Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Stockholm Pass: Day #3 (The Extra 1/2 Day)

I am referring to this as the "Extra 1/2 Day" rather than simply Day #3 because we were given a 48-hour pass.  To your average American, this means "2 Days."  In Sweden, they say 48 hours; they mean 48 hours!  So, technically, we had till 11 AM before our time would officially run out.  Seeing as how museums and various attractions typically open at 9 AM, it would seem that we'd only fit one attraction in...  Think again!


After eating breakfast at the hotel, we stopped by our favorite coffee and gelato shop, Morelli, for a coffee to go.  We then went straight to the waterfront where we could buy tickets for a boat tour. We knew we needed our passes to buy the tickets, but once we had those tickets, they would no longer need our passes.  So, we got in line for the ticket booth right before they opened, and purchased tickets for an afternoon boat tour.  With tickets in hand, we grabbed the hop-on-hop-off boat across the water to the Nordic Museum and were there by ten.  We used our pass to get in, and stayed for just under two hours.  The exhibits were quite remarkable, containing all things that I love: fashion, design, and theatrics.  They also had a special exhibit which was of extraordinary interest to me about the Lapps.  Also known as Sami, these people are the indigenous people of the far north, encompassing a small band of territory that includes Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.  The terms Lapp or Sami are shortened from the words that represent the geographical areas they come from: Sapmi or Lapland.  Indigenous cultures are near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons: I grew up steeped in Native American culture because of where I grew up; I am Scandinavian; and my partner is part Cherokee. Because of these interests, we spent a great deal of our time there.  Though I must say, I am a huge lover of Scandinavian design, with its sleek elegance and space-saving features, as well as theatre arts and fashion, all of which are represented incredibly well at the Nordic Museum.  Honestly, upon returning to Stockholm, I see myself carving out more time for this particular attraction.


We made it back just in time to catch our boat tour but had to splurge for lunch on board due to a simple lack of time between places (especially because we were taking public transit).  We took the "Under the Bridges of Stockholm" boat tour.  This one was entirely less classy than the last boat tour we took (Vaxholm/Archipelago).  The boat resembled the hop-on-hop-off boat in style only it had large tables that might seat 6-8 people and a snack bar in the back.  We were too hungry to wait two hours so we ended up grabbing some food at the snack bar.  Many people there had brought food on board, and this didn't seem to be a problem.  I would highly recommend bringing your food on board if possible because from my perspective, only really the beverages were a decent deal.  The food was terribly expensive, and the quality was mediocre at best.  The tour in and of itself was great though.  There was a headset that offered the description and history of each bridge, and several stories and funny little anecdotes that went along with it.  I would recommend this tour near lunchtime if you bring your own food, or with children, if you want to maximize your pass, but need to take a bit of a break with them.  I saw many sleeping children and relaxing parents on this tour.

It was 3:00 by the time this tour was finished, so we spent our afternoon window shopping a bit, and finally grabbed pizza before going back to the hotel.  I've always said, you can learn a lot about a place based on what the pizza is like (maybe that's just because many years ago, my partner used to run several pizza restaurants)...  Stockholm pizza is pretty good.  We ordered a cheese pizza with black olives.  We got back to the hotel only to realize that literally nothing had been cut up!  Olives were completely whole, and the pizza wasn't cut into slices.  Could be a problem if you are in a hotel room without any silverware (which we were)!  Thankfully, we always throw a wine key into our suitcase when we travel, so we used it to cut our pizza!  Once we finally got into that pizza, we discovered that Swedish pizza is definitely worth trying!

Budget Savers:

  • Hotel breakfast
  • Dinner: Pizza carry-out
  • Stockholm Pass:  bonus 1/2 day; Nordic Museum, Under the Stockholm Bridges tour, hop-on hop-off boat
  • Public Transit

Budget Splurges:

  • Lunch on the boat tour
For further reading, see also:

Monday, June 25, 2018

Stockholm Food Favorites

We might be best classified as "casual foodies" if there is such a thing, and that being said, I wanted to give you my list of favorite food and beverage experiences in Stockholm.  This list runs the gamut including everything from street food and coffee shops to trendy and classy establishments because as a traveler, I like to experience a wide variety on my travels.  Another point of honesty here, in my home life, I prefer a Vegan diet and will point out which places provide easy options for those with dietary restrictions.  That being said, I like to try new things when I travel, so not all places on my list are geared toward those with Vegetarian tendencies.

