"FIKA" In Sweden (2017)


I took a direct flight from Oakland to Stockholm on Norwegian Airlines.

This was my first flight on a Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner.  The Dreamliner has larger windows and also an electronic dimming system for the windows in lieu of a traditional shade.

After about a 10 hour flight, I arrived at Arlanda International Airport in Sweden.  Arlanda is about thirty minutes from Stockholm City.

We stayed at the Hilton Stockholm Slussen.

The bathroom in my room at the Hilton was quite luxurious with all the marble.  I loved the heated floors and the heated towel rack as well!

As a Hilton HHonors Diamond member, I had privileges to the Executive Lounge as usual.

I am enjoying a bottle of Russian Water in the Executive Lounge after checking in to my room at the Hilton.

The views of Gamla Stan or "Old Town" Stockholm from the Executive Lounge was amazing!

We visited the flag ship IKEA store after getting settled in.  This is the largest IKEA in the world too.

I had to try the Swedish Meatballs at IKEA there too.  They had a lot more selections on the menu however.

This was a cool cathedral we saw around Central Stockholm.

We visited the Ice Bar next.  They give you a heavy jacket and gloves to wear for the -5'C bar.

The cover for the bar includes on cocktail that is served in a glass made of ice as well.

I decided to crown myself the "King" and sit on the ice version of the "Iron Throne."  LOL.

Even the tables were carved from frozen river ice!

The Ice Bar uses ice from the Torne River in Northern Sweden to carve the art work, furniture, and bar as well as the glasses.  They usually change the theme of the bar once a year.

I bought this souvenir plate from the Hotel C in Stockholm.  It explains the Swedish Institution of "FIKA."

The next morning, we walked through Gamla Stan to get to the Royal Palace.  There were cool little alleyways like this.

The Stockholm Royal Palace is the official residence of HM King Carl Gustaf XVI.  HM receives foreign ambassadors here as well.

Here is a picture of the Royal Palace from the back of the building.  It is one of the largest palaces in Europe.

Foreign Heads of State stay at the Royal Palace often when on State Visits to Sweden.  This room is used by foreign leaders when they stay here.

They do a changing of the guard at the Royal Palace every day around noon.

They had a band accompanying the the guards for the changing of the guard ceremony.

Here is the official hand over from one regiment to another regiment during the Changing Of The Guard.

Here is another picture from Gamla Stan.

This is the Nobel Museum.

They have a moving belt of all the Nobel Prize winners at the Nobel Museum.

I took a Royal Canal Tour in the afternoon after touring the Royal Palace and Nobel Museum.

Here is a nice view of Gamla Stan from the boat tour.

Here is the Royal Palace from the boat.

The boat took us into the Baltic Sea.

This cathedral is called Storyken.  It is near the Royal Palace.

For dinner, we went to a famous restaurant called Lisa Elmqvist.  She is an official purveyor to HM the King.  I ordered a traditional Swedish dish that included fresh cod, prawns, eggs, and horseradish served with a light butter sauce.

The dish was accompanied by steamed potatoes like many foods in Sweden.

This was my dessert.

The next morning, we took a boat to Drottningholm Palace, which is where the King and Queen actually live.

Here is a picture of the Palace as one approaches it on the boat tour.

I am standing outside in the gardens behind the palace.

The gardens reminded me a lot of Versailles in France.

The rooms inside also reminded me of the opulence of Versailles.  This was a bedroom of a former Queen.

The painting ceilings were amazing!

When in Sweden, order the Swedish meatballs and ligonberry sauce.  LOL.  The pickled cucumbers were great too.

I needed a "FIKA break" in the afternoon so I stopped in at the Hotel Diplomat for some cappucino.

We took another boat in the afternoon to an island called Fjaderholmarna.  Stockholm is comprised of many islands on an area where a large lake meets the Baltic Sea.

This is the marina in Fjaderholmarna.

This is an old military gun on the island.

The chocolate on the island was amazing.  I loved the one that had whisky inside.  The island used to be a gathering spot to party for farmers on the outer islands before they finished rowing their produce to Stockholm City to sell them.

The Hilton Stockholm Slussen had a better complimentary alcohol selection than other Hilton Executive Lounges that I've been in.

