The key to beating jet lag, I have found, is to stay awake for as long as possible on the day you land in a new country.
The best way to stay awake for me is to walk. And, as Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Sunday, Stockholm is a city in which you want to walk.
So, I have spent almost every free minute, when I am not working (which is why I am here) since I landed at 11 a.m. on Sunday walking. It has allowed me to see much of the city already, especially Old Town, which is right across the water from our downtown hotel.
I walked more than five miles on Sunday, interrupted by a Lightning practice session. Monday, I got in a long walk before the Lightning and Buffalo Sabres practiced. Another long stroll for dinner beckoned once I finished writing.
Old Town is a cool warren of main avenues and crazy alleys that jut off in various directions. There are shops everywhere, including a record store called Sound Pollution that stocks some very rare heavy metal albums. It has not opened yet, but I will stop there before I leave, you can be rest assured.
There are also so many old buildings, including several churches. On the walk Sunday, I stumbled into a German church and was treated to an impromptu organ recital. I was the only one in the church and sat for close to 10 minutes as the pipes reverberated across the stone building. It was a simple, but magical moment.
Another reason I have tried to walk so much is because the food is awesome. On my first night, I wandered Old Town aimlessly, waiting for a restaurant to speak to me.
It happened as I ambled down a dark, narrow alley and saw a place called C & C Restaurant. The menu outside listed only six or seven entries and each featured some offering of game. I debated long and hard between the elk steak, the loin of wild boar and the venison meatballs. In the end, it was the meatballs (was there ever a choice?). They were fantastic; small and plump and bathed in a creamy brown gravy, accompanied by buttery mashed potatoes and tart lingonberries. Perfection on a plate.
Well, time to hit the cobblestones again. Dinner calls. Maybe mussels tonight.