Tag: Stockholm

The Great ?Swedish? Roadtrip

The Great ?Swedish? Roadtrip

Ok, so as you probably know by now, we’re Americans living in Stockholm. We use public transportation exclusively. We don’t even have a car over here! And we love it! But we do sometimes yearn for the open road, cruising down the countryside under your own power. And so, we decided to rent a car and brave the open highways of southern Sweden!


For our first Swedish road trip, we decided on a small, but well known town along the eastern coast called Kalmar. It was highly recommended by the locals, was easy to get to, and was about a five hour drive.

Not only is it a great historic area with a still intact renaissance war castle, but Kalmar is also well known for its glass crafting. We did visit a couple of outlet stores while there and we bought some nice crystal glasses and bowls.

We really lucked out on the weather this time. For the first time since old man winter wrapped his icy fingers around Stockholm, the temperature was actually around 60 degrees Fahrenheit! By far the warmest day of the year. And since we were headed south, it would be even a little warmer than that.

Unlike most of our other adventures that begin with the subway, for this one we took the bus to the Hertz rental office. When we got to the office, there was no one there. The place was deserted. And mind you, this a work day, Friday around 9am. Jana wasn’t worried, she said she had special instructions in case this happened. So we went a couple of doors down. There was a keypad on the door. We entered our secret code from Jana’s special instructions, but nothing happened. Oh look, there’s another keypad over here. We entered the code into that one, got a confirmation buzz, then I pulled the door open and we stepped inside.

It was a small room with what appeared to be an elevator door. There was only one button: down. We pushed it. After a minute or so, the elevator door slowly parted open. It was a very small elevator. Following the special instructions, we stepped inside and pressed the button for negative three. That’s right, three levels down. There was a long pause. Finally, the inner door moaned and creaked as it slid shut, sealing us in. Then there was a violent jolt as we started our decent. I looked at Jana and said, “And they were never seen again.”


Ha ha, we had a good laugh. After a brief argument with an unmanned kiosk, we got our keys for our fancy Volvo wagon (it even had dual exhausts and a spoiler), and off we went. I leaned out the window and raised my fist as I yelled, “ROAD TRIP!” A column in the garage nearly took my head off. I knew it was there.

Söderköping (Mayberry, EU)

We had a great recommendation for a place to stop along the way. It was about an hour and a half into the trip. It was supposed to be a cozy ice cream parlor with an outdoor area that overlooked a beautiful canal. And it was there, and we found it. And it was cozy, and it was right on the canal. And it was closed due to construction!

But because it was closed, it forced us to explore this wonderful, quaint little Swedish town, er uh village. I swear this place was like a Twilight Zone mirror image of  Mayberry. I kept thinking I would see Barney Fife (Bårnet Fifé) slapping a parking ticket on our fancy city slicker Volvo (with dual exhausts). For those of you who don’t know what the Twilight Zone is or have never heard of Mayberry, you’re too young to be reading this, so get out.

Since it was such a warm, beautiful day, we figured we would find another place with outdoor seating. We scoured the entire town, which took ten minutes. We found an area where a dozen or so people (half the population of the town) were waiting in line to get into this one place. Turns out, it was another ice cream place. I guess with the one by the canal shut down, this one was picking up the slack. But there was nowhere to sit, and I was ready for a frap or a latte. We did find a coffee shop, but it was a misunderstanding on our part, it was an actual coffee shop, as in coffe beans, ground roast, etc.

We finally found this one place that had outdoor seating (they had put out some lawn chairs). There were only six, but two were actually vacant. So I rushed to secure our territory, while Jana went inside to get our refreshments. Turns out it was another ice cream shop. This town really does love ice cream! It just added to the Twilight Zone aura. And even more weird thing, the whole time we were there, we didn’t see a single person using an electronic device.

We sat outside, eating ice cream, right off their main square. We were pretty sure we were the only tourists there. A young mom walked by pushing a stroller and chatting with her friend. Nothing unusual about that. Except that she was barefooted <play the Twilight theme music in your head>.