1.  Boulebar (Splurges; Good for Veg/GF/Meat)

If I had 24 hours in Stockholm, you'd find me at Boulebar.  This outdoor restaurant embodies everything that is beautiful about Swedish culture.  When the weather is nice you will find the Swedish outdoors, enjoying the day.  Boulebar provides a sophisticated and trendy albeit rustic parkside environment.  Edison light bulbs and greenery line the beams above the heads of folks gathering at long, wooden, communal tables.  Those preferring a more private experience will find the taller, wooden two-top tables more to their liking.  Boulebar has taken everyone into consideration offering options for those with gluten-free or vegan dietary restrictions, and meat-eaters alike.  "Veg," "Meat," and "Shrimp" are all clearly labeled on their menus, vegans and those with gluten-free restrictions will need to investigate a bit further for clarifications, though Boulebar falls into my "splurges" category, but is well worth the expenditure!
the menu seems very obviously accommodating.  This is the absolute perfect place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.


2.  Morelli (Savers; Good for Veg/GF/Meat)


This is a Gelateria and Espresso Bar is just off Fridhamsplan and is owned and operated by an Italian man that relocated to Stockholm.  We stopped in every morning to pick up a coffee to go, and by day number two, the owner knew our names and our order.  The gelato is made fresh by the owner who's so honest that he'll even tell you if there's a flavor that he wasn't pleased with when it came out.  There are a variety of flavors that are subject to change so you'll have to ask which ones are dairy free if you're vegan.  One day, I noticed that there were little leather bracelets with designs etched into them on the counter.  When I inquired about them, I learned that they were made by an artisan from his village in Italy.  They were the sort of thing I actually like to wear, so I picked them up as an inexpensive and practical souvenir.










3.  Hot Dog Cart (Savers; Good for Meat-Eaters)

This one is a budget saver that is mostly just for the meat-eaters.  Since I am more willing to experiment on vacations, I tried it when we were really hungry and didn't want to take time to sit down and eat somewhere.  This was a serious leap of faith on my part because with all do respect, I consider hot dogs to be pretty much the bottom of the barrel of carnivorous fare.  Well, perhaps it still is, but only in America because Stockholm, you changed my mind.  The hot dog carts in Stockholm are pretty much gourmet by American standards.  There are frequently up to five different varieties, made with high-quality meat (no strange animal parts).  They are also made from a variety of different types of meat.  While they are presented like hot dogs, perhaps it is more fair to consider them sausages.  If you are looking to cut some time and money corners, I highly recommend you try them at least once for lunch.




4.  Max (Savers; Good for Veg/GF/Meat)

For anyone lucky enough to have lived in or visited the Pacific NW, Max is sort of like the Burgerville of Sweden.  It also caters to dietary restrictions with very clearly labeled options for those preferring vegan or GF options (although they're slightly spendier).  It's a fast food joint, with high-quality standards.

5.  Espresso House (Savers; Good for Veg/GF/Meat)

If you need a break in the day, snack, or even lunch there is bound to be an Espresso House nearby.  They have nice, strong coffee, and a variety of tasty healthy food choices.  Additionally, once you know the wifi password, you can set your phone up to connect to the wifi whenever you are in range to another Espresso House.  That helped us retrieve directions using Google maps multiple times.


6.  Stockholm Fisk (Splurges; Good for GF/Meat)

Vegans, you might be able to find something, but I'm sure this won't be your first choice.  That being said, if there are any Pesca-tarians out there, this is a definite must-try!  Stockholm Fisk is an elegant environment, perfect for that date night you hope to have with your partner or the one meal you ask your family to "dress" for, although I don't want to give you the wrong impression.  While I wouldn't wear jeans and a t-shirt there if you spent your day out in khaki's or a sundress you'd likely be fine.  The seafood variety is impeccable, and I dare say that this is the one restaurant whose bread basket I won't refuse!

















7.  Hermitage (Savers; Good for Veg./GF)

This vegetarian restaurant is located in Gamla Stan and quite reminds me of a cafe I used to go to in Portland, Oregon.  It has a tiny, quaint coffee-shop feel, and a vegetarian buffet.  The price was reasonable (about $17 for dinner, less for lunch), and we could elect for a second helping if we so chose.  Occasionally, when traveling, I feel as though there are not enough whole foods in my diet, so a cafe like this one is a pleasant refueling.  I could see myself developing quite an addiction for their slightly spiced fresh bread, rosemary potatoes, and lentil soup.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Stockholm Pass: Day #2

After enjoying a traditional Scandinavian breakfast, we set out for the 2nd day of our Stockholm Pass.  Admittedly, we were making it our absolute mission to maximize the utility of our passes on that day.  We decided to start out by going to the attraction that was furthest away from us, and quite honestly, nowhere near any other attractions.  This attraction is known as "Skyview."


