand dryer.


8:35 am - Inhale the crisp autumn air and then grab a cab (in the form of a luxury VW wagon with self-closing doors and leather seats) to the city and engage in fun conversation with your intelligent and curious cab driver. Count the number of Volvos and Saabs on the highway while enjoying the beautiful forestry that whizzes past you. Silently thank the Swedes for driving on the right side of the road.

9:12 am - Check into your hotel in the part of town known as Norrmalm and sigh, as you'll be right in the heart of the city's shopping district. Promptly notice that everyone you encounter speaks better English than your most proper college professors and is heart-stoppingly attractive.

10:30 am - After settling into your tiny but well appointed hotel room and resisting the strong urge to go to sleep, venture out onto Drottninggatan, the city's largest pedestrian shopping street. Grab lunch at a small cafe and watch the beautiful residents of Stockholm hurriedly walk by.

11:10 am - Newly energized, browse endless tables and shelves of Cheap Monday denim at Weekday, then check out the vintage offerings on the top floor. Smile when you figure out that the jeans are actually cheaper when purchased in Stockholm than from Urban Outfitters in the U.S. Smile even more when you begin to collect VAT refund forms, which will enable you to claim back the sales tax at the airport.

12:00 pm - Continue your shopping frenzy at stores such as Bik Bok, Vero Moda, Indiska, H&M, Lindex, Wesc, and Souk. As you're shopping, gladly note that nobody in this city is wearing Uggs.

2:30 pm - Wander southbound along Drottninggatan until you reach the medieval cobblestone alleys of Gamla Stan (Old Town). Stop to refuel with a Belgian waffle topped with strawberries and a chai tea at a charming sidewalk cafe.


3:10 pm - Browse the quaint tourist shops for Nordic knit hats and then visit the Nobel Museum and the Royal Apartments in order to avoid the chilly weather and work off the waffle you just ate.


5:15pm - Head back toward Norrmalm, stopping at the Galerian mall to visit Topshop, Lindex, and Vero Moda for more shopping. After flinching at several price tags, curse yourself for not being able to divide by 7 faster (to convert Swedish kroner to U.S. dollars) and opt to start using the currency converter on your cell phone from now on.


7:30 pm - After dropping off all of your new purchases at the hotel, head out for dinner at a restaurant along Drottninggatan. Listen to the drunk Australians next to you trade travel stories with their friends. Order the Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberries to see if it's better than your mom's.


9:00 pm - Stroll over to the elegant Nordic Sea Hotel for a cold cocktail at the Absolut Icebar. Despite the freezing temperatures, you slowly warm up with every sip of your potent Wolf's Paw beverage. On your way back to the hotel, notice the lively bar scene filled with young Swedes at the nearby Nordic Light Hotel.


11:15 pm - Collapse exhausted into your tiny bed and think about what you're going to do tomorrow...perhaps a visit to the National Museum or the Nordic Museum? A boat leisurely cruise? A walk to Djurgarden and the Vasa Museum?

**Coming soon, a day in Copenhagen.