Thursday, April 14, 2016

Stockholm, Sweden

Arrival at Arlanda Airport
Traveling to any location is always exciting, especially if one loves to explore, experience the culture and meet new people. We – Latha and I are just that and this one was long pending – our trip to Scandinavia. The kids were counting down from days to the hours and why shouldn’t they be. We expected the trip to be overwhelming but it turned out to be even more than that – a dream come true.

Day 1 - April 12, 2016

The trip we had all been waiting for was on April 12 to Stockholm. A morning flight that took about 6 hours to reach Stockholm Arlanda airport. A small airport in comparison to Dubai. The tough part was the long queue at the immigration, we spent over an hour to get through and then to claim our baggage. But all that didn't matter much because our enthusiasm was too high to even bother about any problem.
We could immediately sense the low temperature as we came out of the airport. It was about 5c and a cool breeze was hitting our faces. It took us about 30 mins to reach home from the airport. Devi had baked a beautiful cake to welcome us.

We had plans to nap for a while so that we could stay awake for the long night, but that didn’t happen, because all of us were so happy to see each other, the time was spent chatting all the way. The weather was perfect, sunny and not too cold, ideal for a Barbeque. My brother, Saju inaugurated his new BBQ machine.
BBQ at the backyard

Angus beef quarter pound
We brothers and of course the kids are meat lovers and there was virtually all types of meat to hit the hot grill. My personal favorite was the Angus beef quarter pounders (Angus grass fed beef-tastier), they were juicy and yummm. Daylight was until 8:30 pm and so we had all the time to sit, relax and enjoy the food with my brother and family. After a couple of drinks…it felt like….life was indeed made of these. :-)

Day 2 - April 13, 2016

Old Town
The next day Devi took us around the Stockholm city. We toured the major tourist spots in and around the city center. It spreads out over 14 islands in Lake Malaren that flows out to the Baltic Sea. We went to the Old town (Gamla Stan). A typical old European surroundings, cobblestone streets, beautifully preserved buildings, the Royal Palace, gothic churches and excellent caf├ęs, bars, restaurants and Swedish design-ware shops.
Swedish Parliament

City Hall
The Stockholm City Hall is one of Sweden’s most famous buildings. It is famous as it is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet held every year. Stockholm like all major European countries is well connected by public transport, be it metro, tram or the bus. A service that would envy any developing country.
Lake Malaren

Kungstradgarden is a park in central Stockholm which is one of the most popular hangouts and meeting places in Stockholm. It also hosts open-air concerts and events in summer, while offering an ice rink during winters. The specialty of the location is its Sakura trees planted along side the park. During spring time (April-May) the tree blossoms and enhances the beauty of the park. They call it cherry blossom and the small pink flowers is so soothing to the eyes. Fortunately we were there at the time to experience it. The picture says it all.

We then moved on to see the palace. Drottningholm Palace which is Sweden's royal palace constructed in the seventeenth century, the permanent residence of the royal family and one of Stockholm's World Heritage Site.

Drottningholm Palace
It stands on an island in Lake Malaren in the suburb of Stockholm. The palace is inspired by the Palace of Versailles in Paris. The gardens and park areas surrounding the castle are one of the main attractions for the tourists that visit the palace each year. The gardens have been established in stages since the castle was built, resulting in different styles of parks and gardens.

Courtyard facing Lake Malaren
It would take us 1 full day to see the complete area surrounding the palace. We only covered a portion of the garden.

Day 3 - April 14, 2016


We celebrated Vishu in my brother’s home with his friends. Vishukkani was set by the ladies and all of us saw it, the first thing in the morning as part of the custom.

We were in our traditional clothes and had a full-fledged naadan sadya (Kerala feast). A great Vishu with all its grandeur in Stockholm.

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