IKEA, Copenhagen, Absolut, Kalmar Castle & a Scenic Drive through Sweden

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What a whirlwind couple days it has been. Similar to last year’s adventure the perks of renting a car paid off as I was able to see the interior of Sweden, not just the highlights.

Time behind the wheel of my rented Volvo was peaceful and perfect for enjoying the quaint countryside, bridges and cities I wouldn’t have had a chance to see if I had taken the rail or commuter plane. I am one of the few I think that enjoys driving in foreign countries, from the Bahamas to a France, I cherish the opportunities to get off the freeways and explore the less touristy side of countries.

On route to the IKEA Museum I stumbled upon this beautiful church in Hallaryd, Sweden.

To say the IKEA Museum was interesting would be an understatement. A store full of furniture and home decor is filled with history many are unaware of. To begin the name is a combination of the founders initials,of the founder’s name and hometown Ingvar Kamprad and Elmtaryd Agunnard. Groundbreaking back in the 1950s he wanted to produce and sell readily available furniture to the masses, unlike the catalogs of the day he wanted his products and brand to be of quality and affordable. Throughout the year, the company has enlisted various designers to take the concept of everyday pieces and create domestic works of art with simplicity kept front of mind. It was truly an experience to walk through the history or a brand, built on a foundation of sustainability, quality and uniqueness. If anyone has ever been to an IKEA, each piece has a history worth looking up.

While having lunch at IKEA, I decided my afternoon would be spent in Copenhagen and I wasn’t disappointed. I originally thought it would be best to leave The Danish city for another trip, but I was just 2 hours away and couldn’t resist. Arriving in Copenhagen I had a couple sights I wanted to see in my quick jaunt so I quickly found parking and little to my awareness, I was on the outskirts of the Danish Royal Palace, Amalienborg, parked along consulates and embassies. With a quick walk, I was down on the waterside basking in the afternoon sun along the once bustling harbor the town derives it’s name from, translated it means Merchant’s Harbor.

Arriving at stop one was an interesting sort. Similar to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, the number of selfies tick welding tourist was almost more impressive than the stop itself. A statue was placed in remembrance of the fairytale written by Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson, The Little Mermaid, she has looked over this hair or for 105 years and is still a beautiful work of art today.

Den Lille Havfrue, The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Be it a short trip, I wanted one final stop, Nyhavn. A picturesque representation of a 17th Century canal harbor. Filled with colorful row-houses, restaurants and was once the residence of Hans Christian Anderson. It is one of the most recognizable places in Copenhagen and perfect for a quick picture and dinner.

Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen, Denmark

The next day I ventured to Åhus, where L.O. Smith built a worldwide brand known as Absolut Vodka, you may have heard of it. Although this may seem like any other distillery tour, just 2 weeks back I visited the Organic Ocean Vodka Tour, I was pleasantly surprised. Upon arriving for the English tour I met my partner guest, workers at the Absolut Factory who were just as excited to witness this audio/video rich experience outlining the progressive man and brand that we all have ordered at some point in our lives. Although the tour is still under construction our guide motioned through the Villa and Factory with ease.

Representation of L.O. Smith’s Office
The Journey of Absolut
Main Distillery

Had to pick up the local edition bottle!
Time to mix it up, a Cosmo that is!,
Skål, Cheers in Swedish!

The final stop on our tour was a mixology course on the drink that landed zabsolute in the glasses of many Americans, the Cosmopolitan! What a way to build brand loyalty!

My final stop before returning to Stockholm was Kalmar and the Kalmar Castle. Beginning its journey in 1180, this Renaissance fortress has been standing on the shores of the Baltic Sea. It has sheltered the Royal Family from the Black Plague’s run through Stockholm to the unification of Sweden, Norway and Denmark under the Kalmar Union.

Vasa Crest

The drive back to Stockholm was filled with more twist and turns and a single lane road or two. Even some animals made an appearance on my vacation!

Stay tuned, stay curious!

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