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Sweden

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UTTER INN- Lake Mälaren, Sweden
When you’re told “yes, it’s the red house, the red house in the middle of the water” upon asking for directions to your hotel, you become curious if not a tad anxious as well. When the words that follow are akin to “someone will pick you up in an inflatable boat and give you all the instructions you need before leaving you alone”, you get nervous but fear not, as Utter Inn is perhaps one of the most peaceful spots in all of Sweden.

Getting there though is just a slight mission. Utter Inn is the vision realized by local Swedish artist Mikael Genberg who’s created a half-above/half-below paradise in the form of a single room that lies under the surface of Lake Mälaren. Accommodations are Spartan, limited to 2 twin beds and a small table, but with panoramic windows encircling the room. You’re indeed in your own fishbowl here, where underwater creatures peek curiously at you while you dine in the comfort of your own pod-like space (be sure to purchase the DeLuxe package so that your dinner is delivered fresh by boat in the evening).

If you’re finding that the cabin fever is setting in far too much, head to the surface where you’ve got access to the inflatable canoe to go exploring the surrounding islands and in the summer, there’s no better spot to catch a tan than on the small deck surrounding the little red house that becomes your own private island if only for a night.

EXPLORATEUR EXCLUSIVE- Basket full of Swedish goodies from Daim chocolates to Lingonberries to get you prepped for your journey. Click HERE for more information and as always, be sure & tell 'em The Explorateur sent you!

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STUNNING STOCKHOLM
Välkomna till Sverige! Or shall we say, welcome to Sweden! For sun lovers, late October may not be the most ideal time to visit this stunning Scandinavian country. However, it seems no matter what time of year you decide to venture here, Stockholm and those who call it home, are sure to offer a warm welcome and an adventure around every corner.

Since there was so much to see and do in this bustling city – we decided the key to a successful holiday would first begin with location, location, location! The chic’ and contemporary Hotel Birger Jarl offers just that and more. It is true, there are plenty of hotels dotted along the waterfront, adjacent to most of the tourist attractions. However, proximity usually comes at a price folks. That’s why we found the Hotel Birger Jarl the best fit offering an ideal setting with easy access to all of Stockholm combined with exceptional value. The hotel, named after Stockholm’s founding father, is situated in the Stureplan, Jarlaplan and Odin triangle-the heart of the city. Birger Jarl is just minutes from museums, the Stockholm Observatory and the Royal Swedish Opera. For those looking to explore the Old Town or perhaps take one of the numerous boat tours, just hop a quick taxi ride or go by train or bus down to the waterfront. The hotel also includes a complimentary full traditional American or Swedish breakfast and guests receive free wi-fi and use of the business centre as well.

Looking for a great meal? No problem. The property offers its own posh and oh-so-European restaurant and Lobby Bar as well. There is also a plethora of restaurants nearby all within easy walking distance offering Irish, Asian, Italian and, of course, Swedish cuisine. Anything and everything is at your fingertips just steps from the hotel.

Where to go? What to see? Where do we start? There are many sites we enjoyed in Stockholm, including the spectacular Vasa Museum. Established in 1990, the Vasa is probably one of Stockholm’s most popular tourist attractions, showcasing the splendor of the world’s only intact 17th century war ship. Vasa’s history is almost as shocking as her breathtaking beauty. During her maiden voyage, the ship sank less than one mile from port during a highly anticipated and publicized inaugural debut. The ship was excavated in 1961 after 33 years under the sea and only 5% of the original vessel was in need of reconstruction. She now sits on display at the Vasa Museum, visited by nearly 80,000 visitors a year. It almost seems Vasa found more accomplishment after her “death” than she did in “life.” NB- Word of warning. The ship is nearly impossible to catch on film for the novice photographer. You are better off visiting the gift shop and purchasing a postcard.

During our short stay in Stockholm we also wanted to get a taste of its 24000 islands that make up the archipelago. What better way then one of the city’s famous boat tours! Late Sunday morning we took a quick taxi ride down to the waterfront and boarded the S.S. Stockholm for our three hour tour. The brunch cruise is the perfect way to sit back, relax and enjoy the natural beauty that abounds in this area. Along the way to Vaxholm, you will see the unique traditional Swedish homes and villages dotted throughout the islands. There isn’t much to do on the tour, other than take in the picturesque views and sea air but it is a great way to unwind at the end of a trip. So, whether you venture out on a historic Ghost Walk tour, take a visit to the Medieval Museum or simply have a seat on the docks and enjoy the views, this stunning city, is sure to deliver an experience of a lifetime. Så lång från Sverige!

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