05 August, 2009

Busy, checking out the new city!

SO, here we are.

After all this time planning for August 3rd, it's come and gone. And now we get to start experiencing life in Stockholm instead of imagining it. Reading blogs and travel tips has been interesting but nothing replaces directly seeing it for ourselves. Imagining has been like thinking a ship will sail off the end of the Earth...

We got in on the 4th. Got our bearings then went out to explore. Actually, all the reading had helped. We were able to walk from Södermalm to Gamla Stan pretty easily. And once in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) we recognized some sights!

One of the first things that took my breath away was the light. As we came upon a view of the water I could see why Stockholm vies for the name Venice of the North (sorry Amsterdam, St. Petersburg...). And even though it seems silly, I was astonished that a month and a half after midsummer it still stays light for so long. How long you might ask? At 8 in the evening if you looked out over the water and held up your index finger to the horizon (pointing up), then the sun would be balanced on your fingertip. Still a long way to go.

And yes, my logic can do the reverse. It will be DARK in the winter. No need to remind me, I think they mentioned that in a blog or two. Fast facts about our new country: It has a land mass the size of California, a population the size of New York City, at a latitude of Anchorage, Alaska.

We don't think about how far down the US is until you really look across the map and compare Europe's climate and geography.

Why is DC so hot? Because it lines up with Sicily, it's supposed to be hot. But really Sweden is warmer than it should be. Most of Northern Europe would line up with Canada, yet living in Germany growing up the winters were more mild. It's as you go inland that your run out of Gulf Stream. Thanks to the wet and moderating currents from the Atlantic, Stockholm is said to experience milder winters than the farther south Moscow. Because Moscow's farther inland.

Will any of this matter when we're freezing cold? No, cold is cold. But for now, we're enjoying a beautiful couple of days in Sweden wearing flipflops.

So we went out to Sveavägan and found a 220V power cord for the laptops. Then we wandered... And before you know it, we were up by the school! It's a lot closer than it had looked on a map. Stockholm is a very walkable city, and the buildings are really fun to look at.

We had our fika (Swedish coffee break and staple of life) up at Kafe Himlavalvet (Sky Cafe, but literally "vault of heaven") next to the Observatory Museum and had a great view of the city.

The only thing I don't love is the price of beer, which is discouraging. And we will be living across from a British Pub which serves my favorite style ale. We found round trip flights to Berlin for $12 a person, but beers here can be $10+. So, it's cheaper to fly to Germany. As wide-eyed immigrant extraordinaire, Yakov Smirnov would say, "What a country!"


  1. Yay! I am so glad that the weather is beautiful right now. I can't wait to see more pics of your new home (for a few years anyway.)

  2. It's really fun to read your blog. It's a fun role-reversal.

  3. Great blog! Great journalistic pics! Man, it sure would be nice if it were cheaper for me to fly to Germany to get my beer. lol love it! Glad you explained some of the Swedish names, I can't even begin to pronounce most of them. "Vault of Heaven" would be my choice pick of cafe's just based on the name! Planning any trips to Norge?