But the place really did do the trick for us. It displaced us from our hustle-bustle big city Stockholm mindsets and made us sit and relax in the warm sun enjoying each other’s company and some magical ice cream.

And then we were, that’s right: On the Road Again.


Driving to Kalmar

They say it isn’t the destination, but the journey that is special. And this trip was no exception. We had traveled many times along the waterways marveling at the beautiful archipelago scenery from a boat or ship. But this trip showed us what was behind all that, what rural Sweden was really like. And it was spectacular.

Wide open highways, gorgeous backcountry homesteads, spawling green pastures. Well, see for yourself below, but please forgive the quality as they were snapped while flying down the highway:



And it literally just went on and on and on. One really nice thing was that, apparently, in Sweden they have some strict laws about keeping the landscape free of billboard clutter.


A note on driving in Sweden. We didn’t really see it as being that much different than what we were used to in the US. Most of the signs were intuitive, and of course everything is in the metric system. The roads were smoother than any I had ever seen in the US. No construction to speak of, and not a single pothole. And yes, that is a warning sign for a moose crossing!

There was one oddity, however. As we were driving, the car would occasionally make a beep, like a warning tone. We checked the gauges and lights, but everything looked good. I did have my phone BT’d to the car and was streaming music and navigation, so we figured it had something to do with that. On the trip back, it started doing it again. I started exploring the visual tools in the car itself and brought up the navigation map. There was a symbol of a camera pointed at a car. I looked out the window and, sure enough, there was an automated camera taking pictures of speeders. The car had been trying to warn us of this. I can only imagine how many times the cameras must have caught us speeding. Hopefully, we won’t get deported as a result!


Like most European cities, Kalmar has a long and violent past. This is especially true of the cities that were on the coast. Particularly in the 1600’s, Kalmar saw a lot of war and bloodshed. At the time, it was located very close to the Danish border. The area just south of Kalmar used to belong to the Danish, but it is part of Sweden today.


See the model of the city, above, with the castle right on the water. This is a battle castle complete with moat, drawbridges, and cannons. It was under siege 22 times, but was never taken. Also note the walls encircling the entire city itself. The mark of a true war city. We all think of Sweden as a peaceful, neutral-ish country. Perhaps it was all the wars and violence from the past that made it that way.

But today, the town is bursting with charisma and elegance.


Stately European architecture that just takes your breath away.


Here you can see part of the original wall that once circled the city. The tower looking over it all is more modern, but awe inspiring to behold.

Magnificent parks, bridges, canals, and tunnels. Great restaurants, bars, and cafes. What else could you ask for on a long weekend getaway?

Kalmar Castle

Definitely one of the better castles we have toured in Europe. You can see the effort they have put into keeping it in such great shape. It is integrated into the town’s landscape.


See above, the approach to the castle from the town. Stunning. Note that you can see two of the short cannon towers. There are four total, one on each corner. Here’s a closer view of one of the towers:


If those ducks think they’re gonna take the tower, they better think again! As I mentioned before, this castle had been under siege at least 22 times, but was never taken.

See below a view of the seaward defensive battery:

An all around fabulous castle. The interior was well done, too. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of that. It was well presented and had lots of good information about all the rooms. Some of the ceiling work was still in its original form, but the pictures didn’t come out well (too dark).

The Island

If you recall, from the top of the article, the town is situated just west of a rather large island. There is a 6km (3.7mi) bridge that connects the mainland with the island. As you can well imagine, the island was ravaged and raided time after time during the wars. In fact, there are still remnants of old castles on the island dating back to the 300 A.D. Unbelievable!


We did venture over to the island. It is covered with farms, pastures, and homesteads. And it’s incredibly beautiful!

See below, we even ventured off the beaten path a couple of times in our city slicker fancy Volvo wagon with dual exhausts!



We stopped at one of the castle sites. Unfortunately, it had fallen to ruins. But not after hundreds of years of being the center of a war culture. It was built around 300 A.D. and was still in full operation as late as the 1200’s.

