As some of you may know, I spent this past weekend exploring Sweden! Specifically, the city of Stockholm.
Once again, I flew with Ryanair and ended up flying to Stockholm-Skavsta airport - roughly 70 minutes outside the city center. Upon arriving at the airport, I exchanged my euros for Swedish kronors, bought my bus ticket to the city, and was on my way!
While on the bus travelling to Stockholm, I realized that the sun had set and it was really dark. I had hoped it was because of the weather, but I later found out that was not the case. Because of the city's northern location, Stockholm residents experience roughly 5 months of winter, with extremely varied hours of sun. In the winter, the sun sets around 15:30, making the rest of the afternoon/evening look and feel like 22:00. However, I was told that in the summer, the sun can stay up as late as 23:00!
Like my other travels, I couchsurfed again in Stockholm. My host was Paula, a current university student. She was an amazing host and we talked a lot! She was very easy going and really friendly. We got along well! :)
Paula met me at the main train station after work. As we walked around central Stockholm, she told me about different buildings and gave me tips about what to do in/around the city. We were walking by the skating rink, when a Swedish girl approached and struck up a conversation with us. Apparently all of her friends got into the club nearby, and security wouldn't let her in until she took a 15 mins walk around, claiming she was drunk (though she seemed okay to me!). During our conversation, Paula pointed out that I got to meet a typical Swede - blonde, skinny, and not yet wearing a winter coat! Funny enough, she was the only Swede I formally met on my trip!
The next day, Paula introduced me to some of her friends on our way in to the city. We had a nice cup of coffee, and got to know each other. Upon arriving in the city, Paula once again had to work so I wandered around Stockholm until it was time for my walking tour of Stockholm. Free Tour Stockholm is run completely by volunteers, who offer free walking tours around Stockholm. They offer a walking tour of Gamla Stan (the Old City) and a city walking tour as well. I had missed the morning tour, so I was waiting for the tour of the Old City to begin.
The walking tour of Gamla Stan was really interesting and I learned a lot! My tour guide was Lee, who in my opinion, looked a lot like Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter from Big Bang Theory). It was the first time I met someone from Arkansas! At the tour, I also befriended Megan and her friends (I overheard them talking about Canada haha). They were on a weekend trip to Stockholm from the Netherlands and were also couchsurfing! Talk about coincidence. After the tour, the four of us went in search of food. We ended up in a cute little cafe! I had lasagna with a 'latte after eight' - yum! Our meal was followed by more walking, and we ended up grabbing a pint at a typical Swedish drinking hole. We then said our goodbyes (after spending a long time talking and laughing!), and headed our separate ways.
The next day, I woke up early and headed to the city tour that I missed the day before. One of Paula's roommates, Mohammed, offered to join me! This time, our tour guide was Chloe. She was great! Aside from being really knowledgeable, she was fun, friendly, with a good sense of humour. I learned a lot more about the city itself and it only made me wish I had more time in Stockholm.
After the tour, Mohammed and I wandered around the city a bit more. We ended up grabbing a coffee at Espresso House, a cute, well decorated cafe! We both had the equivalent of a gingerbread latte (though I must admit, I didn't really taste the 'gingerbread'). Nonetheless, it was really good and it gave us the chance to warm up and rest a bit before we continued exploring. We eventually headed home for a late lunch, where Mohammed whipped up a typical Iranian dish! It was delicious. He made a different Iranian dish for dinner, which was also really good. Despite the MASSIVE portion of food he served me, I managed to finish it - yay!
Before heading out, I was reading about Stockholm online and I must say, everything I read was true - though Stockholm is one of the more expensive cities, it is beautiful and worth seeing. I never expected to fall in love with Stockholm (I mean come on, the sun sets at 3:30pm!) but I'm really glad I did.
Until next time - cheers! :)