Skyview is an attraction that takes place at the Ericsson Globe, which boasts to be the largest sphere shaped building in the world, and really is something to see in its own right.  We arrived there, and quickly got our tickets.  To our dismay, we had to wait until noon for our turn in the Skypod.  Obviously, we had been unsuccessful in booking a time slot ahead of time, but you may want to investigate doing so if you decide to work this into your itinerary.  There happens to be a shopping mall adjoined to the Globe, so we decided to do a bit of window shopping while we waited.  Not only did we find the decanter of our dreams, but once in the Skypod, we gained access to the best view Stockholm has to offer.

Using public transit, we made our way to the meeting spot for a walking tour of Gamla Stan (Old Town).  We had a bit of time to wait, so we grabbed a beer and a table outdoors until it was time.  There happened to be plenty of options regarding outdoor food and beverages due to a cultural festival happening at that time.


The English version of the Gamla Stan Walking Tour was nothing short of amazing, especially if you're a great lover of history and culture.  We learned about the preservation of the buildings,  and which colors of paint reflect which eras in time.  Additionally, we learned of Stockholm having areas that were built upon garbage!  The tour ended in the square where the historic Stock Exchange building was located.  This square also contains the Nobel Museum and several restaurants, only one of which our tour guide said was "worth giving your money to..."  By this time it was around 3:00 in the afternoon; most museums close around 5:00.  So, despite our sore feet and pending hunger, we decided to quickly walk back a short distance to Kungliga Slottet (The Royal Palace).  Before entering the palace, we quickly grabbed a bite to eat from a food cart (you'll mostly find ice cream, sodas, and hot dogs although the quality difference compared to what we experience in the U.S. is night and day), just to enough to get by for the time being.

Kungliga Slottet  (The Royal Palace) is a remarkable experience, one that could take the better part of a day if you choose to do so.  If you don't have quite enough time to take in everything you desire, they will allow you re-entrance if you present a ticket purchased within the previous 7 days.  Also, they have storage lockers available, and a fairly useful flier that suggests what to do if you only have: 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3+ hours.  Within the palace lies a beautiful old chapel.  The Royal Chapel is the epitome of Scandinavian design.  It's serenity and beauty make it the perfect place to take a moment to meditate, pray, or otherwise stop to appreciate the splendor around you.  From there, we dashed into the Treasury for a peek at the monarchy's regalia including Gustav Vasa's sword of state and Erik XIV's crown.  From there, we spent the majority of our time remaining touring The Royal Apartments.  The Royal Apartments contain Guest Apartments, the Hall of State, and rooms of the Royal Order.  You can elect to do a guided tour, but in the interest of time, we toured this area on our own marveling at the amazing furniture, furnishings, and decor, which was clearly created by some of the best artists and craftsmen of the time.   We departed The Royal Palace at about 5:00 which is closing time during the summer months (winter times may vary, so check up on these details), and headed back to the square we were at during the Gamla Stan tour.  We stopped into the cafe recommended by the tour guide, Grillska Huset, for a beer and to rest our feet for about an hour.

After the break, we went to the Nobel Museum.  Admittedly, we did this mostly because it was right there, we could use our Stockholm Pass, and it was open that night until 8!  It really seemed to provide the most value for our dollar.  To our surprise, it turned out to be one of the most fascinating museums I had ever toured!  Apparently, there are many more displays than they're currently able to house due to a lack of space, and they will be moving to a larger venue in the next couple of years. We were able to catch the last English tour of the day, where we learned the history of the Nobel Prize, and of the mystery behind the fact that only one prize is awarded in Norway each year, and the rest are awarded in Sweden.  We also learned why it is near impossible to determine which country has had the most Nobel Prizes awarded.  Our fascination kept us there until 8 when the closed.

Finally, we made our way back to our hotel where we grabbed dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant called Gandhi.  It was reasonably priced for a sit-down meal, and we were entirely too tired to venture far away.  From there, we grabbed snacks at the grocery store and headed in for the evening.

What I'd Do Differently:
Not succeeding at booking the Skyview attraction for an earlier time slot ahead of time, I might have attempted it on our 3rd/Half Day of the pass because it is so far away from everything else.  That being said, I enjoyed the attraction and felt as though we really did get a lot of value out of the pass that day.  Additionally, it is worth noting that sometimes it's impossible to use a non-Scandinavian credit card to book things online.  This doesn't always happen, but it does at times.  In those cases, you can purchase them at the ticketing location. location.

