When I left Sweden last year in mid-December little did I know that I would not be able to go back for the next nine months. To my dearest people, it was just another “see you soon” hug and I didn’t even say farewell to some friends. Then Corona-crisis started all around the world. Some countries, like my own, had super strict lockdowns. Meanwhile, only Sweden stayed sane. I even read somewhere that if an alien ended up in 2020 Sweden, they would have a hard time finding out that we are living in the middle of a pandemic. After spending almost nine months of being apart from my favourite people and country – I finally visited Sweden in late August-September.
WHERE I STAYED
It was my seventh visit to Stockholm. Each time I stay in new places, visit new restaurants and try new things. And each time, my experience gets better. As a conscious traveller, alongside comfort, it is also important to me that the hotel I am staying in has a conscious approach to business. That is why I stayed at Hotel Birger Jarl. Centrally located on Tulegatan 8, in Norrmalm, yet in a very quiet and vibrant neighbourhood. Hotel Birger Jarl is an amazing place for a super relaxing weekend, working remotely, or just to enjoy your vacation in STHLM. Very recently the hotel partnered up with a sustainable beauty product brand – IDUN. Their hair & skincare products are available in the hotel’s dreamy bathrooms. It is the first time IDUN has partnered up with a hotel.
To keep the number of people in the restaurant at the same time to the minimum, the hotel offers a booking option for the breakfast venue. Birger Jarl has modern, minimalistic rooms, with a view over the beautiful streets of Stockholm. Keep an eye on their website as they run quite attractive deals almost every season. For example, right now you can enjoy up to 40% off on your Weekend stay at Hotel Birger Jarl.
WHERE I ATE:
As a vegan traveller, Sweden is my personal paradise. Almost every city has a variety of vegan restaurants. But even if you visit a non-vegan restaurant, most of the places always have vegan-friendly options as well. With every visit, my preferences change. So this time I will share two of my current favourite vegan places that you definitely need to check out in Stockholm:
1. MyVegina – located on Norrtullsgatan 21, has amazing vegan options including hot and cold dishes and drinks.
2. Hermitage – right in the heart of Gamla Stan, on St. Nygatan 11 offers vegan buffet every day. It’s an ALL YOU CAN EAT dreamy paradise.
OVERALL TRAVEL EXPERIENCE:
Sweden almost looked and felt the same as ever, during the corona pandemic in Summer. But one can definitely see the lack of tourists while walking on Gamla Stan, or queueing for museums, which, by the way, are free for everyone. I will not lie, I kind of enjoyed less packed old town of STHLM, giving me more calmness to spend more time in touristic areas.
After visiting Sweden, my approach to coronavirus has also changed. I am less panicked and more careful. As I spent March-July in the super strict lockdown of Georgia, curfews and face masks in an open space included, I could not imagine that people in the Swedish part of the world would keep living normally. By normally I mean that social distancing has always been a thing in Sweden, even before corona. It is called simple manners in this part of the world. Most people work from home, most universities study remotely too, most stores have self-checkout tills, and social events for more than 50 people are still banned.
I am looking forward to visiting Sweden all over again. In the meantime, stay safe and if you plan your trip to Stockholm, alongside this one, you can check out my previous blog posts about what to see and do in STHLM.
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