Holidays in Sweden

Ambassador Brzezinski on his skates in Kungsträdgården

My wife, daughter and I celebrated the holidays this year in Stockholm.  It was a lovely, low key time with family, a glorious moment of relaxation where we were able to focus on each other and explore this city aglow with Christmas lights.

One of our first stops was going to see the wonderful window displays in the front of the NK Store – our daughter got a particular kick out of Santa on a bicycle, the wily octopus and grinning Snowman. After this visit, we could not stop her from squealing “Jingle Bells” at the top of her lungs and endlessly asking questions about Santa and his funny hat.  Even better, she’s beginning to pick up a bit of Swedish, yelling out every once in a while “Hej då Mommy” and “Hej då Daddy.”

The highlight for me was the morning my wife and I went ice skating at Kungsträdgården, at a public rink in the center of the city.  There is something so relaxing skating around the rink, dodging laughing children and aspiring hockey stars, and just getting into your own world. Skating hand in hand with my wife and watching her do her impressive skating tricks put a huge smile on my face for the rest of the weekend.


We also took our daughter to the historic Vasa Museum, a maritime museum in Stockholm, located on the island of Djurgården.  The museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged; the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.  The Vasa Museum is reportedly the most visited museum in Scandinavia, but the day we visited it attendance was sparse. The magnitude of the ship cast eery shadows across the large space, and one could not help imagining it filled with people laboring on its sails, manning its oars, more than 400 hundred years before us.  Our daughter had a wonderful time running round and round a replica of the ship’s mast, chasing other little toddlers and playing peek-a-boo with me.

Whether it was peeping into toy shops in Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town) or pushing my daughter down the wide avenues on Strandvägen, this weekend Stockholm really began to feel like home.