John Ambrose doesn't see himself as an expat. After 20 years in Stockholm, he calls himself a migrant. Once a journalist, he now works in communication. Living this far north (Stockholm is further north than the Orkneys off the top of Scotland) means long summer days and long winter nights. John prefers the summers.
Vikings were more than bloodthirsty thugs pillaging their way across Europe (and to North America). They were farmers and settlers, with an almost modern take on sexual equality. The newish Viking Museum, near the Abba Museum on the island of Djurgården, is pulling in the tourists. But for a more low-key, and dare I say, authentic look at Viking life, walk just a kilometre onto the mainland to Historiska Museet. As well as rooms of Viking gold, it paints a more complete picture of these hardy people living on the outskirts of medieval Europe. Historiska also provides a broader look at Swedish history. And it's free, unlike the Viking Museum. See historiska.se
Stockholm is built across 14 islands, and a full third of the city is water. You get some great views of the city just by walking over Västerbron, an impressive span connecting the islands of Södermalm and Kungsholmen. Then you have around 30,000 islands in the spectacular archipelago, which reaches out into the Baltic, and numerous islands on Mälaren, the lake that stretches inland for several hundred kilometres. There are day trips to several islands, including to Birka, the first known Viking city, in the heart of Mälaren. See stromma.com
Asian tapas is a big new thing in Stockholm, but for something more authentic, take a trip to the suburbs. Kvarterskrog means neighbourhood pub, and there are some great ones scattered around the 'burbs (although there are also some shockers). My favourite is Selmas Krog, in Sundbyberg, around 15 minutes from the city on the metro (tunnelbana: Duvbo). It has a small menu of well-made Swedish classics such as Biff Rydberg, a selection of burgers (the haloumi burger is a family favourite), a good variety of beers (draft and bottled) and a short list of good wines. As well as the eclectic decór, Selmas is also dog-friendly, and even has a menu for four-footed friends. See facebook.com/Selmaskrog/
Summertime, the sun sets around 10.30pm but the twilight lasts all night. When the weather is fine, Stockholmers flock out onto the streets, and in recent years, to the increasing number of rooftop terrace bars. Tak (which means roof), on Brunkebergs torg in the city, kicked off the trend, but now has plenty of competition. My favourite is Arc at the Blique by Nobis hotel, on Gävlegatan in Vasastan. See tak.se and bliquebynobis.se
I'm not a fan of shopping malls. The biggest one in Sweden is Mall of Scandinavia, in Solna. It's like a giant mall anywhere in the world. It even changed name recently to WESTFIELD Mall of Scandinavia. Unless you came halfway around the world to go to a Westfield shopping centre, I wouldn't bother.