Friday, 22 August 2014

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing… Rutger Ahlerup

Our latest guest blogger, Rutger Ahlerup, reflects on his home city of Stockholm and fills us in on the things to do if you want to go from being a visitor to a local.

Image Source: Creative Common/Michael Caven
Sweden is an exciting destination for any tourist, with a capital that is often considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are popular tourist attractions a plenty, and these are all worth a visit, but there is also a lot more to do. As a born and bred man of Stockholm, I take a bit of a deeper look into what local life would look like for an expat living there.  
A big part of being an expat is about having opportunity to go beyond the tourist traps and really get to know a new place. Having the time to experience cities during low season and finding the local hideouts, not written about online or in the tourist guides, is key to the expat experience. Here are some tips to get you started finding the hidden gems of Stockholm.

      Sodermalm (Södermalm) is currently the “hippest” part of Stockholm where both parks and night clubs can be found. Don’t be afraid to turn down a small alley, because it is by doing this that you find places like Montelius Road. A view over almost half of Stockholm appears as you descend this path, and it is a popular place for locals to come and watch the sunset.  

Image Source: Creative Commons/Kurt Qvist    
Djurgarden (Djurgården) is an enormous park in the central of Stockholm, and is not only ideal for walks on a sunny Sunday, but also has amusements parks and an open air museum. Large numbers of tourists go here each year to visit the attractions, but a few minutes away, and you find green open fields that are ideal for having a picnic, or playing a game of kubb.

Image Source: Creative Common/Ulf Bodin
Sweden has always been a country of many flavours. After WW2, people from all over the world moved to the country, and as a result the food culture has developed to become truly diverse and international. In recent years the culinary scene has flourished and one-off restaurants have popped up all over the country. Here are three places where the locals go to eat.

1.       BarBro – Located on Sodermalm under a bridge, this restaurant might be hard to find without directions, but trust me, it is worth it. Here, you can experience Asian food done in a whole new way and even head one floor down to enjoy your meal in the restaurant’s own movie salon!

2.       Sturehof – In the middle of busy, central Stockholm, right at the door step of the fashion boutiques, lies Sturehof. Opened in 1897, Sturehof has built its reputation on its brilliant sea-food menu, but also offers a grade A steak. This restaurant is a bit on the pricey side, but is really special – so try to head there at least once if you can.

3.       Calexicos - Also found on Sodermalm, this is Mexican food at its best. The affordable menu means you can indulge in a few more margaritas and tequilas, and if you decide to extend the night, you needn’t go far as there is a nightclub right next door. 

Must dos
Even though some of these are the most famous tourist attractions, you do really have to tick these off to be able to call yourself a local. 

Explore the Royal Palace
Visit the Natural History Museum and the Nobel  Museum
Take a boat tour
Visit the old town
Channel your inner ‘dancing queen’ at the ABBA Museum

Are you an expat in Stockholm? Tweet us what you discovered at @expatexplorer
About the author
Rutger Ahlerup is currently living in London but is originally from Stockholm, Sweden. He has previously lived in Salt Lake City and has traveled all over the world. In his free time he enjoys skiing and other outdoors activities, and he always tries to visit one sporting event at each place he travels.

The content of this post is the opinion of the guest blogger and not of HSBC. We cannot check and verify any information contained in the blog post, nor accept any responsibility for it

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