And that was really it. After touring around on the island, we returned to Stockholm. It was a great visit and a great town. Given enough time, we would gladly return to Kalmar and yes, even stopping again at Mayberry, EU.


Romme Alpin Ski Park

Romme Alpin Ski Park


This trip is another leg of our campaign to get out and enjoy the Nordic winters. Recall that we were abandoning the warmth of the hearth and getting out to see why so many people actually prefer colder weather environments. We conquered snowmobiling, reindeer sleds, and horse drawn sleighs in The Great Arctic Adventure . So it only seemed natural to take on snow skiing next!

About the Park

A lot of people from Stockholm like going to the Romme Alpin park in the winter. So many, in fact, that there are packaged deals available, where you pay a single fee and you get:

  • Bus trip to and from Stockholm Central Station
  • Rental skis, boots, helmets, plus whatever else you need
  • All day ski pass for the lifts on all slopes


We did the one day outing, where you go out and come back the same day. Our cost was 800 kr ($100) each, but the prices vary based on various factors, so be sure to check their web site. We were able to book our package from the web site. There are other packages available that are multi-days/weekends. There is a hotel at the park, so it is ultra convenient. There are three or four different restaurants that vary by price and food selections. There is also an indoor area with tables set up so that if you brought your own lunch, you would have a place to sit and eat. There are plenty of areas to store your things, like backpacks, shoes, etc. Essentially, these folks have thought of everything!

Transportation From Stockholm

As with most of our adventures from Stockholm, we began our journey on foot to the subway. For us, that’s about a five minute walk. We took the red line to central station. Once at central, go out and all the way up to the ground floor. There are actually signs for Romme Alpin, or ask an attendant for directions to the bus station if you get disoriented.


The morning buses leave at 6:30am, then another batch at 7am. Don’t be late! The bus ride itself was about two and a half hours. It was a standard, but comfortable bus, much like any tour bus. There was a bathroom on the bus as well.

Once you arrive, make special note of where your bus is parked, and what time it is going to leave. Ours left at 4:15pm. Be sure to allow thirty minutes or more for returning your equipment.

Let’s Ski!

BED10648-0C76-4DBC-A8F6-F9807C4BF5C7Not so fast! This was my very first time on snow skis! And Jana hadn’t been on them in a long time. So we booked private lessons. This is not part of the package deal and has to be booked and payed for separately from the Romme Alpin package deal. You will need to call the number listed on the web page to book your lesson.

Getting the lessons was a great idea! Our instructor, Maja, was so helpful. Once I got to where I was able to stand up and made it to the top of the bunny hill, she would ski in front of me, backwards. So she was able to talk to me the whole way down and even caught me and prevented me from falling several times. This really helped me get up to speed quickly.

There is a special break in the lines that allows people accompanied by an instructor to get right on the lift, so there is no waiting to try again. By the end of the two hour session, I was able to hold my own. I even went down the next hardest hill. I guess all told, I probably fell four or five times, but they were all low speed, so no harm was done. Jana only fell once (I think she did it just to make me feel better).


Was it fun? It was absolutely a great time! Am I hooked on it and can’t wait to do it again? Well… by the end of the day, I could get around okay, and yes I went down the next hardest hill a few times. I even got down it once or twice without falling! But I essentially spent the majority of the day worrying about keeping my balance, so I couldn’t completely relax. I am sure that once you get the hang of it, you love it. But I am going to have to reserve judgement until I have been a few more times and am able to relax and enjoy it a little more. We plan to go out at least one more time this winter.


October Update

October Update

Hello from Sweden!

During their European vacation, the Pankows swung by from Paris to visit us for a week. We had a fantastic time! Great dinners in some of Stockholm’s finest restaurants, including B.A.R., Tradition, and the amazing Viking restaurant.

We had a magnificent brunch cruise aboard the S/S Stockholm to celebrate Wally’s birthday. This was just like the dinner cruise, but it’s brunch. The food was traditional Swedish and was exquisitely prepared.

