Some satisfying user research plus an epic sized weeknote of my Nordic adventures
Some satisfying user research
Ahead of my trip to Sweden the previous week, I'd a busy time at work, observing some user research sessions on a prototype I've been designing for the GDS Publishing team. The second design iterations seemed to prove a success, so relatively satisfied about that.
New local Peruvian restaurant find
En route to Heathrow last weekend by an assortment of London buses, on a somewhat circuitous route due to engineering disruption on the Piccadilly Line, we discovered Quinoa Arepa in Wandsworth which serves the best arepas I've tried yet!
The past week, X and I travelled to Stockholm to visit some of her family there. It was my first visit to Sweden, and I was suitably impressed with how efficient and tidy the country is.
Before we'd time to explore the Swedish capital, we were off south on the classic Snälltåget train to Malmö and Copenhagen to spend a couple of nights. On the way I'd my first experience in a train dining car where I'd a delicious hearty meal of steak with a creamy tarragon pepper sauce.
I'd not been to the coast for several months, so Malmö offered an excellent opportunity to take in the sea breeze and capture some great photos. Although only there briefly, I liked the calm vibe of the city that sets it apart from other parts of Sweden. It's somewhere I'd like to spend more time exploring someday.
Copenhagen via the Øresund Bridge
I'd my first experience crossing over and under the sea in one journey by train via the Øresund Bridge en route to Copenhagen to spend one night there.
It was my second visit to the Danish capital, but my first opportunity to visit the Design Museum there. A fairly contemporary exhibition, but somewhat underwhelmed by the range of exhibits on show compared to other design museums I've visited.
We did a couple of free walking tours whilst there, encouraged by a good experience of one I'd done in Porto last year. The first was a 3-hour Grand Tour of Copenhagen and the second was a 90-minute tour of Christianshaven. Both were thoroughly enjoyable, and I absorbed such a lot of quirky but interesting details of the city and its people.
My visit to Copenhagen didn't go by without sampling a few of the local delicacies, including some of the finest pastries I've tried at Holm's Bakery.
Return to Stockholm
We returned to Stockholm on the slightly quicker and more modern tilting train. We only just managed to catch the train by minutes before it left on the final departure of the day north. That was all thanks to poor platform signage at Copenhagen station.
We spent a few days exploring Stockholm, beginning with a visit to the Vasa Museum which I thoroughly recommend in spite of it being very crowded throughout. Museumed-out, this was followed by exploring the old town of Stockholm (Gamla Stan) on foot including, you guessed it, some Fika Time to pause for more pastries!
Metro station caves
A visit to Stockholm also wasn't complete without a visit to the magnificent collection of underground metro stations with painted bedrock. Sadly, since the pandemic there are no official tours organised to see all the stations, however it's quite easy to travel independently to each station and take photos within the 1-hour time limit of a single journey ticket.
Stockholm's tastiest finds
From a Londoner's perspective, eating out in Stockholm wasn't quite as pricey as I'd been expecting. That being said, the price of alcohol was a little more than even London's eye wateringly high prices. My favourite dining experiences in Stockholm were enjoying a fresh seafood lunch at Östermalm Market Hall and a divine dinner of Swedish meatballs at Restaurant Prinsen. Also on the list of great Swedish cuisine was the café at Stockholm Botanical Garden, finished off with a tranquil walk along Brunnsviken lake.
Exploring the archipelago
Finally, on the Nordic adventure, we boarded a local foot passenger ferry for a relaxing day trip to Vaxholm. The weather was mostly warm but overcast that day, although the scenery was still very pleasant and somewhat reminiscent of the coastal landscape on my visit to Vancouver Island over a decade ago.
Looking forward to my next Nordic adventure, hopefully next year!