Stockholm (Södermalm & Gamla Stan)

At last. Finally, I've visited the country responsible for helping me decorate my apartments over the years on a budget – yes, I'm talking about Ikea. As I suspected, Sweden proved to be a special place. For starters, they have amazingly good coffee – and they love it. So much so, they have "fika" – meaning "to have coffee" which is essentially a coffee break, usually paired with an equally delicious cinnamon bun (I counted – I had 3 during my trip), or sandwich of some sort. As a seafood lover, I devoured lots of fresh salmon and had the best meatballs of my life (see my other Stockholm post for photos), and fell in love with Stockholm's gorgeous architecture – a palette of rich, warm pastels against a bright blue sky. Oh, and yes, the people really are freakishly good-looking.

Cadamombulle (cardamom cinnamon bun) & Semla (sweet roll)

Cadamombulle (cardamom cinnamon bun) & Semla (sweet roll)

From Södermalm (the area where I stayed), you are rewarded with stunning views of the city. Despite the warming weather – the sun shone the whole weekend, parts of the sea were still frozen!

I found Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm, to be infused with old-world charm. Made of narrow, medieval alleyways and cobblestone streets, the district has a very distinct character. While in this neighborhood, I came across a beautifully dressed woman in red. Coincidentally, we kept crossing paths and ending up in the same places. She was clearly lost, but didn't seem to mind at all. She just wandered from one cobblestone street to another, her blue suitcase rolling along behind her.