Budget Savers:

  • 4 attractions using the Stockholm Pass: Skyview, Gamla Stan Walking Tour, The Royal Palace, and the Nobel Museum!  
  • Hotel Breakfast
  • Food Cart/Snacking for Lunch
  • Public Transit
  • Grocery Store for snacks 

Budget Splurges:

  • Sit-Down Dinner, although, it wasn't so expensive comparably.  Honestly, nothing on this day was terribly expensive.
For further reading, see also:

Monday, January 29, 2018

Top 7 Swedish Travel Hacks

If you are planning a trip to Sweden, here are my top tips for a smooth, economical trip.


1.  Free Lockers

I was pleasantly surprised that throughout Stockholm, free lockers appeared to be everywhere.  This certainly makes decision making a little easier in terms of whether or not to carry a daypack.  So, feel free to pack those snacks, cameras, and water bottles.  The museum or attraction you visit will most likely have a locker that you can stash them in for free!


2.  Debit/Credit Card Usage

I tried to book admission to one particular museum, and train tickets online and ran into difficulty.  It turns out that some (but not all) companies will not allow you to make purchases online using a non-Scandinavian issued debit or credit card.  So, if you seem to be unable to check out when purchasing some sort of fare online, that is likely the reason why.  Don't be too concerned though; you shouldn't have any problems taking care of these reservations and payments in person.  Additionally, be sure to know your PINN for any chipped cards you have to ensure smooth credit/debit card usage.

3.  24 Hour Transit Tickets

In the United States, we're accustomed to purchasing an "all day" fare on public transportation and having it run out at midnight.  This is not the case in Sweden.  A 24-hour ticket is exactly that!  In an age where time is money, this can save you both.  Side note: This same hack applies to the Stockholm Pass.  The number of hours listed on the pass genuinely reflect just that: the number of hours you can use it.


4.  Free Museums

There are many free museums in Stockholm.  So, if you have partial days or days without the Stockholm Pass, they don't have to be expensive to provide a rich cultural experience.  A visit to the local visitor's center will provide you with maps and lists of museums, attractions, and their associated fares.  You'll be surprised by how many of them are free.


5.  Alcohol

Alcohol is terribly expensive in Sweden.  So, if your tastes are somewhat eclectic, you will certainly save money by choosing beer over wine.  Wine is pretty much always imported and spendier, but there is a fair amount of beer that is made locally.  While it still isn't cheap, it is entirely less expensive than wine or other spirits.  Additionally, grocery stores sell beer relatively inexpensively.  So, you can always make a purchase for your hotel room.


6.  Cell Phone Charges

In order to avoid international charges on your cell phone (especially if you don't have an international plan), simply turn off your cell phone data.  This means you are only going to use your phone for internet purposes when you are able to connect to wifi in your hotel or another business.  Alternately, take a look at your roaming options and make sure that it is all turned off.

7.  Directions

Google is pretty amazing.  Even if you turn off your cell phone data, you can still use Google Maps to give you directions. Just pop into a local coffee shop for a beverage and hop on their wifi.  Once connected, you can initiate your route using the Google Maps App.  The app will continue to give you directions even when you become out of range of your wifi signal.  The app isn't entirely perfect, and occasionally makes mistakes, but for the most part, it works pretty well.

Are there any other Swedish travel hacks that you've tried and recommend?  If so, leave them in the comments below.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stockholm Pass: Day #1

After a relaxing and completely satisfying traditional Scandinavian breakfast in our hotel, we made our way on foot to City Hall to catch a Hop-on Hop-off bus.  In Stockholm, City Hall is one of the first stops on the route.  You should know that the Hop-on Hop-off buses don't start until 10 AM, and they are very full in the mornings.  From City Hall, you may still get a seat, but perhaps not from stops further down the line.  It is also worth mentioning that there are multiple companies that run Hop-on Hop-off buses, not all of which are usable with a Stockholm Pass. This can be fairly confusing.

