Fika: the Swedish (and Finnish) concept of having coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate, or lemonade) and probably a pastry or two. To be completed any time of day. Possibly more than once. Can be used as a noun or a verb. As in, “would you like to go out for fika?” Or just, “let’s go fika!”
This has been on my list of things-to-look-forward-to pretty much since I started planning the trip and learned this was a thing. It started with a post about Swedish cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar), then the ordering of a cookbook devoted exclusively to fika, and it pretty much snowballed from there.
I resisted the fika temptation after dinner last night – but only because I’d been up for roughly 36 hours and needed to get some glorious, glorious sleep. We left Spartanburg at 2:30 pm on Thursday, arrived in Stockholm at 2:10 pm on Friday, and by the time we finished our group dinner around 8:00 pm, I was done.
But both Beate and I were on a mission today, and I regret nothing about my exclusively fika lunch (pictured above). The cinnamon roll was delicious, the chocolate cake outstanding, and the saffron bun I got after polishing off the first plateful was yummy, too. I’ll admit, I did have a pretty intense sugar crash during our tour of the Royal Palace later that afternoon, but once you’ve seen a few European palaces, you’ve seen them all (no offense, Sweden).
We obtained our marvelous fika at a cute little shop in the outdoor museum and sort of historical theme park: Skansen. Think Colonial Williamsburg. It’s got a blacksmith shop, a glassblowing shop, a zoo, a huge assortment of historical buildings… almost none of which I actually got to see because a) we didn’t have much time, b) it was a balmy 25°F today, and c) obviously, fika was the priority.
We did get to see the reindeer, though!
So I’m chalking that up as two wins instead of a loss. But if Beate and I do this trip again, we’ll definitely spend more time here. 2 hours was woefully insufficient.
Skansen came after a similarly abbreviated trip to the Vasa Museum – an establishment devoted to a 17th century warship that sank on its maiden voyage and has been meticulously restored. We had barely enough time to walk briskly through all five floors and get pictures of the ship from the multitude of angles before it was time to leave.
So the big lessons from today are: fika is the best, reindeer are adorable, and although it’s probably better to err on the side of not enough time than too much, Vasa and Skansen definitely warrant a half-day each.