Swedish travel tips for President Obama

August 7, 2013
Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix AFP/Getty Images
Bag with logo of the famous Swedish pop group ABBA. (Jonas Ekstromer/ScanpixAFP/Getty Images)

President Obama, not feeling too kindly toward Soviet –oops –  Russian former KGB operative Vladimir Putin these days, said Wednesday he’s going to Stockholm instead of Moscow for a couple of days  before the annual G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg in September.

The two cities are a bit different. For one thing, Stockholm lacks  Moscow’s nightlife, hookers and  mobsters  – so the Secret Service detail might be a bit bored.

But there’s plenty to do in swinging Stockholm. First, August is crayfish season, which is celebrated with lots of parties. (Surely they’ll party  into early September.)

There’s the Vasa Museum, housing the only almost fully intact 17th century warship that has ever been salvaged. The fearsome 64-gun ship sank on its maiden voyage (sounds like a design flaw somewhere) in Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961.

There’s also the Nobel Museum in the old city, where Obama might stop by to see if they have an exhibit on his getting the prize — back in pre-drone days.

For dinner, there’s Gastrologik, a very fine restaurant where Hillary dined on one trip there last year. It boasts “highly refined Nordic food.”

But the one thing not to miss is the spectacular Swedish delicacy, fermented herring. It’s pretty potent — apparently some apartment buildings forbid opening a can of it indoors because of the stench. It’s eaten on flat bread with lots of chopped onion to mask the odor. Then you swig some aquavit to wash it down and sing Swedish drinking songs. Absolutely not to be missed.

On the other hand, if Obama really wants to stick it to President Putin, he might head over to one of the Baltic nations long oppressed by the Soviets or, better yet, head to Tbilisi, Georgia, where they truly despise the Russians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Emily Heil | August 7, 2013