IKEA!

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After living in Sweden for six years I finally, for the first time ever, went to an IKEA!

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I had no idea IKEA was so much fun! I did, although, know that Phong would be crazy entertaining wherever I happened to take him.

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Here he is trying out the stability of a bed for pull ups. He still talks about this bed, by the way.

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He leafed through magazines, lounged on couches and even tested every tablet he came across–just in case it actually worked.

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He spent a couple minutes tidying up the umbrellas. We were here for hours!

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Lunch time at IKEA! I had no idea how great this place was.

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Do all IKEA cafeterias have these adorable tray carts? I love them so much! We didn’t really need to take a cart, we were three adults, but come on!

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I also loved the conveyor belt that takes away your dishes! I wish my kitchen had one of these..

Phong and I are playing with the idea of an IKEA weekend, like a vacation, but we’ll go to IKEA instead of the beach or a cabin.

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Food Adventures in London

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Yo! Sushi. This is a chain of conveyor-belt sushi shops. We saw a bunch of them while walking around and finally stopped at one to scratch Linn’s sushi itch. I, unfortunately, do not like sushi. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty and tidy and I’d love to love it- but I don’t.

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Our hotel was in Earl’s Court and there was a bunch of restaurants (plus Earl’s Court Station) just around the corner. On our first night we were so hungry that we checked in, dropped off our stuff, and then picked the nearest open place we could find that looked good.

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Zizzi was a great pizza and pasta place in Earl’s Court. They had a huge pizza oven you could see and a bunch of different choices. I went adventurous and took a white pesto sauce pizza with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, spinach and sweet potato. I also tried a lemonade. It was tart. Very tart but very good.

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Mooboo! We tried bubble tea for the first time. Tapioca bubbles in fruity tea. The staff was super helpful and explained our choices and the difference between the kinds of bubbles.

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Linn liked it. I did not. Despite not liking it, I drank it all because, well, it had a straw and was cold and London has almost no trashcans.

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On our second night we were in Soho looking for a place called PingPong but ended up finding Masala Zone instead. There were a few vegetarian choices. I really wanted to get the paneer but it had a three chili rating that I was told by the waiter was serious and could not be altered so I decided not to tempt fate and picked a one chili dish instead. I was right to be careful. The one chili rated dish was a good level of spicy and I did not need spicier, not even for cheese.

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Linn got a mixed plate that looked really good. I was a bit jealous but mine was good too.

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For dessert we had chai teas. I haven’t really been a fan of chai in the past but this was really great.

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The next day we found PingPong in time for lunch! It was warm out and we were pretty excited to start off with iced teas.

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The baby bok choy was AMAZING. Everything was really good and the menu is set up so that you can order small amounts of multiple things in order to try a lot of different dishes.

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Mushroom stuffed bao and two different kinds of vegetarian dumplings! Of course they had lots of meat dishes too. I know Linn had as many dumplings/bao as I did but with meats. Clever, because then I couldn’t steal any of hers.

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This was probably our favorite restaurant of the trip. The others were all really good, we didn’t have any bad experiences with our food adventures, but this was just extra amazing. There’s a pretty good chance we’d come back again next time we’re in London.

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Last was Byron in Earl’s Court. We were wiped out and hungry after a full day running around London so we decided to go back to our hotel, drop off our stuff, and then try another place close by. This time we went for burgers.

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I had a mushroom burger. The patty was a grilled portobello mushroom with goats cheese, roasted red pepper, spinach and aioli sauce. I also had mac&cheese and fries. Linn had a cheese burger and sweet potato fries.

All of our food experiences were really good. There was always vegetarian options (and not just one) and we never ran into anything we didn’t want to finish.

Pictures of me were, of course, taken by Linn.

Our cafe experiences will be in another blog post, coming up soon!

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Drottningholm Castle – Stockholm

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Drottningholm castle! I had the pleasure of visiting this summer and it was lovely. Last summer I went to the Royal Castle in Stockholm, where the King works, this time we went to Drottningholm, where the Royal family lives. Of course, they only get to live in a portion of the castle because the rest is an amazing museum (super inexpensive to visit with English and Swedish tours) and they let you take pictures! But no flash. Don’t do it. They’ll get you.

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Grand is not quite a big enough word for the feeling of being inside these places. It’s so beautifully overboard. I always leave Stockholm wanting to paint my apartment gold.

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We went on the Swedish tour (because it has less people in it than the English tour) and learned all sorts of interesting things.

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Drottningholm is a little outside of Stockholm. We took the subway to a bus. It was about 45 minutes all together but it went really smoothly. In both of my experiences with Stockholm I’ve been crazy impressed with their public transportation. There’s a bus or train just about every five minutes. Subway stations are marked with a T, by the way. Think T for Train. It’s actually T for tunnelbanna (subway) but think T for Train. We bought 24hour cards so we could hop on any train or bus.

Of course it promptly started raining as soon as we got to the castle, so we ducked inside. By the time we could pry ourselves away from it to see the garden and the Chinese Pavilion, it was bright and shiny out again.

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I’m going to post pictures for Drottningholm (this post), the royal gardens and the Chinese Pavilion separately, but they’re all in the same location. There’s also a theater but we didn’t get a chance to see it.

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The royal library! This was, hands down, our favorite room. It was built by a very feisty queen and I have to admit, she won a lot of points with me for it. I’d almost be willing to ignore her attempted coup.

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We were told that most of the books are in French. This was one of the few rooms we couldn’t actually walk around inside. There was a glass partition about waist high to keep us out while still allowing us to take pictures and oogle. I think it might have been a spit-guard to keep our drool off the books.

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I want my apartment to have these crazy high doors and windows. And painted ceilings…

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And a chandelier. One day that’s going to happen. Just about every room we saw had a chandelier in it and I took pictures of all of them. There will be another post with just those, in case anyone else likes gushing over gaudy lighting as I do.

drottbanner3(Note to self: get a crest and have it sculpted into my ceiling.)

This castle was incredible. I would go again in a heartbeat and would certainly suggest it to anyone in Sweden. I know I’ve put up a number of pictures in this post, but it isn’t even close to as many as I took or how much we actually got to see.

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As usual, all pictures of me were taken by Linn. She is an amazing photographer and should not be held accountable for any faces I make in pictures. I can barely be held responsible for those.

Soon to come will be a post about the royal gardens!

-cheryl

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