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These are some of the best travel tips one could get😁

My friend from @travelstoriesuntold has summed up some helpful advice from travelers around the world. Read them here 😁

Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover

Fika – Lets brew it!

Shhhh… my coffee and I are having a moment. I will deal with you later.

FIKA. BECAUSE. COFFEE. FRIENDS. CONVERSATIONS. RELAX.

 

Halla friends!

As promised, out of my sheer love for cultural learning and oh, COFFEE, this blog’s dedicated to a momentary romance with coffee, or as the Swedes call it – FIKA!

Somewhere on the Island of södermalm, I found a little café on the corner with a board outside that said – FIKA! The word in itself was so sweet to read I was intrigued to google it up. “OK google! What does Fika mean?” “Fika is a coffee break”. My heart the next hyper second – “Wait, coffee? Did I hear Coffee?”

It took me a conversation with three Swedes to understand that Fika after all isn’t ‘JUST’ a coffee break. It’s so much more than that. And boy, do the Swedes hate it being called a coffee break!

My ever so curious mind didn’t stop till I learnt all about Fika (Because, well… coffee). So in my own words I’d define Fika as – a moment of meditation with coffee! More like a concept, a state of mind or a feeling. And feelings have no definite terms of description, aye? (Yup I just got a little philosophical here!)

Fika is a Swedish obsession. The swedes are one of the highest coffee consuming nations in the world (Ranking in the top 10 list). Which is why, Coffee is more than having a break or a pastime for them. Coffee for them is weaving moments of bliss and light hearted conversations with friends and family leaving all your problems behind (nop, they do not discuss problems on the coffee table). And this, my friends, is an integral part of their culture (Fika – every single day! yup.)

So how do you… Fika? You wonder?

I will help break it down for you.

  1. You get yourself coffee.
  2. You add a pastry or a muffin (anything baked basically!)
  3. .. you just FIKA!

The art of Fika is all about leaving all your problems behind and having a moment of bliss and relax. The Swedes believe (and you and I would second them on this), the world is getting busier by the passing minute. Problems are never ending and our hair is graying faster and sooner than ever. It would do no harm to set aside everything and enjoy a happy conversation with a friend… and just FIKA! This, as I said before, being more of a Swedish tradition and obsession, the employers even give their staff a Fika break (maybe even two sometimes). That’s how entrenched it is in the Swedish culture.

Now, as I sit back and sip on my cup of coffee while I write this piece of article here, I think how coffee really is just a ‘to-go’ option for everyone around the world (yes even me!). We all have so much on our plates every single day that a coffee break really means discussing work issues or holding up client meetings. At work a coffee break means heading to a vending machine or the cafeteria and buying yourself that use and throw cup, sipping on it while you are driving or taking the subway. When I was studying in the UK, most of my mornings were filled with coffee on the side while getting dressed or finishing an assignment. Even at the university, I would get myself coffee from the 1 pound coffee maker and run with it to the lecture theater (multitasking, please!). But ever since I got back from Sweden, mum and I try to inculcate this Fika culture in our daily routine. We are both crazy coffee lovers and we sit with our coffees in the balcony and watch the sun rise up every morning. It really is the best moment of my all-so-busy day! A rather relaxed kick start.

What are the rules of FIKA?

One of the many beautiful things about this art is there aren’t really stated rules to fika. Not a coffee fan? Drink tea instead. Don’t like a muffin, pick a croissant or a sandwich. Whatever suits you? You don’t even have to head to a café, you can Fika literally anywhere, even in the comfort of your home.

Sweden and Coffee?

If we go down the road of civilization and walk down the streets with Swedish history, Sweden and coffee have been in a rather complicated relationship from the start.

Coffee entered Sweden like a breath of fresh air in mid-16th century under King Fredrick I. However, he was never a fan of these brown beans and tried to tax the shit out of it to kick it out of their culture. With eventual failures, he then banned coffee. Over years and subsequent successors, King Adolf Fredrick levied heavier taxes on coffee, which lead to coffee smuggling and these bean babies went underground. With secret coffee shops in hidden corners of cities, the Swedish became hitched to coffee. It became an ingrained part of them. They wanted someone to build this as a culture. And hence, enter King Gustav III, from where things got creative and interesting. After several attempts of brainwashing his people against the contents of coffee, failures of PR campaigns downgrading the effects of coffee, the swedes just did not let go. He even ran an experiment where he picked twin brothers (criminals) and tried to prove the harmful effects of coffee. He fed one brother with tea and the other with coffee, each thrice a day to prove that the coffee drinking criminal would die a caffeinated death rather faster than the tea drinking criminal. Not only did both of them survive the test, they also outlived the king (in fact, the coffee drinking criminal even outlived the tea drinker).

The ban on Fika was lifted in the mid-19th century when the youth was high on rage and caffeine. Ever since, coffee and Fika has taken over Sweden like a storm and is now a cool tag.

Let’s all raise a toast to the warrior that lies in the Swedish coffee (wink!).

If you head to Sweden, DO NOT call Fika a coffee break. Just call it… Fika!

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Every day, I try to have a Fika. It helps to sit back on my chair and breath fresh air in the balcony and read a book or listen to music with my strong, dark coffee. That is my Fika!

What is yours?

 

I enjoyed writing this post. If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Tell me about your Fika experience in the comments below. I would love to read them <3

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Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover

The artists paradise – Stockholm

Are you headed to the Venice of the North? Read on to see things you absolutely cannot miss in Stockholm. (For the love of Art and Culture)

6 of my most exclusive Experiences in Stockholm!

6 most amazing things to experience in stockholm

Are you headed to the Venice of the North? Read on to see things you absolutely cannot miss in Stockholm.

It’s been about 2 months since my Scandinavian travel and I still cannot get enough of how beautiful the Northern part of Europe is. Yes you read that right. Scandinavia in the Winters (yep, I know your eyes are wide open in sheer surprise or shock :P). Experiencing a white winter was always on my list right from my years in the UK. Terrible luck as I’d call it, I spent 2 December’s in the UK and never saw a single snow flake (sigh!). But as crazy as it sounds, Scandinavian winters are insane only if you are an absolute winter lover. Peak winters, knee deep snow and below freezing temperatures, Scandinavia is white heaven on earth.

Credits: Ola Ericson /www.stockholmsfoto.se

I started off with Stockholm or as they call it “The Venice of the North”. Almost a week in Stockholm, spending the whole of Christmas week there, I saw some incredible places and experienced some of the best Swedish traditions. Not to miss, the city that was lonely on Christmas eve (no body on the streets and most of the stores were shut), caught up to a running life soon after. Right from fancy museums to watching the gloomy sky change colors over all of Stockholm, I had some off the track experiences or what I’d rather call as “The Artists Galore”. Think of it! If you just end up visiting the main streets of the city or the headlined museums or touristy spots what new have you done? It would feel like ‘just another European city’ with nothing different to mark. I am among the ones to learn of the history of a place and watch out for the rarer experiences. After all travel is about indulging in newer experiences! Delve a little deeper and you’ll find each city has a soul of its own.

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If you are especially an art lover, I’d suggest DO NOT miss this list!

HERE WE GO!

1. Fotografiska: The artist living in abundance

Credits: www.svt.se

Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 145 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

Often referred to as the “Photography museum” in Stockholm, this place has photography exhibitions on rotation. Every few weeks they showcase the most exclusive set of photographers across the world. I visited this museum in the 3rd week of December and experienced photography very unlike what we see every day. Watching works of photographers Nick Veasey, Chen Man and Ida Borg, I couldn’t believe photography of such kind even existed. These photographers are the epitome of creative photography.

I am dedicating an entire blog to my most favorite museum (Fotografiska) soon! Stay tuned.

2. Get moving on the waters – Winter Archipelago boat tour.

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Open: All Seasons (Kindly check site for Christmas/eve)

Entry fee: 295 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

The city of Stockholm is virtually surrounded by 14 islands. The reason why its called the “Venice of the North”. Boat tours in summer ring a bell to beachy outfits, free flowing gowns and some ice popsicles. But I visited Stockholm in dead peak winters and wasn’t too sure of how a boat tour would turn out be on semi-frozen land (lol). Alas, I fell in love with city even more. There is just something fulfilling about heaters and socks and mufflers combined with gloomy views on the outside and a really hot cup of dark chocolate wrapped by your fingers.

Was it freezing outside? Hell ya-ha! I did a 3 hour Archipelago ride. It was big boat beautifully decorated with all things Christmas. Tiny reindeer pelts hanging on each window, small Santa’s kept on the corners of the boat. Everything was red and oh so beautiful.

Do this tour and get in tune with the historical grounds of the Archipelago.

3. Travel back in time – Skansen

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Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 180 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass)

This beautiful open air museum located in the Island of Djurgården is about 15 minutes by bus or tram from the city center. Relive the 19th century Swedish lifestyle here. It consists of 150 homes and farms. The employees in Skansen play roles of people from the past explaining Swedish art, craft and culture.

4. 360 degree view – Ericsson Globe

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Open: All seasons

Entry fee: 150 SEK (Free on Stockholm pass before 12pm)

This beautiful structure – The Globen Skyview – gives you an unobstructed view of all of southern Stockholm. The Globen is Sweden’s national arena and the largest hemispherical building in the world. The building has 2 spherical gondolas that take you up to the top of the building which is the view point in about 30 minutes of riding time. Secret tip – carry a wide lens or a go-pro for this place 😉

5. Because you never say no to coffee – FIKA!

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Not many people know about this beautiful Swedish tradition. Fika is the art of taking a coffee break. Sounds too mundane? Its significance is much more than that. Fika is the art of meeting your loved ones over a coffee break with sweet conversations and cake or a pastry. But Fika is more than just coffee. In fact its almost offensive to call traditional Fika JUST a ‘coffee-break’. It is more of a Swedish obsession. Sweden is one of the highest coffee-consuming countries in the world. So coffee here is more like a lifestyle in itself.

Being a coffee-addict myself, you can only imagine my obsession in learning what Fika really is all about. I am going to write an entire article on Fika. Stay tuned!

6. Art at its best – Stockholm Underground

Stockholm-Stadion-Underground-Station

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Once again for the art lovers of all kinds, I’d recommend you carry a good camera so you can get some lovely shots of Stockholm’s underground rail. Trust me when I say, the art under here is fantastic.

Stockholm metro was opened in 1950. Right from beginning, a group of local artists have been involved through the construction process. The Swedes wanted travel to be an experience and not just a mode of commute even for the locals.

Around 150 odd artists have contributed to the art of Sweden’s underground metro. It is more like a permanent art exhibition down there. Sculptures, mosaics, paintings, gardens etc. are some of the highlights of the metro. Look out for T-centralan for some fancy deep blue under water feels; Kungsträdgården for some ancient sculptures, dungee cave feels; Rådhuset (court house) for some natural cave and lava colors; Solna centrum for a feel of walking straight into the colors of the burning sun.

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Stockholm really surprised me. I knew I would love it but I had no idea how much I’d fall in love with it. This was just winters, my eyes would sparkle with bliss with Scandinavian summers. There is so much more to Stockholm when you put on your traveler shoes and dirty your shoe laces a little, walk around the city and explore parts like no one else can explain. After all, each traveler has his own eyes, a different perspective and an urge to explore like no other. I cannot wait to come back here with lesser layers on me 😛

Have you been to Stockholm? What did you like best?

I enjoyed writing this post. If there is something in specific you would want to know about Stockholm or want me to write about, mention in the comments below and I will get back ASAP. Got any other amazing must-do must-see option in Stockholm? Share me the link and I will read it up too 🙂

If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it!

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Want to know why I write What I write? Follow me on Instagram to see a different side of me altogether ❤

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Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover