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MILK.XYZ Travel Diary: Sam Weir Takes on The Baltic Sea

Every year my family and I try to take a trip to Europe to spend time with each other and see a new part of the world. It has quickly become a favorite tradition of mine. This year we decided to take a cruise around the Baltic Sea and visit Copenhagen, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Stockholm. I truly got lost in the beauty of each city. See a guide below for cool stores, restaurants, and places to visit. 

We began our trip in Copenhagen, Denmark, surrounded by people biking everywhere on possibly the cleanest streets I have ever seen. It was such a stark difference from New York City and our way of life in America. My family and I stayed at one of the most beautiful hotels in the city, Hotel D’Angleterre. The grand exterior competed with the intricate interior, which held a swimming pool as well as a one Michelin Star restaurant.

We were located next to the major shopping district in Copenhagen and of course I had to explore. One thing I love about going to Europe in the summer is that there are major sales. I had to visit the flagship Acne Studios store, being that the prices are exponentially cheaper. I wandered into other major European brands such as Isabel Marant that exuded the Scandinavian coolness in their store’s interior design. Some great boutiques I found were Wood Wood and Storm. These stores carry a nicely curated selection of Comme Des Garçons, Celine, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Haider Ackermann, Off-White and more. I would highly recommend Copenhagen because in today’s world it is so important to learn about a cleaner way of living. Everyone in the city was extremely environmentally conscious and it made me think about the improvements America needs to make.

The next city we traveled to was Berlin, Germany. My mother used to spend her summers with her grandparents in the German countryside so it brought back many memories for her. We visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, which was extremely poignant but also informative. It was eerie standing in a place with so much dark history that I had only previously seen in textbooks. We then visited the major attributes of the city such as the larger pieces of the Berlin wall. I would recommend checking out Museum Island, which houses five wonderful museums including the Pergamon Museum. There is a multitude of cool boutiques and brands coming out of Berlin so save time for that as well.

After Berlin, we arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was bound to be interesting. What I found so shocking was the contrast of the older Soviet architecture, which was extremely depressing and uniformed versus the decadence of the palaces. Please go see Catherine Palace as well as the Hermitage Museum. The scale of which these buildings sit is mesmerizing. Traditional Russian architecture can be seen at the Church of Spilled Blood as well. I am not sure I would go back to Russia, being that their current political state is not something I am in favor of, but it was fascinating history I was glad to see. A restaurant that my family and I fell in love with was Francescas.  Imagine the best Italian food but in Russia…

A few smaller cities we visited were Helsinki and Tallinn. Helsinki was very beautiful with lush greenery and an overall happier atmosphere (it was voted one of the happiest cities in the world.) Surprisingly enough, here I found great little stores. Some of which I recommend are Samsoe & Samsoe, Beamhill and My o My. On Saturdays they had a large farmers market by the water that sold every fresh fruit you can imagine. We continued to slow down our pace in Tallinn, Estonia. This city has an area called “old city” which is composed almost entirely of cobblestone streets and buildings that seemed like they were constructed in the Medieval Times. It is truly amazing to travel to these places that completely transport you back in time. I would recommend just wandering the streets and sitting down at the local cafes to drink a cold beer.

Our trip came to a close in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm encompasses 14 islands on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago. Riding through the channels we passed islands that only held three houses, the rest of the land greenery. Talk about living in nature, they have to take a boat to get groceries! I really enjoyed Sweden because it was most like New York City. On one side, the city is very modern and has your normal Chanel, Acne Studios and Prada stores. Walk across a bridge and you enter the Old Town, which holds cobblestone streets and ochre-colored buildings. It faintly reminded me of Venice, Italy with all these small winding streets and colored buildings. Visit Lilla Ego for some delectable classic Sweden dishes. As for a place to stay, try Berns and its boutique bedrooms, which is located right next to the Opera House.

Traveling to the cities around the Baltic Sea was such a different experience from those you receive in France or Italy. These cities have a different focus, one that stresses the importance of environmental issues and a clean interior design aesthetic. There is also so much history in cities like Berlin and St. Petersburg. As a history buff, I was in heaven. As a fashion lover, I picked up classic pieces that will be in my wardrobe for years to come. Take a trip and experience a different part of the world!

Images courtesy of Sam Weir

Stay tuned to Milk for more virtual travel.

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