Just like back in June, we had another opportunity to hitch a ride on a C-17 and fly to Örebro, Sweden – this time over the New Year! We couldn’t pass it up. The town is so darling, and we wanted to see it all decorated in sparkly holiday flair.
When we arrived – along with two other families – we left our things in the hotel and set out on a windy day to take a walk around the square and castle area. Antique cannons never get old! We realized quickly a lot of things were going to be closed as we were visiting during the New Year holiday, so we managed to see what we could before things closed down!
There’s always something to see in the square. It was very chilly on our first day, and the kids preferred to play games in their rooms instead of exploring too much. But we did manage to get to the famous candy shop and take a walk through the grocery store…
Only in Sweden (or places like it) can you find a kid’s play area and beautiful cafe with cozy seating area just outside of the grocery store. We went to grab a delicious selection of salad bar and savory pastry items for dinner (the cheapest way to eat in Scandinavia) and we sat down at these cute tables to eat while the kids played in the play area. It is so family friendly here!
The next day the kids were VERY excited to walk to the jungle-themed thermal water park, about one mile from where we were staying. We sang songs and stopped at every single statue for a photo op along the way!
Gustavsvik is a terrific water park – most notably for their extensive slide network and wild interior theme. The kids had such a blast – as did the moms! We managed to try out every slide (with minimal bumps and bruises) and the kids ran around for several hours without even asking for snacks! WIN! I was amazed that there were only 3 lifeguards in the entire place, and none of the slides had anyone supervising them. There really weren’t much more than recommendations for who could use the slides, either. What I gathered is that Sweden trusts its people. Basically, the understanding is, “if you can swim and like slides, go for it! Be safe!”
After swimming we took a little walk to the castle for a proper Swedish “Fika.”
“Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude and an important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for fika every day. It means making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat.”Swedishfood.com
We enjoyed our time at the castle with a little taste test of their sweets before dinner. Although we may not have mastered the art of the Fika yet (we still had our slightly rushed American energy, shooing and hearding kids around), we came to appreciate the delicious sweet options all the cafes offered for the fika-friendly folks in Örebro!
We took in a movie together at the little theater – Jumanji II was a huge hit! Hilarious!
The next day was gorgeous! The dads took the kids to the playground so the moms could hop around from (closed) store to (closed) shop. HA! We stocked up on a few things at the grocery store and then headed to the little coffee shop to enjoy lattes, bagels and smoothie bowls. Soooo good. Everything just tastes cleaner and fresher in Sweden! When the kids and dads were done at the park, they joined us at the coffee shop and then we split up and went to different restaurants depending on what the kids wanted to eat – tacos, burgers or sushi!
We were so far north that the sun rose at 9 AM and the sun set at 3 PM! There may have been short days, but the sun rises and sunsets were brilliant to see!
As there weren’t many restaurants open for New Year’s Eve, we managed to score a reservation at an Indian restaurant that was positively delicious (albeit expensive)! On the way back we snagged family photos in front of the lit up statue on the square. A rare thing for big families! We headed back to the hotel to play games and let the kids get rowdy before heading back out for firework festivities. It was worth the long wait! This was the first time our whole family was able to stay up late enough to ring in the New Year together … and see the fireworks! Simply beautiful!
A quick three nights later and we were heading back home to Hungary on daddy’s plane. What a great group of kids and an awesome crew to manage it all. Thanks for another fun tagalong time!