They also had a better spread of evening appetizers too in the Executive Lounge in Stockholm.  These mussels were great!

I could not turn down another "FIKA" at the Executive Lounge with coffee made on their Nespresso machine.

For dinner, we went to Burger & Lobster.  They had an interesting decor with lobster traps for lamps.  LOL.

I ordered their famous lobster roll which was a lot of fresh lobster meat in a brioche bun with light mayo.  It was served with sweet potato fries and a salad!  It was so good!

The night club, Club Opera, that we went to was not busy until really late so I tried some blackjack.  Under Swedish Rules, one loses if they push on 17-20.  It sucked!

This was Club Opera before it got busy.  They played a lot of house and techno style music.

We went to the Ericson Globe the next morning to start our adventures.  The Ericson Globe hosts concerts and sporting events.  It is the world's largest sphere shaped building.

The Ericson Globe has two rides on it called Sky Views that take visitors up to the top for amazing views of Stockholm.

Here is a view from the Sky View ride.

We visited the Spirit Museum next which has lots of art work dedicated to Absolut, which is a Swedish vodka.  The museum was boring.

The VASA Museum was really cool however!  This ship was built in the 1600s and sank on it's maiden voyage.  They were able to bring it up to the surface years later and put it inside this museum.

This is the Nordic Museum.  We visited this after the VASA Museum.  Most of the museums are located on an island called  Djurgarden.

We went to this museum dedicated to the famous children's author Asrid Lindgren.  She wrote Pippy Longstockings.  They had a train ride which reminded me of the old ET Ride at Universal Studios, and it elevated us up to a trip through her books.

Skansen was next on our agenda for the day.  It is an outdoor museum dedicated to showcasing life in Sweden before the Industrial Revolution.  This is an old windmill there.

I actually had an encounter with a peacook at Skansen!  LOL.  I would not expect that in Scandanavia!

I saw an ad for this and had to try it!  It was pretty good!

April 30th marks the start of Spring so they have bonfires in Stockholm to mark the occasion.

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel Arlandia before we departed Sweden since it was right next to the airport.  It was decent, but I do not have status with Club Carlson like I do with Hilton or Marriott.

The food on Norwegian was nothing too spectacular.  The lunch service had beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables served with a pasta salad and dessert.  We also had a choice of beverage including red or white wine.

Before landing in Oakland, they served us a small bag lunch including a turkey sandwich, cookie, and apple juice.

   After seeing how low the airfares were to Stockholm, Sweden on various European airlines including Wow and Norwegian Air Shuttle, I decided to plan a trip to visit Scandanavia in Spring of 2017.  I did not realize that April is still a cold month in Sweden, but it was still a fun trip!  I decided to book Norwegian as they were rated fairly high among the new European carriers operating flights to North America.  Norwegian is kind of like a "Southwest Airlines" of Europe, and they operate out of smaller airports to save money.  I found a direct flight from Oakland to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport so I booked it in March of 2017.  The airfare I chose included the checked bag, meals, and the seat selection so it was higher than their basic fares.  There was only one Hilton however in all of Sweden so I had to book that one as I am loyal to the Hilton brand as a Diamond HHonors member.  The hotels were a little pricey in Sweden because of their high taxes on everything!

    The Swedes have a social institution called "FIKA."  FIKA is a coffee break with co workers, friends, or a date.  I took many FIKAs in Sweden during my trip!  Their coffee is so amazing over there.  I even brought back some Arvid Nordqvist coffee with me.  It is even better than the coffee that my Starbucks Verismo V Brewer makes.

    I departed Oakland International Airport on Wednesday, April 26th.  Norwegian Air Shuttle operated the new Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners for this route so I was excited to try out the Dreamliner.  The Dreamliner had windows that were about 65% larger than other aircraft, and they also had a button to make the windows darken or lighten instead of having a window shade.  Also, the planes have a better mix of cabin air and  mood lighting to help alleviate jet lag.  The Dreamliner is also quieter.  Moreover, there was an Android Touch Screen monitor and outlet at each seat.  There were decent movie selections for the flight so I was not bored.  After we had dinner, I did try to get some sleep so when we arrived, I would be ready to go site see and adjust to their time zone.

