Hermans and Gröna Lund

My favorite restaurant in Stockholm is Hermans which is a huge vegetarian buffet that is open late. Not late like Louisville-late, but like 10:00 or 11:00 at night. That’s pretty late for Sweden.

The restaurant has tons of outdoor seating and it sits high up on a cliff overlooking the city. On a pretty day the food and the view cannot be beat. I usually leave with a food baby in my stomach, that is, if they don’t have to roll me out of there carrying a bucket in my lap.

I have been coming to Hermans for years and it is always a special treat that I am so near to it now. Almost every time I eat there I have a moment when I’m looking at the skyline of Stockholm and it strikes me that this is where I live. It’s really something special.

On the day I made this 180° panoramic photo, there was some type of old-timey German ship docked nearby. You can see it on the left side of the image, partially obscuring the Old Town.

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Toward the right side of the picture, across the water, you can see Gröna Lund amusement park, where I was recently brought out of my quiet Stockholm shell on the Fritt Fall Tilt (“Free Fall Tilt”… you probably could have figured out that one). It’s the tallest white tower in the photo and it’s one of those vertical-drop rides.

I used to be really good at these kinds of things, but that was when I was living in Extreme America. Adrenaline is something that doesn’t exist in such high quantities in Scandinavia.

This particular vertical-drop ride is not as tall as the Drop Tower at Kings Island near Cincinnati, which I’ve ridden several times, but if you’re out of practice, it’s equally terrifying. Fritt Fall Tilt is 80 meters tall (262 feet) while the Drop Tower is 96 meters tall (315 feet). Drop Tower also rotates on the way up and takes 40 riders at once, while Fritt Fall Tilt takes twelve.

“Tilt” comes into the name when you reach the top of the tower. In the pause at the top, before you have a chance to enjoy your view of Stockholm from 26 stories up, the seats lean forward toward the ground. Shit, my hands are getting sweaty as I type this. Holy fucking shit.

Iida and Erik have a video of me riding this monster, but I don’t want to embarrass myself by posting it here. I’d hate for everybody to see how I’m holding on for dear life, like a little girl. It helps if you hold on, you know? Like if something goes wrong with the machine, your little hands can save you.