Hei Hei (a.k.a. Hello)

GamlaStan

My trip to Stockholm was one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had. It’s something I completely did on my own simply because I wanted to. And that feels slightly luxurious. And also brave. I should acknowledge myself for that. While sitting here jet lagged, I’m given a little time to reflect on this whirlwind.

The day I flew in was beautiful. Warm and sunshiny. I discovered my relatives lived in Sodermalm, an extremely hip and trendy area comparable to Brooklyn in my opinion. It’s across a bridge from Gamla Stan, or Old Town, which is home to all the spectacular cobblestone streets and cool looking buildings. I knew that Stockholm was made up of a bunch of islands, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until I saw it. It is glorious. I tried to take in the view of the water line as often as I could.

We had many, many plans to learn about the history of my family. My hosts were very excited to share with me where I came from. This was both awesome and overwhelming. I mean, it was A LOT. A lot of history, a lot of introductions, a lot of coffee, a lot of food. I identify as an introvert so put me in a room with 30 strangers speaking Swedish who are all there to meet me made me want to hide. But I powered through it and I’m glad I did – I really saw Stockholm as a local and isn’t that the goal when traveling?FamilyTree

Lena, my 3rd cousin according to her, has done extensive research on my great grandmother’s family. She has traced our roots all the way back to 1460. 1460! She put together a comprehensive family tree that you can see me reading in the picture at the right. Well, reading is relative. It was all in Swedish. But Lena explained it all to me. Through court and church and, yes, even jail records she’s gathered all this information and it’s quite impressive.

My last night in town, I needed to escape to be on my own for a while. I headed out to Oliver Twist, a beer bar I read about that specializes in the latest Swedish craft brews. (Do I need to mention that I spent the weekend sampling all the Swedish beer I could get? Beer culture in Sweden is really growing and I was more than happy to join in the movement. My fave was Nils Oscar Hop Yard IPA.) Well, it just so happens that I wandered in to the bar where the people in the film industry hang out. I spent the night talking about show business in Stockholm with those who have first hand knowledge. How amazing is that? A nice cap to a fantastic vacation.

 

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