    The flight landed around 1:00 in the afternoon in Stockholm.  After clearning customs, we picked up our Stockholm Pass, which gave us admission to most of Stockholm's attractions for 72 hours as well as a transit pass that was valid on all trains, buses, and ferries throughout the city.  Then, we took a taxi over to the Hilton Stockholm Slussen which is about 30-40 minutes from the main international airport in Sweden.

    After arriving at the hotel, I was greeted as a Diamond guest and given an upgrade to a city view room.  Moreover, I had access to the Executive Lounge as well.  The view from my room was amazing!  I could see Stockholm City Hall as well as Gamla Stan or "Old Town."  We decided to go up to the Executive Lounge to get some drinks and snacks before departing for the IKEA bus.

    IKEA has a free bus from Central Stockholm to their flag ship store.  Our walk from the hotel only took about ten minutes, and we enjoyed the views of Old Town along the way.  The bus took us to the largest and oldest IKEA in the world.  We got to try the famous IKEA meatballs with ligonberry sauce there.  Also, I saw that they had a lot more items on their menu there than in the US.  Afterwards, we took the bus back to Central Stockholm and walked over to the Hotel C in Stockholm which has the famous Stockholm Ice Bar by Ice Hotel.  This bar is kept at -5'C, and most of the stuff inside is carved or made out of Thorne River Ice.  They change the bar once a year, and they just redid it for 2017.  The Swedish people were very friendly and helpful.  Some people even stopped and asked if we needed directions anywhere since we looked like tourists with our maps.  The Swedish women are so hot too!  Outside of Croatia, I would say that Sweden has the hottest women in Europe!  Paris is good too I guess.  LOL.

    We started the next day with a tour of the Royal Palace in Stockholm.  The Royal Palace is the official seat of the Swedish monarchy.  HM King Carl Gustaf XVI conducts official state business at this palace.  We saw the Changing of the Guard ceremony too at 12:15 PM.   It was really cool.  Afterwards, we saw the Nobel Museum.  From there, we walked around the Old Town.  Our next tour was the Royal Canal Tour.  It took us out on the water where this large lake meets the Baltic Sea.  We got some great photo opportunities of Stockholm from this tour.  Afterwards, we went to dinner at a famous restaurant called Lisa Elmqvist.  My dinner was amazing!

    On Saturday, we started out the day with a boat trip to Drottningholm Palace, which is where the King and Queen actually live.  We toured the palace and gardens which reminded me a lot of Versailles in France.  I was quite impressed with it.  Then, we returned to Central Stockholm.  I was quite impressed with the Tunnelbana, or subway, in Stockholm.  It was not crowded at all even during rush hour.  There were no rails to hold onto also so I figured that all passengers can find a seat on these subway trains.  They are very frequent too.  We took a boat trip next to an island off Stockholm called Fjardholmarna.  This island was a famous stopping off point for farmers on the archipelego islands when they would row their produce into Stockholm.  They would stop here to party!  We found a chocolate shop on the island that made home made treats including whisky filled chocolate.  They were so good that I bought some to take home.  After our tour, we enjoyed the complimentary happy hour at the Hilton Executive Lounge before heading out to dinner.  We went to Burger & Lobster for dinner.  Their food was amazing as well.  That night, we checked out a night club called Cafe Opera.  Stockholm was quite chilly at night however.  It was in the thirties as we were walking around.

    Sunday was a museum day after we rode Sky View at the Ericson Globe.  Sky View is a ride that goes all the way up the Ericson Globe to give passengers a 360 view of Stockholm.  Afterwards, we toured a few museums including the Spirit Museum, VASA Museum, Nordic Museum, and Skansen.  The VASA Museum was so cool since it housed a large battle ship from the 1600s.  It is hard to imagine how they could build such large ships back then.  After some refreshments in the Hilton Executive Lounge, we tried Chinese food in Sweden that night.  Then, we took a cab over to the Radisson Blu Hotel near Arlanda Airport since we wanted to be close to the airport on the final night.  Our flight back to Oakland was the next day, and we enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast at the Radisson Blu before departing on the shuttle for the airport.

Last Updated:  May 8, 2017 9:25 PM