August 17, 2016


Waking up in my gorgeous room at Hotel Rival, overlooking the beautiful Mariatorget, on that first full day in Stockholm was exhilarating! I admit that I did not immediately jump out of bed to greet my day but, instead, opened the curtains to a very bright Swedish morning and relished the glow. This would be the first of many sensory experiences of the day.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears, tongue and soul!


hotel rival

Typical De Lux room at Hotel Rival (photo:


It was the sixth day of my Scandinavian trip, and I had only this day and the next to truly see Stockholm before it was time to head home. I vowed to make the most of the next forty-eight hours and immerse myself in the splendor of Stockholm; but first, brunch.


Rival Bistro

Hotel Rival’s bistro was an amazing spot to dine (photo:


As you may have heard, Scandinavian brunch is like no other, and Hotel Rival validates this statement flawlessly. The art deco bistro, with its red velvet banquettes, soft lighting, gorgeous art and original silver columns from the 1930s was the perfect setting to start my day. Oh, and the food was amazing too!


Rival brunch

It is hard to rival Rival’s brunch (photo:


Afterwards, I decided to practice the art of the Swedish fika and took my kaffe up to the balcony to savor the beautiful morning. As I sat in the sun and watched as people walked through Mariatorget to get where they needed to be I had a small glimpse into a typical Swede’s morning, and it was perfection.



Perfect perch to enjoy the Swedish art of fika while looking onto Mariatorget



I knew I did not have much time to explore Stockholm, so I finally left Rival and ventured north to Skeppsbrokajen (literal translation: ships bridge wharf) on Gamla Stan (Old Town). The helpful hotel maître d’ informed me that this is where I could find one of the many hop-on hop-off boat cruises that tour the waterways. As I took my seat, I knew I wanted to head across to the island of Djurgården to visit two museums I was very excited about, but could not be more different.

Gamla Stan

Beauty everywhere as I made my way to Gamla Stan


I had heard that the Vasa Museet, a maritime museum built around the world’s oldest restored warship, which, unfortunately, sank in the waters of Stockholm minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628, is a remarkable sight. I also knew that I couldn’t leave Sweden without visiting the ABBA Museum, to pay homage to the country’s most popular pop music exports. It would definitely be an afternoon of full-spectrum Swedish culture!



I could see Gröna Lund and my final destination across the gorgeous harbor!


However, before I reached my destination I would need to stay on the boat and follow the inlet a few more stops. As I sat on the guided tour, listening to the fascinating history of Stockholm and gazing at the view spread out before me, I finally saw the entirety of this Beauty on the Baltic. I passed by The Royal Palace on Gamla Stan, then sailed past the Kungliga Operan (Royal Swedish Opera) on Normalm. Rounding the southern tip of Normalm I ogled the gorgeous Grand Hotel Stockholm perched in all her 142-year-old glory, then continued my rubbernecking past the posh seaside cafés and eateries of Ostermalm. The seasonal amusement park Gröna Lund came into view as we approached the westernmost tip of Djurgården, where I departed for my date with 17th century maritime history and Swedish pop overload.



Making my way to Djurgården by boat




As always, there is so much more to tell. Please tune in next week to here more about these museums, and the phenomenal food I gorged on stories above the sea!


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