Sweden for Six- Part 2
Hola from the departure gate of of Stockholm!
Speaking of, the airport customs are way different here. Meg and I reenacted our famous suitcase stuffing scene and crossed our fingers that it would ring in under the 40 kilo limit. Turns out, they don't like- you know- actually weight suitcases in Sweden. They just threw our big bad backpack duffle on the checked-luggage belt and sent us on our way. Another thing- security is shockingly lax. Out of habit, I kicked off my shoes only to be laughed at by my friends, who oh so kindly pointed out that I was the only loser in socks. To add to the weirdness, when I went through the metal detector, I literally set off all the alarms. Rather than throw me in travel jail and pat me down, they told me to take my shoes off and sent me on my way. My shoes. Because that's their number one concern when you set the alarms off. Right.
Oh and my passport? No one even glanced at that.
Security concerns aside, I never felt unsafe once in Sweden. Our three days were spent walking all across the city and taking public transit. On top of that, is a ridiculously walkable city. Whatever you can't access by foot, public transit is a viable option. Stockholm- to put it simply- was a dream.
Day two of Stockholm was by far the best. We decided the night before to collectively set our alarms for 8:30. The alarms did go off at 8:30. We, however, did not make it out of bed until about 10. Whoops. Despite the small hostel room, we shared the space quite well. We wasted zero time getting to our breakfast destination- vetekatten - (a recommendation from our hostel's receptionist) and blowing a ton of money on some pastries, juice and coffee. I blame my grumbling stomach for my indulgences.
Following her recommendation was probably our best decision of the trip. I ordered a Mjölnargärd and cappuchino. A hand pressed mint orange juice was a last minute addition. After cleaning our plates, we began our walk to the Gamla Stan. The walk was a cold one, but we were too bundled up and distracted by the sights around us to really notice. Stockholm is a neat city because it is divided up by the water into little islands connected by bridges. In my experience, each section of the city has its own vibes. Gamla Stan is called "Old Town" and it is just that. The architecture has been preserved from when it was first built, cobblestone streets and all. The buildings here (and all over Stockholm for that matter) followed a strict color scheme of faded reds, oranges, and yellows.
The build up to actually entering Old Town is quite magical. The further you progress into the heart of the area, the more and more captivating the streets and buildings become. Streets are lined with food vendors and quaint store windows. At the center of Gamla Stan is a famous square. In the center sits a fountain of sorts. Woven throughout the maze of streets are many hidden gems. My personal favorite were the little alley tunnels that would funnel into an open courtyard.
Also inside the Gamla Stan was the Royal Palace. While the exterior was undergoing construction during our time there, the inside was quite the treat. Most of the rooms had been preserved with the original decor, and many historical artifacts were on display. I always laugh at myself every time I wind up in museums because I forget how much I genuinely do not like them. I have the attention span of a fly, so you can imagine the pain of those who accompany me when I'm ready to go by room six. Sorry, friends. That being said, at the end of the day, I was super happy the group talked me into going.
While Johnny and Ethan decided to continue exploring the palace, the four of us girls hit the streets in search of some food and coffee. Lucky for us, there were about 19784271 coffee shops to chose from. The downside to that was that the dang coffee shops took up all the storefronts, insomuch as making it borderline impossible to find a place to eat lunch.
Johnny and Ethan reconvened with us mid-lunch, and the six of us went back out exploring after we filled our bellies. A few miles of Gamla Stan streets later, and our feet were on fire. None of us were in a grumpy mood, per say, but the harbor we stumbled upon at sunset sure did lift everyone's spirits. I went into creative mode and immediately ordered all of my friends to prepare for pictures. No way was I going to pass up a photo-opp like that, and I must say, I was pretty pleased with the results. Looking back, the sunset at the harbor was probably my favorite memory from all of Stockholm. I wish we could have explored more of it, but with daylight fading quickly, it wasn't something that we could have pulled off.
After our improv photoshoot, we stuffed our frozen fingers into our pockets and braced against the cold as we made our way back to the hostel to figure out dinner. We were all so exhausted from trekking across the city that we wound up grabbing sushi from a place a little ways past our hostel and taking it back to our rooms to feast and watch netflix. We joked about how cultured we were- six americans eating Japanese food in Sweden watching a British baking show. Wild, I know.
This morning was composed of an early alarm and lots of squished humans trying to pile their lives back into backpacks. We managed to accomplish the later before 9am, which was ideal given that we had to be at the train station by 4:00 to catch the train back to the airport.
Breakfast was a second visit to VeteKatten where I mixed things up and got a vegan pastry, plain ole hand-pressed orange juice, and a cappuchino (womp womp). If there was any concern that I was going to spend all my money on souvenirs and clothes, I am pleased to inform you I'm actually going to go broke from coffee purchases. From breakfast, we got directions to the Stockholm Public Library, a circular building filled top to bottom with books. I must admit I am not an avid reader, but this place made me want to dive into a pool of thousand page novels. Upon poking around the library, I stumbled across one of my advertising textbooks. It was totally one of those painful reminders that ditching your school work doesn't actually get rid of it.
I dragged my friends into Acne Studios- one of my all time favorite high-fashion clothing brands. Here, they witnessed me drool over clothes and talk about the closet I have in my bank account's dreams. From Acne, we hopped on a cab to Södermalm. Here, we reinforced our subway route illiteracy and ate some pretty mean meatballs. No, seriously. This place made vegetarian meatballs! How great is that?! I mean, come on! Vegetarian meatballs!!!! One more reason to stay in Stockholm forever.
Tonight we arrive in Amsterdam. All I have to say is that this place has got some pretty tough competition.
until next time..