We went to the Vasa museum followed by an elegant lunch at Wärdshuset Ulla Winbladh. We also did the Police museum and the National Museum of Technology. Somehow, we even squeezed in a boat cruise out to my favorite Swedish castle, the Drottningholm Palace.

The men spent a day in Skansen, while the ladies adventured up north and stayed in an ice hotel and journeyed for the northern lights.

And of course we had to have a traditional Swedish whiskey tasting. Notice how we got photo-bombed by Jack!

Joe had a great time in the parks, museums, the zoo, and of course, with Spooky!


Thank you, Pankows, for coming all the way out here to see us. These were memories of a lifetime. We hope you will return next year since we hardly even scratched the surface this time!

Your Travelin’ Man,


The Train

The Train

Train from Stockholm to Copenhagen


We got our round trip tickets online at sj.se for about 1200 kr each ($150). The train ride is around five hours each way. We left Stockholm Central Station on time, and arrived at Copenhagen Central Station a half hour late.


The seats were preassigned. The rows were two seats on each side. We all sat together in the same area. The seats, even though they did not recline, were very comfortable. And about as roomy as a first class ticket on a plane, though not as wide. There was ample storage overhead. Each seat had a large pull down table, and there were two power outlets in the center console.

There is, of course, a bathroom on each car. There was a bistro in car 5 that served snacks, sandwiches, and drinks, including beer and wine.


The Ride


As you would expect, the scenery across southern Sweden is absolutely stunning. And keep in mind that these pictures were taken from the high speed train while zipping through the countryside.


Coming from the city, we sometimes forget what the wide open country looks like. Beautiful sprawling pastures, lush green forests, and calm clear lakes and ponds. You can almost smell the fresh air even inside the high speed train as it dashes through the scenery.


And the train is so quiet, it’s very easy to take naps or have quiet conversations. For the most part, it is a very smooth ride, but there was some side to side jostling later in the trip out. I assume this was because we were at a higher rate of speed to make up some lost time. There are frequent stops at most of the major towns to pick people up and drop others off.


Then you’ll cross the Øresund Bridge. The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The crossing is completed by the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) Drogden Tunnel from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager, then on to Copenhagen.

For us, the relaxing and scenic voyage on the train is part of the enjoyment of the trip



The Park


This is a massive and beautiful sprawling park across the lake from the Stockholm University campus. Not only is it a gorgeous display of nature, but it also has the Haga Palace, King Gustav III’s Pavillion, botanical gardens, a Chinese pavilion and gardens, a Turkish Kiosk, and it is also the site of the Swedish Royal Burial Grounds.

What’s more, we didn’t even know all those things were there; we came to see the butterfly house and aquarium, which are also on the grounds! All in all an amazing park that you could easily spend an entire day exploring.

I will review the attractions we visited, over and above just walking around the beautiful lake and park, and I will make updates when we make future trips to see the other things. So if you’re a follower of the site, you’ll get an email when I add more content to this article.

The Butterfly House


Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This just seems wrong on so many levels. What exactly is a butterfly house anyway? And even if there is such a thing, can a manly-man like the Travelin’ Man even be seen attending such a place? And given the long, dark, cold winters of Stockholm, how could you even sustain an environment for a, er um, butterfly house?

Well, it really is quite amazing. When you walk into this place, you literally almost choke to death. The humidity goes from crisp and clear to a thick 100%, and the temperature is suddenly near 100 degrees f (38 Celsius).


But then you recover, and you look around and see a tropical forest, with jungle plants, ponds, and yes, butterflies!


There is also a koi tank and even some giant spiders, scorpions, and other tropical insects and fish.


Now it is a small area, but you will definitely see many different species of butterflies. We used our prepaid Stockholm pass to get in at no cost, so I don’t know what the admission is to get in. Note, too, that the aquarium is included with the admission.

