Stockholm: City of 50 Bridges and Pop Music

There really is something special about them Scandinavians. From the land of the "world's happiest people", Denmark, we now travel across the narrow strait, to the "world's cleanest country", Sweden. And lets not forget the land of attractive blonde men and women, Swedish meatballs, pop music hits, and ABSOLUT Vodka.

At the center of all of this is Stockholm, capital of Sweden; a city spread out across fourteen islands, linked by over fifty bridges.

* Stockholm is exactly how I imagined it to be: architecturally impressive, progressive, extremely walkable, and clean.

* And of the city's main sites, the City Hall with its clock tower (an imposing structure given the height restrictions placed on buildings) is one of its most important.

* But first.. this view! Like something out of a sci-fi movie; a utopian society with lots of flying cars (hopefully coming soon)

* The Stockholm City Hall is where the annual Nobel Prize banquet is held.

* The Nobel Prize is regarded as the pinnacle of all awards celebrating academic, cultural, and scientific advances. To receive one is to be regarded as one of the best and most important of our species.

* Among its most famous recipients are Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Alexander Fleming, and Martin Luther King Jr.

* Welcome all ye civilized men and women!

* The venue where the banquet is held is called the Golden Hall, referred to as such due to the golden mosaics that decorate the entirety of the room.

* This main mosaic piece (Athena? or Freya the wife of Odin?) serves as the focal point of the entire hall.

* An astonishing 18 million tiles decorate the Golden Hall.

* Showcasing various scenes from Sweden's illustrious history.

* Outside, the grounds of the City Hall are well kept and full of interesting attractions.

* Including this sculpture of a tied-up chap trapped by the base of the edifice. I wonder what this is about?

* This view deserves a second look! Perfect for people watching, panorama appreciating, and life reflecting.

* Being descended from Vikings, the Swedes LOVE their boats, yachts, and super-yachts.

* In fact, one can travel stylishly between the islands in open-air water transports.

* As with all Scandinavian countries, the city is also extremely bicycle friendly.

* But getting around on foot is much more pleasurable and gratifying.

* Which is how I spent my whole day in the city!

* Had to pinch myself: "No, you're in Stockholm, not Budapest!"

* Present in every great European city is a "Gentleman on Horseback" grand statue!

* A proud gluteus-maximus-fella doing his best Randy Orton impression!

* Time does seem to stretch when surrounded by such wonderful sights.

* All hail the Imperial Capital of the North!

* Wizard Academy? Applications and solicitations most welcome!

* Stockholm is also one of Europe's great financial centers; with several famous Swedish companies calling it home: IKEA, H&M, Ericsson, Volvo, and Spotify.

* The Swedes are also known for being among the most progressive in Europe. In fact they, along with Germany, are the top European countries who welcomed migrants from the Middle East and Africa. (Which is sadly now a point of contention not only in Sweden but throughout the European Union). 

* Culturally, Sweden has also contributed significantly to the world of pop music; not only giving us the legendary group, ABBA, but also more contemporary artists like Avicii, the Swedish House Mafia, the Cardigans, Roxette, Ace of Base, Icona Pop, Robyn, and Max Martin. 

* Who is Max Martin? He's the guy who pretty much wrote every single Billboard hit in the past three decades, including most of the hits of NSYNC, Taylor Swift, the Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears.  (Click here to see this most impressive discography list)

* Monicca and I taking full advantage of the fresh Scandinavian air while humming us some Dancing Queen and Don't You Worry, Child.

* Despite being part of the European Union, Sweden retains its own currency, the Swedish Krona.

* And like the rest of its Scandinavian brethren (Denmark and Norway), Sweden is an expensive country: boasting the most expensive Big Mac meal in the whole EU at around 5.50 US dollars.

* However, like the rest of the Scandinavian countries, credits cards are widely accepted (even by street vendors) so I definitely recommend that they be used instead of having money exchanged in forex centers, where the fees are ridiculous!

* Vendors, sports, music, food and drinks in the park.. just another day in Stockholm!


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