Gamla Stan | Stockholm, Sweden

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Gamla Stan is probably my favorite area in Stockholm. We were only in Stockholm for five days and we found ourselves in the area more than once. The first time was a failed attempt at a Christmas photo and the other was at one of the greatest bars we’ve visited.

Gamla Stan or Old Town is one of the most preserved Medieval Towns in Europe. Stockholm was founded in 1252 in the area of Gamla Stan, which makes it one of the most visited areas. Markus and I went early one morning in the hopes of capturing our Christmas card photo. When we arrived, there was a large truck blocking the iconic colorful buildings. Not wanting to waste the morning, we found a cute cafe and ate breakfast on the terrace. While we waited for our food, Markus went out to get video footage of the beautiful square. A family stopped and asked him to take a photo. I saw this as a one time opportunity and quickly ran over to ask them to take photos of us too. The photos weren’t too bad, but honestly they weren’t that great either. Thank goodness we decided to go to Nyhavn later in the week and took photos there.

After breakfast, Markus and I did a little sightseeing elsewhere, but planned to return to Gamla Stan later that evening. Markus found this amazing bar right in the middle of the square, Pharmarium. Even though it’s in the middle of a tourist heavy area, the vibe at Pharmarium is anything but that. The bar was inspired by the first pharmacy that opened nearby in 1575. Inside it’s dark and moody with tons of Persian rugs and leather chairs. I loved everything about Pharmarium and felt right at home. The vibe is definitely witchy and alchemical since all the cocktails are prepared with seasonal ingredients and traditional medicinal herbs. Markus and I only planned on having one drink, but the first two we ordered were so good that we had another round. There are few bars that I wish I could go back to and Pharmarium is 100% in my top three bars in the world. If you ever find yourself in Stockholm, this is the one place I would recommend!

Steam Hellsinki | Helsinki, Finland

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When traveling, Markus and I try to find interesting and unique bars. We were both researching spots on our own and we both stumbled upon Steam Hellsinki. The bar was in a bit of an odd location, near the central train station and inside of an outdoor mall. Inside the bar is another story and nothing like the surrounding shops. Somehow they managed to fit a dirigible inside and that also functions as the main bar.  It was pretty amazing. Especially when the bar started spraying fog. It really set the mood. Steam Hellsinki focused heavily on gin and had bottles from all over the world. To add to the ambiance, they had the place decked out with old antiques and other steampunk accents. The interior looked like a Hendrick’s Gin advert come to life. The drinks were great and the atmosphere was even better. Unfortunately, since this past August, the bar has permanently closed, which makes our experience even more special.

Stockholm Public Library & Café Pascal | Stockholm, Sweden

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The moment Markus and I stepped foot in Stockholm, we were looking for a place to eat and a neighborhood to explore. After a bit of internet searching, we found Café Pascal in the Odenplan neighborhood. The area was perfect because we planned to head over to the popular Stockholm Public Library.

We both loved Café Pascal. The vibe was really laid back and very similar to coffee shops in Chicago or any big city. The food was really delicious and the portions were sizable. I watched a woman seated close to us, eat half of her mushroom sandwich and left a whole half a sandwich behind. She didn’t even take it with her, I was slightly appalled, because I would have and eaten that bad boy later. Our time at Café Pascal was a nice time to recharge before we headed to the library.

I’m sure if you follow any travel instagrams or have a Pinterest account, you've seen images of the famous Stockholm Public Library. In real life, it’s a bit smaller than I expected, but just as beautiful. It was a bit surreal seeing it in real life, since I had seen it so many times before that. Construction on the library began in 1924 and was designed by architect Gunnar Asplund and is an example of the Swedish Grace style. Recently, the library was listed as one of the world's most beautiful libraries by the magazine Conde Nast Traveler. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen and a must see when in Stockholm.


Joyeux Noël 2018 | Nyhavn | Copenhagen, Denmark

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I honestly cannot believe that we’re only eight days away from Christmas. I’m not going to lie, 2018 has been a rough and difficult year and I’m just ready for 2019. Despite the tough trials and challenges, there were still some really great memories. Out trip to Scandinavia couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. July was a rough month, so a trip right at the end of August was perfect.

For our annual Christmas photo, we had three cities full of great spots to choose from, but we ultimately chose Nyhavn in Copenhagen. We scoped it out the day before and were immediately blown away by the iconic colorful buildings. The next morning, we woke up really early to avoid the crowds, headed out in our matching crane shirts and found the perfect spot. I didn’t think we would top our photo at Château de Boucéel last year, but I think we did. Anyway dear friends, I hope you have a Happy Christmas and a spectacular New Year!

Senate Square | Helsinki, Finland

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So excited to share the first post of our recent trip to Scandinavia. The first city we visited was Helsinki in Finland. We added this city because I didn’t think we would ever have the opportunity again. Originally we were going to go to Oslo, but I felt that Norway probably deserved its own trip and not just a stop. We spent three quick days in Helsinki, but I think that was just the right amount of time. Anymore than that and it might have been too much.

One of the must see areas is Senate Square. The square and it’s surrounding areas is one of the the oldest areas in Helsinki. The most recognizable buildings in the square are the Government Palace, the Helsinki Cathedral and Sederholm House, which is the oldest and dates back to 1757. We didn’t spend much time at Senate Square because we had a dinner reservation and the weather was awful. The little bit we did get to see was beautiful and I could see why it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions.