Stockholm, Sweden - By Caitlin
Stockholm was our first European stop and we included it mainly because a high school friend of mine, Ben, and his fiance Val, have been living there for the last two years. We were fortunate enough to benefit from their Stockholm tips and tricks and we had a blast reminiscing and learning about life in Sweden. Stockholm is a city of islands connected by bridges and scattered with beautiful parks. I started to wonder if “picnic” was a Swedish word because everyone seemed to be enjoying wine and snacks in the parks on blankets. We did our best Swedish impression and had a picnic ourselves (i.e. an American cookout) with Ben and Val and a few others. They introduced us to a Swedish game, Kuub, played on the lawn, and is like bowling or cornhole, but much more complicated (those Swedes are sophisticated right down to their lawn games!).
Copenhagen, Denmark - By Jed
While the “Little Mermaid” statute, one of Copenhagen's most well-known tourist attractions still disappointed 5 years later (it is literally smaller than I am), I really enjoyed the rest Copenhagen had to offer. There were some of the old favorites, including Nyhavn (a picturesque street by the port with multi-colored, historic houses), Stroget (the pedestrian only shopping street) and Christiana (a weird, squatter-run section of town that has declared itself an independent land). There were also some new areas that I had not been to in the past, such as a very cool 17h century church (Church of our Saviour) which has a spiral staircase on the outside of its towering steeple, and the lovely Norreboro neighborhood by the water.
We were also treated to a lovely evening and home-cooked meal from my local Danish friend, Gunilla and her family. It was amazing to get a home-cooked meal, as it had been many months. It's really nice to get a true local taste of a country and have a more authentic local experience. I hope we can get to do more authentic experiences like this on the rest of our travels.