In two weeks, my family and I are heading out on what we call Nordex, a wee expedition to explore – in winter – the capital cities of Earth’s five Nordic Nations: Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
The stage is set. Our journey starts with easy flights: Icelandair will take us to Reykjavik for a couple days, before taking us on to Oslo. From there we will take trains and and a boat to visit Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki, spending 4-5 days in each city.
The details are emerging. Our objective is to capture the experience of Nordic city life in winter. We don’t have a lot of time to spend in each place, so where we do spend our time matters. In choosing our accommodation, we are choosing our neighbourhoods carefully, to get a sense of the place and what life is like. This can not be done in hotels. Enter Airbnb.
Here’s how our trip is shaping up:
In Reykjavik, Siggi is hosting us in her downtown apartment, near the Hallgrimskirkja church. We are in walking distance of all we need, but will likely rent a car on day 2 to explore further afield.
We will spend the shortest day of the year in Oslo. Line is hosting us in her apartment located in an old factory building a 5 min walk from Grunerlokka, a former rundown industrial district, now a vibrant arty neighbourhood, according to The Guardian. We will have excellent public transport to Oslo (13 min to city centre).
On Christmas Eve, we will arrive in Copenhagen. Michael, Rikke and baby Vilfred welcome us to their apartment in Frederiksberg, before heading off for their family celebration. Frederiksberg is a municipality surrounded by the City of Copenhagen, one of many municipalities in Denmark’s Capital City Region. The physical layout of Frederiksberg is different than the rest of Copenhagen – more parks, larger villas and wider streets.
We will spend New Year’s in Stockholm, in Astrid’s apartment that overlooks the Sofia Church in the Sodermalm neighbourhood. We will be in “SoFo”, a neighbourhood full of eclectic shops, fashion and design stores, art galleries and good food.
For my birthday, we will be in the Kallio neighbourhood in Helsinki, an old labour district, where Ollie and Sarah are hosting us in their funky 1930’s apartment full of vintage Nordic design furniture. Helsinki’s traditional market square is across the street.
We’re set for an adventure, to explore the city from the inside out.