In my last post about Gothenburg, you might have caught how I made this spontaneous trip to Sweden. At 22:27 Sweden time today, I have the pleasure to share with you how amazing the experience to be in the city has been. I arrived to Stockholm on Saturday, quite early in the morning, by train. In the last 5 minutes before the train arrived at the station, it passed by the sea views, in the centre. I could not find a better word describing except “wow!”. My face started to form a smile, because I could not hide better my own excitement. The city began to shape clearer appearance; sunlight was reflecting partly on river’s surface; turning the whole view through a small train’s window sparking as little diamonds. I felt something urging rising inside me.
I used Couch Surfing again for this destination of the trip, figuring out it would be fun to meet new person. I took the bus to my host’s apartment; and the weather changed slowly to little wind and greyness, but I did not mind. I arrived at the address quite well (not lost as much as usual), came in and got greeted in the elevator; since my host spotted me on the road, from his apartment’s window. He is a lovely guy, around 30-40 years old, looks successful and really friendly. He comes from Turkey, has lived in Sweden for four years, had a steady job but was planning to move back soon to Turkey for another better conditioned job. He has been travelling a lot too, and he also spent 4 college years in Canada. It is always great to meet person who is also in love and a travel addict. It is always even greater to have new shed of lights for distraction, meaning I got so focused into sharing new information, new hobbies with this new person; that I sort of have been forgetting about my own situation for days. You might wonder what “shed of lights” I might meant to make a metaphor of.
Johan Edelheim (2015) wrote a book researching about Tourist Attraction, stated “travelling is a way of finding identity“. Identity is a challenging abstract word. Simply in words, identity defines who you are; but words brought to real world, become harder to capture. There exists so many demands of many sources for one throughout life, I guess it turns to be quite easy for one to be lost about who he/she really is, what he/she really wants. I won’t bother you about reasons why I am at such phase where I am; but I’d like to believe in the sentence of Johan Edelheim. Travelling is a form of escapism, in which a person obtains the psychology that he/she does not have to do normal things of daily life (or at least this is how I have understood). It is as if the pressure of being common is taken away, leaving space for you to be uncommon as much as you want to be. Possibly within such space, you are free to see what you really actually like and are fond of. I owe Stockholm this.
I spent my first day in this city, walking. In fact, I spent all the days in this city walking. My host’s place luckily was near the centre; I didn’t find a need to purchase travelling ticket card. I did not mind walking either, the view was too fabulous to miss out being inside the bus or tram. My host lives in Sodermalm. It takes 10-15 minutes walking to Gamla Stan – the Old Town.
In my opinion, the Old Town was not much different from any other old towns I have seen. The same as old town in Prague, Czech Republic. The same as old town in Warsaw, Poland. And so forth. There are lots of vintage shops, cozy coffee shops and obviously, tourists. Not that I am a local citizen. I liked the old town, but was not so much impressed; until I walked to the area in the second picture, enjoying the sea view. I did pass by Nobel Museum, Royal Palace Museum but I realised I did not enjoy them as much as the outside view. Therefore, I just left Gamla Stan, continue walking aimlessly to where I am attracted the most. I walked towards a bridge (there are many bridges in Stockholm), crossed over to see this amazing hotel building Grand Hotel, a bit further passing National Museum, and arrived at SkeppsHolmen.
(I had to sit down a bit taking these pictures before walking to SkeppsHolmen island. Breathtaking, isn’t it?)
I had my small lunch in Asia Museum on the island (picture 1 below). Then, I spent few more hours in the Modern Museum. It made me wishing to be an Art student, if I had had a chance to turn back to the past. I bought two post cards, one of which has a painting of Picasso – “The woman in blue collar“. I am literally still glad that I bought something from that interesting museum. I decided to leave it then, I was afraid I might end up spending more money and more time being stuck inside. I was urged to see more beautiful outside views of Stockholm. Unfortunately, the weather became worse at the time. It was snowing and windy, as you might see in the next picture. However so, I found it rather amusing. I thought to myself, that I would tell my friends later whoever told me this was the worst time of the year for travelling. I mean, it can be surely better with more brighter colour during summer. But, the snow has its own perks. I did not have a proper camera to catch flow of snow in the air for you all; so you might just notice the groomy atmosphere. In reality, it was not so bad. I ended up being all soaking wet on the way walking home; but that was just because I decided to walk further to near city centre and walked the whole way back.
It was Sunday, and since I spent time chatting, watching movies with my host previous evening, I woke up rather late (well, suitable for a Sunday morning). I had my host as a company later, as my city tour guide. I asked him if we could walk the whole journey; since I still wished to stick to my original plan of walking for this whole trip. We walked again to Skeppsholmen, but we did actually walk around the whole island before leaving. I noticed lots of nice houses, nice boats further at the back of Skeppsholmen. In fact, I cannot even tell you how many nice vintage, historic buildings I have spotted in Stockholm. The European architecture in the city is undeniable wrapped in royal vibe. It hit me in awe, noticing how the buildings look outside as castles, but inside just average offices, houses, apartments, department stores, etc. How would one feel to go to work, to shop or to live in places appearing as if they are only meant for royal and rich people. That is how it struck me, and I think for many moments, I have been taken away with such feeling.
We walked a lot with my host, until quite late in the evening, passing Culture Centre and the most popular shopping street of Stockholm. Then, we ended the day with walking up to this Goladen, for me to see the city view from above (always my favourite thing ever).
We walked again, to Djurgarden and Skansen area, where almost the popular touristic museums were placed: Vasa Museum, Nordic Museum, Tobaks Museet. There also places Tivoli amusement park , Cirkus, and Abba Museum. I went inside to buy my parents a postcard of their favourite band. We spent one hour wandering around, talking about different topics. Again, my luck to have a nice lovely host.
Then, we stopped by for a warm coffee, before heading back to home resting and ended the last day with a big delicious Turkish dinner. So I did not go inside those museums, or a lot of attractions; but the trip was how I wanted. I have never been such a big plan of the museums, as I said, unless some particular that stayed in my head. And since this trip was supposed to be a budget backpack short spontaneous trip, I tended not to spend a lot money for entrance admission of eating outside quite often. I did not even spend even a day researching for where I wanted to see in Stockholm. I did the plan, along the days since I arrived at the city. I took some guidebook, noticed some areas recommending to visit, and of course, my host’s opinions as a local actor. As in one of my recent interview with Cory Lee – an accessible wheelchair user, “local people interaction is always important, since they know more we do, and their input is valuable“.
So that pretty much summed up my days here so far; and now I am sitting writing this. I owed this city. I owed this trip. For its ability to make me realise some lost parts inside me, a version of myself who accidentally smile seeing a spectacular view, who happily share experiences with others with same hobbies, who would not spend so much time eating out but do not mind spending for coffees in different places, and who would sigh out satisfied sipping in a nice coffee with a good urban atmosphere. And most interestingly, Stockholm does not even seem as urbanised as I thought it would be; but I am aware of how developed it has been and how people fit to their “capital” sense of dressing. There is an old me only woken up while travelling, a passionate me refusing to be attached and in love with her moving legs. And you know, I have been asking myself many times, walking around in Stockholm, “How have I forgot?“.