A question that I have been asked several times over the last seven years is, “have you been to Sweden?” It’s a great question since the name of the coffee company is Fika, which is a Swedish word for coffee break. Now I can answer that question with, “Yes, I have been to Sweden and looking forward to my next trip there.”
This blog post is about my trip to Sweden and how I was able to go there too. Not sure if you remember, but back in September of 2018 I took a trip for the record books to Peru (you can read about that trip here). If you recall our Peru trip was bookended with countless unexpected events. These include missed connecting flights, a flight reroute through Chile, a wild goose chase to meet our group which we ended up missing, and an unplanned overnight in Lima.
All that to say, because of the mishaps, Air Canada gave us $1,000 in air vouchers.
But, they had to be used within one year from September 29, 2019. So, exactly one year later, with a few hours left before the voucher expired, I purchased a ticket to Sweden (by way of Denmark).
MY TRAVEL PARTNER
For me an adventure is usually better when it’s shared, so I decided to invite my friend Lars, who currently lives in Denmark with his family, to join me. I met Lars back in Muncie in 2009 when we moved down there for the coffee & ministry internship. Since I hadn’t spoken to Lars in at least 5 years before calling him with the invitation, it was met with laughter. Fortunately, the laughter came from his excitement and surprise, and he decided to join me. I’m so glad he did - we made a great travel pair.
Now before I go on, I have to give a few shout outs. I want to publicly give a big thanks to everyone back home for helping so my european adventure could even be possible. A big thanks to my awesome, lovely and hard working wife Stephanie for encouraging me along the way on this trip and for juggling all the schedules back home with the kids, and doing her own great work at the school too. Another big thanks goes to Colin. He held down all things Fika while I was gone. It's such an awesome blessing to not have to think/worry about work when away and confidently know that Colin keeps things moving forward. Also big thanks to Marai, Malin, Leticia and Sara Jane (my mother) for working extra shifts to pick up what I put down. All around huge thanks to the Fika Family here!!
THE TRIP MISHAP
In true fashion, ALL of my travel plans couldn’t go without a hitch. A storm was predicted to hit the North Shore the night before my flight. Because Lake Superior makes weather predictions pretty inaccurate, I didn’t leave town early like many would have. Instead I rolled the dice and invited some friends over for dinner. Unfortunately, when we hit the road for the airport, the snow was coming down pretty hard and ended up dumping upwards of 2 feet of snow here in Cook County. We had a pretty sketchy drive for the first hour or two, until we were closer to Duluth. From there on out, all went well and I had an incredible time.
I met Lars in Billund, Denmark, spent a day there with his family, then took a train and Ferry to Helsinborg, Sweden. There we got a rental car, drove to Gothenburg for a night and traveled (a long, scenic route) toward Stockholm. We spent a night somewhere by Lake Vanern (the third largest lake in Europe) before reaching Stockholm where we would explored for a few days. Then I had one more full day in Denmark before flying home.
Lars picked me up at the Billund Airport and we made a stop to see the Lego Museum. Billund is pretty much all supported by Lego, it’s the home of Lego.
Kronborg Castle, in Helsingor DE, it’s the castle that Shakespeare set Hamlet in. We got this view on the ferry into Sweden.
A little traditional snack on the ferry. I guess some folks will just ride the ferry back and forth and eat these red hot dogs (rod pulse) and drink a lager beer instead of Pepsi. We had places to go so just took the ferry one way.
Before I left in the newsletter, I asked for people to meet, things to do and places to see. Well our good friend of Fika came through and put me in contact with her friend Christel, who we met for our very first Fika we had in Sweden at this cafe in Helsingborg.
On our drive north out of Gothenburg we got off the HWY and went towards the coast, came across this beautiful little town. Had just an amazing lunch here too, coffee and cake were included in the lunch, but of course.
The next morning we found ourselves in Karlstad, where we once again took a morning stroll for a Fika. We found ourselves at this place called Artisan Breads. Super yummy cardamon buller and drip coffee. Got to watch the bakers work too! Our morning fika walks were very normal - it’s how we started each day.
Made a pit stop in Orebro, there was a large street fair going on. We took in the sites and saw this rubber ducky!
Drop Coffee, Sweden
Stockholm day one. Trip to Vasa Museum, a huge navy ship that sank in harbor and 333 plus years later they pulled it out, restored it and now its a museum. We also had one of many fikas that day at Drop Coffee! Had a cardamon buller and a coffee flight.
Pom & Flora
Pom & Flora
One of my favorite spots was Pom & Flora, it was a super tiny space but they put out some incredible food and coffee. We went there for Saturday brunch. It was very inspiring to see what they could do from such a small space.
King’s Palace, we went in and toured the Armory, pretty cool to see all the buggies, battle gear, and royal dress all in a timeline too.
Me in front of one the most photographed building in Stockholm, look familiar?
Another shot of Old Town, streets just pack with people from all over.
Stockholm, Sweden - Johan Nystoms Cafe
Stockholm, Sweden - Johan Nystoms Cafe
Another fika at Johan Nystrom’s Cafe, this is one of the first (progessive/third wave) coffee shops in Stockholm.
Well, there you have it, a short visual recap of my fika tour of Sweden. We sure did eat and drink a lot in Stockholm (but we also averaged about 12 miles a day of walking). One thing I was surprised by was how mild it was, even when we were in Karlstad in the middle of the country. The temperatures barely got below freezing and we did not see any snow the whole trip. I guess, I better go way north next time to get the snow, cold and northern lights.
So glad that I also got to spend this time with my good friend Lars. We made great travel partners. Plus, there’s no better way to reconnect with a friend than being in a new setting, drinking coffee and walking together.
Who wants to go to Sweden next time with me?