The Aquarium


This is actually part of the butterfly house. Don’t go in expecting some great aquarium like in Chicago or Atlanta. This is a very small side show. I will say that some of the advertising I have seen for this place tries to make it much more than it is. Yes, there are fake animals. For example, we never saw an alligator or crocodile as depicted in the adds, or a live hippo. So that is a little misleading and works against them in terms of online reviews.

But to kill a little time, especially if you have some smaller kids, this is a good place. Just set your expectations accordingly.


The thing that I, personally, enjoyed the most was the sea horses. They have a good display here with several live specimens.


There re is also a pretty decent shark tank, with some small sharks in it, and a well developed coral reef with more tropical fish.

So as a standalone attraction, it’s not so impressive, but imbedded inside the magnificent Hagaparken and attached to the butterfly house, you can’t really go wrong.


AUG 2017 Newsletter

Hello all,

Wow can you believe it’s already August? And what a busy month we had on the blog in July! I posted a whopping 14 articles last month! AND restructured the menu interface AND added a Stockholm index, wow!

And I still have so much planned. I am writing this update while on the train to Copenhagen, which will get added to the blog. We also did a three hour Segway Tour with our friend Melissa, who is visiting from the US, and I am still documenting Amsterdam. But what I really want you to know is that The Travelin’ Man is extending his reach; I just got my Facebook page up and linked to the blog, and I’m working on getting more social apps up very soon.

So please do me a huge favor and accept the friend invite from the The Travelin’ Man when it comes through. My plan is to make more personal posts on that and still do the formal updates on the blog. I also plan to do event and restaurant reviews from The Travelin’ Man’s Facebook identity. So anything you can do to spread the word about all this is a great help! And also feel free to comment and whatever on the new Facebook when it comes through.

Thanks again for all your support so far and, see ya out there!


Cruise to Rosersberg Palace

Cruise to Rosersberg Palace



The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: amount of original content in the castle
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: more time slots for English tours


We got our tickets at the Stadshuset and Riddarholmen Boat Tours, Stadshusbron, Klara Mälarstrand 2, 111 52 Stockholm. They were 445 kr each.

The Boat trip is two hours each way, and the return time is fixed, meaning the boat leaves and then returns to pick you up at the specific time. We left the dock from Stadshuset at 10am sharp. It is a guided tour, meaning they will call out points of interest along the way over the speaker system.

The Boat


The name of our boat was s/s Evert Taube. She is what I’ve come to expect from Stromma for cruises like this.


There’s a fairly large internal cabin, a large upper deck (exposed) and a smaller back deck that is outside but covered.

It has a snack bar in the main cabin that serves sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks. You can also get wine and beer at the bar.

There is also free wifi. Just don’t count on it always working. 😉


The Cruise

The cruise was excellent. Going out, we sat up on the outside deck and enjoyed an abundance of sunshine, fresh air, and good company. We even got some coffee and pastries from the bar and brought them up.


As I have mentioned on all Lake Mälaren cruises, the scenery here is just amazing. It’s great watching the landscape transform from city to country.


This is especially evident on the above shot, which is Hasselby Strand, the end of the green line. After that, no more big buildings. The guides will sometimes call that out, but other times they don’t. And this brings up my biggest gripe about the cruise; there is no speaker down in the main cabin. So if you want to hear the tour guide, you have to be on the top deck.

The Palace


This is now one of my favorite Swedish palaces. It is just bristling with Sweden’s history, and so much of the castle contents is still original, including many rugs, tapestries, paintings, and furniture.

This was the palace of King Karl XIII before he was king. He was the younger brother of the famous Gustav III, who of course was assasinated at the opera and whose son was exiled.


Unfortunately, the only way to see the palace interior is by guided tour. But, the tour was very well done. She pointed out some of the more intimate details, like the hidden passage into the queen’s bedroom and the cool stairway from the king’s bedroom that led to his upstairs library. Fascinating stuff.


The tour was 100 kr, but certainly well worth it. As I mentioned earlier, this palace has a lot of original content and is very well preserved. Some of the rooms define majestic beauty and look exactly like you envisioned from novels you may have read.

If I have a complaint here, it is that the English tour only ran at 3pm, and we arrived at 12pm. On the other hand, that gave us plenty time to have lunch and tour the grounds on our own.


There were snacks and sandwiches on the boat. In the morning, we had coffee and pastries. On the afternoon cruise, there is a cooked meal available. I believe our offering was salmon, but we didn’t get it. If you want the afternoon meal, you should inform the staff prior to disembarking at the palace.

There is a cafe in the palace. It is very small and offers some salads and sandwiches, plus a selection of desserts. And of course wine and beer.

* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 14
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Bridges Boat Tour


The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: OK*
(quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)

  • What did I like the most: Audio guide provided useful info about history and architecture
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Boat was small, insufficient outdoor seating

The boat did not afford good views of the bridges. The content from the audio is good, but you’d be better served to use the Drottningholm Palace cruise. The boat is much better, and the scenery is fantastic. It’s about the same amount of cruising time, but costs less.


We bought our tickets from and departed from the Strandvägen terminal. The tour also departs from Strömkajen, but on a slightly earlier schedule. We paid 260 kr each, and the tour was around 2.5 hrs. The boat leaves leaves on the hour from 10am to 6pm during prime season. Check online for departure times from Strömkajen.

It’s an audio guided tour. If you don’t bring your own earphones, they will provide you a pair at no cost.

The Boat


This is the aspect that brought their rating down. Considering it was advertised as “Under the Bridges of Stockholm” I would have expected to be able to get some great pictures of the bridges, like in the advertisements.


But we were seated in the interior, with limited window seats, and facing out to the sides. It’s bench seating on each side of a table. If you don’t get there early, you may not get a window seat. Furthermore, there are two pickup spots, so if you are boarding at Strandvägen, there may not even be any good seats left since it leaves from Strömkajen first. There was a very small outdoor area in the back, but it only seated about 10 passengers and was full when we boarded.

There is a snack bar with sandwiches and treats, and they also serve wine and beer.

The Tour

The boat goes all the way around the southern island (Södermalm), turns around at the City Hall, then comes back using the same route. It swings a little bit wide on either side to pick up a couple of extra bridges.


I would have thought the audio guide would be mostly focused on the architecture and history of the bridges, but it was just general Stockholm information. This included a full spoiler for The Vasa, so if you have friends or relatives with you and you were wanting them to learn about The Vasa incident at the museum, then don’t use the audio. Thanks to my friend Melissa for hanging out the window to get the above shot!


There was some really good architectural and historic information about the buildings we saw and how they came into being as the culture and politics of the area evolved.


The route took us all the way around Södermalm, so you get to go through the Lock of Hammarby, which separates the fresh water lakes from the Baltic ocean.

We went by the old Absolut factory, but somehow were not able to see the famous vodka barrels. Was probably too busy talking and just missed them. 🙂


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 2
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 2
Total score: 10
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Viking Museum

Viking Museum


The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: GOOD*
(met expectations, would recommend, would do again)

  • What did I like the most: Creativity of presentation
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Everything in one big room


This is the Viking Museum. It’s located on the Djurgården island. It’s between the aquarium and the Spirit Museum. It costs 190 kr ($23), and took about and hour. It’s very child friendly, and has a small cafe next to the gift shop.

We went to this museum with our friend Melissa, who was visiting with us from the states.

The Museum

The big challenge for museums is how to present their wealth of information in a way that will be interesting, and also to present it in a way that you will remember it. The Viking Museum does a pretty good job at both of these things.

They use various digital kiosks, where the data is narrated and presented on large TV monitors. And while this was a very good approach, I would have preferred separate, smaller rooms. Having them all in the same general area was not only noisy and distracting, but it also made people feel like they needed rush through it.

They also have physical presentations of various artifacts in display cases with text describing them. Not overdone or over documented. Very informative and interesting.


