2019 was a busy travel year for me! I was lucky enough to visit amazing new places and return to a couple of my favorite cities. As potentially my last full year abroad, I wanted to make the most of my time in Europe and I definitely accomplished that goal this year.
I tried to be as present in the moment as I could; mindfulness has always been a struggle for me–I’m always on to the next thing–but I am getting better at taking time to enjoy just being here.
In Classic Ashlyn style, I wanted my travel post to include all my favorites: new and old places, landscapes wandered, and the best libraries I visited in 2019. I also had AMAZING experiences including traveling in Warsaw during the 75th anniversary of the Uprising, petting reindeer above the Arctic Circle, and attending a World Cup match in Paris.
Here’s a (mostly photo) overview of AllTheThings2019: travel, libraries, sports, experiences, and of course, dogs.
Bran Castle, Romania:
Peleș Castle, Romania:
I’m so thankful for everything I had the opportunity to see and do last year.
Egészségedre to making 2020 all you hope it to be!
Currently: Listening Moon: The Original Soundtrack (Clint Mansell)
Stockholm ❤ I was only in Sweden’s capital city for roughly six hours–not nearly enough time–but thankful to spend a gorgeous day in the “Beauty on the Water”.
While in Örebro I took the train from the central station to Stockholm. Forever the thrifty person I am, I booked the two hour trip on the older train (about 30 Euro) and it was great option. Even the discounted train (as the lady who helped me said: “You know it’s the OLD one?”) was super clean and efficient. I caught up podcasts and finished Not that Bad by Roxane Gay, which was one the most powerful books I read in 2019.
My limited time in Stockholm meant I had to prioritize what I could visit–I felt a little piece of my heart break as I eliminated stops off my list–but I was able to see a good deal of the city and one of my absolute favorite places I’ve ever visited: Rosendals Trädgård.
This was also one of my first solo trips and it was fun traveling on my own. Picture a lot of intentional wandering, coffee stops, and as always, a long trek to the city library (because of course).
Stockholm is an incredible place with tons of beautiful architecture, history, and lovely green spaces. I’m so thankful to have spent the day here, especially during the summer, when the capital has up to 18 hours of sunlight per day.
Where are we?
The first inhabitants of the area that is present-day Stockholm moved here after the Ice Age (around 8,000 BC) and Old Town was constructed by the Vikings in 1000 CE. Founded across 14 islands, the city is connected by 57 bridges, earning the nickname “Beauty on the Water”; the name Stockholm is derived from the words stock (“log” in Swedish) and holm (meaning “islet” and most likely referring to Helgeandsholmen in central Stockholm).
After working for years in the sustainability field in Charleston, one of the most interesting parts of visiting Sweden (and especially Stockholm) was seeing sustainability practices in person (skip ahead to fika pictures if you don’t want to read my nerdy-sustainability ramblings).
Named the European Green Capital Award by the EU Commission in 2010, Stockholm has the distinction of being Europe’s first “green capital”. The landscape, location, and population growth of the city provides unique challenges to Sweden’s sustainability goals.
Known for its green spaces, which make up 30% of city’s area–the other thirds being urban and water–Stockholm utilizes a “community planning” system that:
“focuses on enhancing or altering the production and consumption of society that is normally left up to the market to determine. Planning is about formulating strategies to improve the quality of life for Swedes and the quality of the natural environment. Planning and environmental policies focus on this ‘dual’ purpose of urban development patterns and green space preservation–crafting guidelines and policies to ensure that humans are close to nature and that natural areas maintain their ecological functions.”
Nelson, Alyse. 2018. “Stockholm Sweden: City of Water.” Landscape Australia. Available here.
As a country, Sweden has committed to reduce GHG emission by 40% by 2020 and zero net GHG emissions by 2050. They also implemented the Swedish Environmental Code (1999) which:
“requires that an environmental impact assessment be carried out before permission can be given for an environmentally hazardous activity. This assessment takes into account the impact on people, animals, soil, water, air, the landscape, and the cultural environment.”
The Swedish Institute. 2018. “Sweden Tackles Climate Change.” Sweden Official Site. Available here.
My priorities included visiting the Old Town, Rosendals Trädgård, the Stockholm Public Library, and seeing the views from the water. While I had a small time-frame in Stockholm and chose to walk through the city, I’m sure you could hit more on your list by using public transportation (and a chance to see the world’s longest art gallery); I just love walking and enjoying new places on foot.
Old Town (Gamla stan):
Rosendals Garden (Rosendals Trädgård):
Walk through Djurgården:
Stockholm Public Library (Stockholms stadsbibliotek):
Drinks & Shops:
Forever packing my lunch:
Sara’s Art & Coffee:
Reading: Furious Hours:Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (Casey Cep) Watching: Succession Season 2 (HBO) Listening: The Provability Gap (NUT Radio)