Check out my travel diary as I fly to Stockholm, Sweden where I learn all about Candy Crush development at the King office and explore the wonderful city!
An eight-hour red-eye flight from Newark, New Jersey to Stockholm, Sweden meant a pack of Lifesaver gummies, two movies (first a drama, then a comedy to lighten the mood), a good book, lots of ginger ale and several cat naps in the comfort of my window seat.
Upon my arrival on the 28th, I was greeted by a sign as blunt as all the Swedes I’ve encountered. It put any visitor who had questioned Stockholm’s history in their place with two sentences: “Welcome to Stockholm. Mobile communication was born here.” Subtle, but screams “don’t get it twisted”–especially when the same sign appears once more at the airport’s exit, sending me on my way and putting me in my place one last time.
The Miss Clara hotel, a hop, skip, and jump from the King office, is reminiscent of an old-time flower shop. However, the outdoor seating along the hotel’s side makes it look like a little cafe. It wasn’t until the warm receptionist checked me into my room that I began to feel ‘Comfort Inn’ vibes from the boutique, yet very contemporary hotel.
Starving at this point, a frozen dinner from the closest deli sounded like everything I needed and more. In an effort to make the moment less American, I chose the Swedish meatballs meal. I didn’t regret it. A warmed Swedish cinnamon roll for dessert and a bomb ginger lemonade topped it off and sent me feeling good enough to sleep for five hours until happy hour at around 7 pm.
A sort of pre-game before dinner, happy hour allowed me to meet fellow journalists and PR who would all be going to the King office the next day. By dinner, everyone became acquainted bonding over wine, appetizers, and touristy banter. Thankfully, the King team recommended Teatergrillen, a restaurant adorned with red velvet and dim lights that served a really amazing lobster tail.
By 9 a.m. the next morning, after a tasty buffet breakfast from Miss Clara’s restaurant, the King office was in full swing. After a quick intro and before the office tour, I got the behind-the-scenes during a game art design workshop followed by a sound, then level design workshop– all of which gave me a pretty solid idea of what it takes to keep a popular game like Candy Crush fresh and exciting for players. I left knowing how to create my own Candy crush level, a Candy Crush version of myself drawn by the brilliant game artist, Sandra da Cruz Martin, and with experience voicing the game’s main character Tiffi in the offices recording studio.
After what felt like working a 9 to 5 in the best office ever, I didn’t give in to jet lag by taking the nap I very much needed. Instead, I roamed the streets of Stockholm until happy hour at one of the coolest rooftop bars I have ever been to. The Takparken Sveavagen 44 Beer Garden not only exposed me to what I now know as the best view of Stockholm but also a great Pina Colada and Torres Black Truffle potato chips.
Dinner and an impromptu rap karaoke session at Grill led to more drinks at Bistrot Panama where I tried a traditional Swedish “hot shot” with both alcohol and caffeine. Pretty much a spiked hot chocolate that kept me warm and tingly inside until bedtime.
The last full day in Stockholm was spent being a super tourist. After breakfast at the hotel, it was crucial to do the activity no one can leave Stockholm without doing: riding the subway. The subway stations, also known as the world’s largest art exhibit, each have different themes and creations by different artists.
After going from station to station and having mini photo shoots in each, some stillness was necessary. Refusing to give in to jet lag, I decided to take advantage of Miss Clara’s sauna. It was so relaxing, I ended up falling asleep. How tired must one be to fall asleep in a sauna? Apparently as tired as I was.
A few moments later, I found myself standing in front of Stockholm’s Royal Palace surrounded by colorful 17th and 18th-century buildings. The Old Town known as Gamla Stan provided great knowledge of the city’s past and the perfect background for an Instagram post. Before ending the night spectating Black Jack at Skeppsbar, the crew and I dined at Drottninghof for the last supper.