Then there was was this creepy guy. I say creepy because he is very lifelike.  He has been expertly recreated based on osteological analysis conducted by scientists from the Stockholm University.


Then there’s the story of Harald. You get into a car, of sorts, as demonstrated by our lovely models, Jana and  Melissa.

You are then wisked around to view various presentations that support the narration and sound effects of Harald’s trek. And I’m not going to ruin it for you, but it is well done and was a very creative way to give us the information.

So if you’re like me, you probably envision Vikings as a bunch of medieval terrorists plundering and burning villages and towns along their way. But, there are facts and circumstances that I was unaware of, and this place has the facts and they present them to you in a creative and memorable fashion. I won’t spoil it for you except to say it is a worthwhile visit.

* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 3
How well were the logistics handled: 4
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 3
Total score: 13
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)



Vaxholm Dinner Cruise


The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: sipping wine while watching the spectacular scenery of Sweden’s archipelago drift by
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: condition of the windows made photography a tad challenging in direct sunlight


The dinner cruise is hosted by Strömma, aboard the s/s Stockholm, with restaurateurs Maria Svensson and Jesper Taube handling the culinary aspects.

We got our tickets at Strömma Kanalbolaget Terminal, Nybrohamnen 4, 111 47 Stockholm. They were 200 kr per person and do not include food or drink.

The cruise goes non-stop from Strömma Kanalbolaget Terminal (ours was slot #15) to the beautiful Vaxholm. We left the dock at 7pm sharp, and the entire trip was around 3 hours. The menus were in Swedish and English, and there is no tour guide, it is strictly scenic.

The Boat

The name of the boat was s/s Stockholm, and she was classy and cozy. We sat up on the second deck. Each table is by a window. There were three of us in our party, and we had a table to ourselves, but I don’t know if couples share a table with others or not. Will find out, though, since Jana and I will definitely be doing this again.

The Dinner

As you might imagine, dinner is handled very much like a restaurant. You order whenever you’re ready. It is possible to book your food in advance, and have it brought in by course, but we opted for à la cart. I ordered the classic steamboat steak, and it was cooked exactly to order, served hot, and tasted delicious. Combined with the gherkin, it made a surprisingly good taste combination. I did bulldoze some of those onions off though, haha. They also offered lamb tenderloin, corn fed chicken breast, and various other seafood dishes. Overall a very good menu.

The wine list was very diverse, better than most restaurants. Stockholm leans more towards the French and Italian wines, and seldom if ever have any USA representation. But the cruise had not only French, Italian, and USA, but also some selections from Spain, Italy, Chile, and Africa. We also ordered some of the desserts, which were all very good.

You really can’t go wrong here, the dinner and drinks were excellent; we and everyone around us had a marvelous time.

The Cruise

The cruise was on par with the rest of the experience, very smooth sailing, and magnificent views of the archipelago.


The noise levels inside the restaurant were acceptable, and there was no boat or engine noise whatsoever. We were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather. I will say we sat on the starboard (right hand) side. Folks on the other side seemed to have more sun coming in, which we wouldn’t have preferred.


There was a brief stop at Vaxholm before starting back. We saw enough of it to make us want to go out there for a weekend stay. There was a really nice looking hotel right on the water and this cool palace to discover.


I should mention that photography was a tad challenging at times. As you can see above, there is a lot of glare. There is really no controlling this, nor any way to really deal with it other than to  try different angles with the camera.


The other thing, which would be controllable, is that the windows could have been a little cleaner on the outside. Especially with the evening sun hitting them, any dirt becomes highly visible, which added additional challenges to photography, as you can see above. I know, first world problem, just sayin’.

But if you’re persistent and creative, you can work around these challenges. On the return trip, we got to experience a breathtaking sunset.


This was Brandi’s last evening with us. I can’t think of a better send off…..

* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 4
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 15
4 – 8 is Poor (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is Good (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is Very Good (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is Highly Recommended (outperformed my expectations, great value)