I have returned from Sweden, albeit a day later than expected due to a positive Covid test (more on that below). It was fabulous to be back in Europe, here are the highlights!
My travels to Europe took me through the Frankfurt International Airport which I have always found to be an excellent way to get anywhere. The Frankfurt airport is huge, clean and easy to navigate. After 90 minutes in Germany and a check of my vaccination card by Passport Control I was on my way to Copenhagen.
The Danish capital is very easy to access from the airport as the subway takes you to the city center in about 15 minutes. When I arrived, I checked into my cute boutique hotel, The Socialist, where I ate a quick lunch and had a nap (mistake #1). After some shut eye I ventured out into central Copenhagen to look around and also get a Covid antigen test that was required when I crossed into Sweden the next day. The Covid test was easily obtained and I was texted my negative results within 30 minutes.
Cuisine in Copenhagen is simply stellar. I enjoyed an amazing dinner of roasted Turbot at the Bobo Food Studio and the baked goods available throughout the city are top notch. Lagkagehuset is a local favorite and I went a little overboard and had a pan au chocolat, cinnamon roll and a danish for breakfast. #sugarrush. After about 30 hours in Copenhagen and an amazing meeting with your next favorite clothing line, I hopped a SJ bullet train to Gothenburg and started my Swedish visit.
One of my favorite things about traveling by rail is that you are dropped in the center of the city. When the train pulled into the station, I grabbed my bag, walked through the bustling Center and across the street to my hotel, the Scandic Europa. Scandinavians do a lot of things well (I am partial to the clothing, fwiw) and hotels are a perfect example. The Scandic is well apportioned with wood floors in each room and a pragmatic but lovely layout throughout the entire hotel. In addition, the Scandic breakfast is worth the trip to Sweden. With a chilled out vibe that makes taking the first steps of the day a lot easier, also....the food is fantastic. Are a restful night, I met with our friends at Varg and checked out the new items for next season. Simply put, they are stunning. I can't wait to get them into the shop this fall. After the Varg meeting it was on to Gallstad, Sweden, home of Ivanhoe, to see what they are up to for next year. The answer is, a lot. Our order includes classic looks with a few new pieces that focus on sustainability and movement, I think you will love them! The next day was a couple different trains on the way to Stockholm!
Stockholm- "Frozen Old City of Silver and Stone"*
My train dropped me at Stockholm Central and a few minutes later I arrived at Downtown Camper by Scandic, a beautiful hotel that weaves the outdoors into every nook. Waiting for me at the Downtown Camper was the rest of the Scandinavian Outdoor Group's award jury. Over the next 48 hours we would test out the nominated clothing and gear in the city and, more impressively, on the Idöborg Island within the Stockholm Archipelago. It was a ton of fun and after significant deliberation we handed out the awards. Check out the award show on Youtube to get all of the details, including the award for Best Footwear that went to our very own Polyver Classic Winter Boot.
Saturday night was spent at a traditional Swedish restaurant, Pelikan, where Nordic pilsner was poured and meatballs were consumed-- delicious.
Sunday was an open day for me so after sleeping for 11 hours(!!!), I set out to see the city. My first stop was the Abba Museum which was a ton of fun. It is located on Djurgarden which is also home to the Vasa museum, which is well worth a visit too. Lunch was poached cod with shrimp and boiled potatoes at Ulla Windbladh, yum.
After lunch I popped into the Swedish History Museum and learned about the settlement of Sweden and expansion, contraction, expansion and contraction of the Swedish empire along with the mass immigration to the New World in the 1800s. I could have stayed there for a long time but Chelsea was about to kickoff against Tottenham so I found my way to the Bryggeriet Odenplans to watch the Blues dominate the Spurs for 90 minutes.
Monday was spent with our friends at Haglöfs at their beautiful headquarters followed by a visit to their flagship shop then I was off to meet a hockey contact and talk puck for a while. Dinner that night was schnitzel and hefeweizen at the Bierhaus and it was glorious.
Tuesday was my last day at the Downtown Camper. I met with Patrik from Sandqvist backpacks and then paid a visit to the Jumperfabriken shop to see next years line! A quick bite at Bastard Burgers and then I hopped the Arlanda Express to the airport to stay at the Radisson Blu before my flight home early the next morning. In preparation for the flight I took a Covid test which (surprisingly) came back positive which meant...no flight.
Stockholm- "Let me go home"**
After cancelling my flight for the next morning and informing all of the people I had met with over the past few days of my positive test result I talked to the people at the hotel about how to proceed. Basically, I would be in my room except for going to the test site to check my Covid status until I received a negative test. So I hunkered in with some work and got ready for a long stay.
Wednesday was a quiet day of yoga, placing fall orders for Ivanhoe and 66North from Iceland (the good folks I met in Copenhagen...), which we are so excited to bring back to the United States. In the afternoon I ran down and took another Covid test...this time it was negative so I scrambled to get a flight for the morning.
Thursday was a long day of travel back home through Frankfurt. On the long flight I watched the entire Hobbit trilogy for the first time, I thought it was very well done!
All in all, a crazy, great experience!
*From "Stockholm" by Jason Isbell from his amazing album "Southeastern", my favorite album from the past ten years.
** Also from the Isbell song.