Thursday, April 03, 2008

Discover Sweden – Welcome to My Home Country

The cliché “something for everyone” takes on new meaning in Stockholm this year. With the launch of the “Discover Sweden – Welcome to My Home Country” campaign there are more reasons than ever to head for this Nordic beauty. Travelers with heart ache in mind are as easily embraced as those with visions of romantic escapades. Here gay pride is celebrated along with family values. And ecological havens lock step with revitalized parts of the city.

Stockholm’s exploding culinary scene has reached sublime heights on the food lover’s list of places to see, be seen and eat. The tone White Guide, which is the Michelin equivalent in Sweden, just announced that six restaurants – all in Stockholm – earned "international master class" status. Within that prestigious group Esperanto was best for food and Lux Stockholm was rated best overall dining experience. Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren located in the stately Grand Hotel as well as the Restaurant Leijontornet in the gracious Victory Hotel located in Gamle Stan, Stockholm’s charming Old Town were also awarded Michelin stars making seven Stockholm restaurants with Michelin Guide stars including the two star Edsbacka Krog. For a good showing next year all eyes are on the new Aquavit Grill & Raw Bar, the “fun” counterpart to its sister establishment Aquavit which has served New Yorkers the very best in Swedish cuisine since 1987.
Only in Stockholm
An evening at the opera in a UNESCO WORLD heritage theater that uses 200 year old stage machinery and scenic sets is among many uniquely Stockholm happenings. The Drottningholm Slottsteater opera season runs end May until August and will present three works by Haydn, Monteverdi and Florian Gassman. If the pop group Abba best defines your musical interests then you’d better hurry. Tickets for the June 2009 opening of the Abba Museum are in great demand.
Swedes keep making up more reasons for you to come to Stockholm. And one of them is to divest yourself of heartache. Those in the know will find consolence and catharsis at the Museum of Broken Relationships. You can share stories of the love lorn and perhaps add vignettes from your own life to this therapeutic, interactive collection at Edsvik Art Hall from April 26, 2008.  For a quick fix there’s also a cyber version available
New developments
Although Stockholm is a city with 14 islands criss crossed by bridges and is surrounded by elk-roaming forests with fresh water, it is also a growing city. Coming on line in 2012 is a new a large-scale shopping, hotel, residential, entertainment project planned for a former industrial area in north Stockholm. The most prominent feature, and a compliment to the Globe Arena in the south, will be the Solna Arena, a megalithic sports/ entertainment complex that can host sailing, sporting and other events. There will be easy rail connections to city center. The groundbreaking for Arenastaden (Arena city) will commence this fall.
And Sweden’s capital will be all the more accessible to travelers from the USA when Delta initiates direct flights from Atlanta to Stockholm starting April 6.
The more you know about the capital the more reasons there are to go there. And the “Discover Sweden – Welcome to My Home Country" web site, launched in February, offers a cache of great news about the country’s people, culture and history. It also makes trip planning to Sweden a cinch.
Upcoming events in Stockholm include EuroPride 2008 from July 25-August 3, 2008 when will turn Stockholm all colors of the rainbow to celebrate the lives of homosexuals, bisexual and transgender people. This year families with children will flock to the Gröna Lund amusement park on Djurgården, which celebrates its 125th anniversary with new attractions and the retro futuristic Jetgatan area that compliments the classic Tivoli-like older part of the park. Opening date is April 26.

Affordable Stockholm
What can you do in Stockholm when you are traveling on a limited budget? For the “Top Ten” ideas --such as putting on your smartest outfit and heading for Café Opera Veranda “during spring they will invite some of Sweden’s best artists to perform unplugged” -- log onto Stockholmtown blogg. The blogger is in the tourist industry and blogs about the city she/he loves.

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