We rode the bus to the Hop-on Hop-off boat dock, which is conveniently located right next to the tour, and proceeded to a Hop-on Hop-off boat to the Vasa Museum. The Vasa Museum is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Stockholm.  If I should visit Stockholm 12 more times in my life, I would still visit the Vasa each and every time.  It is truly special.  The Vasa Museum features an authentic Viking ship which set sail on August 10, 1628, and sank in the Stockholm harbor where it lived until 1961 when it was rescued from the sea after a 333-year slumber.  It was then reconstructed and preserved in this 6 level museum.  The Vasa is truly a mesmerizing mark of Viking grandeur and extraordinary craftsmanship.  We happen to arrive just before the start of one of several tours performed in English.
ticket booth for all of the boat tours.  We quickly acquired tickets for an afternoon

After the Vasa, we made our way to Junibacken, a children's museum just next door.  Those traveling with children will want to plan enough time to take advantage of their considerable offerings.  For us, it was a quick trip to see a childhood favorite:  the Pippi Longstocking exhibit.  The Pippi Longstocking exhibit is a complete reconstruction of her house from the beloved series.

At this point, we needed to make our way back to the area we had just come from so as to be on time for our boat tour.  The boat tours originate in the same area the tickets were purchased.  Unfortunately, taking the Hop-on Hop-off boat would take too long to cycle back to that stop, so we took the 7 tram (streetcar) back to the waterfront. Upon arrival, we realized we had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat and save ourselves some money on lunch by taking advantage of the outdoor dining kiosk right across the street from the ticket booth.  They serve modest fare: burgers, fries, ice cream, and the like.  While unexciting, we found it to be a quick and economical option.  Our priorities lie more in having a nice dinner as a splurge and saving
on breakfasts and lunches where possible.

There are a great number of boat tours in Stockholm.  They all vary in length, sights featured, and
amenities offered. We opted for the Archipelago Boat Tour to Vaxholm.  This is one of the lengthier tours, taking 3 hours to complete (1 1/2 hours in each direction).  The same basic tour exists under two names:  Vaxholm and Archipelago.   You can opt to get off at Vaxholm, and re-board later.  Many people like to make a day trip of it, go shopping, etc.  We opted to stay on board. This is a fairly classy cruise on a beautiful Yacht, where many other boat tours take place on board much more modest vessels.  This Yacht features a rather nice restaurant, where you can opt to be seated for a nice full-service meal.  We opted to enjoy the lower deck, seating ourselves in the bar area, where we enjoyed some Pimms and beers.  This tour also features a guide person, as opposed to a pre-recorded guide.  The tour guide provides anecdotes in both English and Swedish so as to provide further cultural and historical insight regarding the sights along the way.


After the lovely late afternoon tour, we decided to take the tour guide's recommendation for the best seafood in Stockholm.   I generally prefer a vegan diet, but when I travel, I occasionally like to try something that is both local and traditional.  On those occasions, I aim for the best.  In this situation, the best is to be found at Stockholm Fisk, located just a few blocks from the central train station.  Stockholm Fisk is a classy, yet relaxing atmosphere, and well worth the splurge.  We tried the daily special of Red Fish with horseradish and potatoes and the highly recommended Perch.  Side note: for those of you watching your figures, don't skip the bread basket.  I assure you.  It's worth it!

Full of fish and culture, we leisurely made our way back to our hotel to plan for Day 2 of our pass.















Where we saved money:

  • Stockholm Pass:  Junibaken Museum, Vasa Museum, Hop-on Hop-off bus and boat, and Vaxholm Boat Tour (no additional charge beyond the pass)
  • Breakfast at the hotel (free)
  • Public Transit:  24 hour unlimited pass
  • Lunch at the outdoor kiosk/cafe

Where we splurged:

  • Nice dinner at Stockholm Fisk

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Travel Year in Review

Life is a journey with certain mile-markers lighting the way.   On the final day of the year, I frequently like to take a timeout to consider the road I traveled since January 1st.  In my travel life, this year has been amazing.

It started in February with a trip to the Oregon Coast with my partner and a few of our best friends to celebrate a rather monumental milestone in one of our lives.  One of the group had just received her first cancer-free report one month before her 50th birthday.  We celebrated with a beach house rental, shopping at the local outlets, and an ocean-side seafood dinner.

In April, I spent some time in North Dakota with my family.  I was immersed in Mid-west farm culture, visiting livestock auctions, prairie churches, and some good hometown, North Dakota hotdish!  For those of you who've never experienced a North Dakota hotdish, you're missing out!

In May, We visited the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon for a Wedding.  We stayed downtown, and spent time in the Pearl District, and visited the famed VooDoo Doughnuts, and Portland Saturday Market.

With summer, came international travel, where we flew to Stockholm, Sweden.  We toured museums, Viking ships, and indulged in the best food Scandinavia had to offer.  We took the train across Sweden to Trollhatten to meet my Swedish family.  After a week in Sweden, we visited Iceland for the first time, taking advantage of Reykjavik's annual Culture Day, and relaxing at the world-renowned Blue Lagoon.

This fall, we found ourselves in Indianapolis for yet another wedding.  Much to our surprise, we found a secret foodie heaven lurking in the great Midwest.  Who says there's no such thing as hidden treasure?!


As for the road ahead?  I'm not sure where 2018 will lead us...  Stay tuned to find out!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Indianapolis: Secret Foodie Destination!

Earlier this Fall, my partner and I had the opportunity to visit Indianapolis for the first time when our dear friends were getting married.  As someone that grew up in the Midwest, I wasn't expecting much out of the ordinary.  Was I ever surprised!  I'm pretty sure that Indianapolis is some super top secret foodie destination!

This was a tremendously quick trip:  We flew in late Friday night after teaching all day, had a wedding to attend Saturday night, and a flight back to New York early Sunday morning.  This only left us with Saturday morning, and some of the afternoon to investigate.  We got a hotel in the downtown area so as to maximize our ability to see as much as we could in a short period of time.  We were not able to get a "breakfast included" deal, which is one of my favorite budgetary travel hacks, but in this situation, I didn't really mind. It gave us the opportunity to get out early and explore.

We made our way on foot to a local brunch hot spot called The Garden Table.  Now, I am admittedly a self-proclaimed health-food loving, vegan enthusiast.  It's not that I won't flex while I'm traveling, but I certainly have my preferences, and The Garden Table certainly delivers!  This fresh juicery and eatery boast a seasonal menu that is primarily sourced locally.
We started off with a cold-pressed juice flight.  The juice blends are fresh and top-notch.  You can mix and match, choose up to 4 of the 8 premium juices offered, served as one elegant flight in 5-ounce glasses.  I was delighted with each of our 4 choices but highly recommend the neon nectar.  For those wishing to take a walk on the vegan or lacto-vegetarian side, the Tuscan toast is to die for!  The thick cut house multigrain bread is served smothered in pesto, yam bacon, tomato (optional), greens, feta cheese (also optional), olive oil.  Lamb bacon is available for meat eaters.  Add a small soup of the day to round out the meal.  For those with slightly more traditional tastes, the biscuits and rolled omelets are also brilliantly composed.  This restaurant has something for every dietary need ranging from the standard American diet all the way to vegan and gluten-free.  Each dish is hand-crafted and composed as if it were a piece of art, all for a reasonable price.  I would literally go back to Indy just to eat at The Garden Table.

After a brunch so good we almost forgot it was healthy, we went for a little walk to take in the sights and made our way past a bar on a bicycle.You can either reserve a seat or two on one that isn't filled, or you and 20 of your best friends can book one for yourselves.  To be honest, it sounds like a lot of fun if the weather is nice, and you're planning something for a group.  It's a beautiful wooden bar with bar stools all around it.  Each bar stool is essentially a bicycle?  unicycle?  While I'm uncertain which label to appropriately give it, my point is that each bar stool is connected to peddles.  So, each person sitting at the bar is responsible for helping to keep the bar in motion.  These rentals tend to be for a couple of hours.  Now that I know this exists, I am definitely returning and doing this!  I mean, seriously, what a way to take in some of the city!

After our walk, we came across a place called Rebar where we met up with a couple of friends. This beer bar is far from the traditional pub.  If you're drinking beer, you need to see the bartender to get you connected to a plastic swipe card.  Once you're set up, you walk toward the back of the bar to a wall of beer taps (mostly local).  Once you decide what you want, you swipe your card and serve yourself as much or as little as you like:  a little screen will show you the ounces poured and money spent.  Rebar, where have you been my whole life?!

What I loved about this was the ability for me to try a lot of local beer without drinking too much.  I typically only poured myself a couple of ounces at a time, so I could try several things without being affected.  The owner and operator happened to be there when I was visiting and was absolutely professional and personable.  I was interested in how this system was able to function legally.  I mean, letting people serve themselves?  Brilliant for saving money on staffing, but people might really overdo it!  Apparently, the cards are programmed to stop at certain limits in order to prevent over-consumption.  Well done Rebar!  Genius.  Not only was the system pretty amazing, but the local beers presented a great variety, and the atmosphere was clean and inviting.  At this point, I had to head back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding but vowed to return on a future trip 


It was a quick trip Indy, but a good one.  Unfortunately, your secret isn't safe with me.  I've uncovered your secret identity as a little-known food destination, and I'm definitely telling!