After our trip to London, Amsterdam, and Paris, we returned to Lithuania to relax for a few days and start planning our second side trip. We decided we wanted to see Scandinavia, so we booked tickets to Stockholm. We would spend three nights there, three in Copenhagen, three more in Helsinki, and then round out our trip with another three nights in Riga. We wanted to visit Norway, but we figured it would require a separate trip on its own just to see all the fjords.
So off we went to Sweden. Now let me say, I’ve been to quite a few major Western European cities before. London, Paris, and Rome have always been my favorite. But I was completely blown away by Stockholm. The history, the architecture, the layout of the city, the people, the food… all amazing. I can’t say one bad thing about that city. Well, except for a really crappy Mexican restaurant called Taco Bar that we made the mistake of trying. (Yes, I know… but tacos sounded amazing at the time!)
Regardless of our bad Swedish-Mexican experience, Stockholm, in my opinion, is the most underrated major city in all of Europe. It’s definitely a place I wouldn’t mind moving to.
Don’t get me wrong. Copenhagen is a lovely city. It just seemed a bit dirtier and didn’t quite have that “wow factor.” But we still had a blast and I got some nice shots of the Nyhavn waterfront, where a lot of cafes and pubs are located.
We took a short ferry ride to Suomenlinna, an 18th century island fortress just ten minutes from Helsinki’s port, and spent all day there. Not a whole lot to do in Helsinki, but it was still a beautiful city to explore.
We were blown away by the beautiful architecture in Riga. Old Town felt like some kind of fake city built by Disney. The food was quite good and the cheap prices made everything even better.
Funny little story: The hotel we stayed at (Opera Hotel) was right across the street from a movie theatre, so one afternoon we decided to see X-men: First Class. Now, Latvia’s second official language is Russian. So being that the movie was in English, both Latvian and Russian subtitles were provided. “No problem,” I thought. The movie’s in English. Well, little did I know, half of that damn movie is in French, German, and Russian. Inna ended up having to translate the Russian subtitles to me in English just so I could understand what was going on.
Even better… once we got back to Lithuania, we decided to see Planet of the Apes. Same deal. Half of that movie is in sign language with Lithuanian subtitles. Awesome.