Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Secret to Happiness found in Sweden (Country #17)

Hej Hej 
This is the standard Stockholm greeting  pronounced, "Hey Hey". It is weird to walk into a bar or restaurant and have people calling, "HEY" out to you at you all the time. I kept wanting to answer, "WHAT"?

Why go to Stockholm, you ask? Well, why not. I found some cheap tickets and a *somewhat* cheap hotel (nothing is really cheap in Sweden). And Sweden is part of transit-friendly Scandinavia, so you know you won't need a rental car. With that, we were off for a long weekend to the land of socialism, Swedish meatballs, and blonde hair.

Oh and Arctic coldness, like January in Chicago-cold. If I had ta-tas, I would have frozen my ta-tas off there. At least it was blissfully sunny, which I learned makes a huge difference to a faux-Londoner like me who really hasn't seen the sun for months. The cold isn't quite so bad under a bright blue sky.

What to Do - Or Not Do
Stockholm doesn't have a ton of traditional "tourist attractions", which was nice. There wasn't pressure to SEE and DO everything. We mostly just walked around the city; through the old town, past the Nobel Museum, along the icy canals, through the shopping area, around the university.......everywhere.


OK this was part was effing cool. We went to the Vasa Museum, sort of accidentally - as in, hey there's a museum over there. Let's go. The Vasa Museum contains a giant historic ship (that sank on it's maiden voyage but was recovered), the bones of the people that sank with it, and some interesting exhibits about what it was like to work and live on a ship at that time. Let me summarize, life was not pretty backthen.

Anyway, the ship sank in 1628 and was salvaged from the bottom of Stockholm harbor in 1961. As in, it was pulled up practically in one gigantic piece. It lives in the Vasa Museum now. The ship is like 98% original thanks to its preservation in the cold, brackish water in the harbor over all those years. We were in here for a while, it was pretty damn cool and we are geeky over shit like this.

I look so happy, geez.


Oh man, this was my bad. We went to some sort of museum of Swedish life or something. It was like a sad V&A museum, and the V&A isn't all THAT great. After 5 minutes, Dave gave me 10 more minutes to see the rest of the place, including the audio tour. He was not impressed. Well at least it was......well......warm in the museum.

King So-and-So, the caption below him says "Be Swedish".

Actually Stockholm itself is friendly, easy to get around, and everyone speaks English. I think just walking around was my favorite thing that we did there.

More cruising the city.

And Finally......The Secret to Happiness
Perhaps it is the fish. After all, fish oil is good for your brain and health and such. Dave looks really happy there, or maybe it's just the wine.

3 kinds of herring, my Grandpa Glaser would be so proud.

Or Maybe......
Perhaps happiness lies in the redic social benefits that Sweden has. Man, if I was ever to have a baby - I would move here (that is a lie, I'd die of cold). These dads are so involved it is REMARKABLE to see. Perhaps it is because of this:
  • Parents receive 480 days leave for each child. Of this, 60 days is reserved for each parent, while the remaining 360 can be shared between the two parents as they choose. For most parents, 390 days of the shared leave is paid at "sick-pay" level, which is set at around 80% of their salary up to a maximum of £2,553 a month. The remaining 90 days is paid at a "minimum" level of £16.70. If the second partner takes more than the minimum 60 days, each parent receives an additional "gender equality bonus" of £4.64 a day.

Armies of dad's pushing strollers, WOW.

And the Real Secret to Happiness in Sweden
LONG UNDERWEAR under everything. Seriously, my purple, German long undies rocked that country. I walked around in the 20 degree-weather and I was "comfortable" (not crying). I may start wearing these babies around London under my clothes - all the time. Dave is a lucky, lucky man.

Looking good, I was so not meant for cold temperatures. Nice socks Dave.

1 comment:

FinnyKnits said...


Yes. I am such a believer in this stuff. We skied CO when it was 25 below and I was FINE.


One layer of Capilene 4 under my GoreTex jacket and I was GTG. Of course, my face was covered in neoprene and no skin was exposed, but still.

No pictures of hot blond dudes for the blog? Come on. Let us fantasize.