stockholm was so god damn romantic. not the falling in love sweep me off my feet and let’s get married romance, but this sweet beauty that left me filled with quiet contentment and happiness.
it started with the train ride. the route from oslo to stockholm was incredibly bucolic. after riding through rural areas, past farms and goats and horses and little lakes my heart started to ache. i spent a large part of my youth on a farm and i was sorely missing the long, soft summer evenings when you can hear the frogs and birds and the light is fading ever so slowly, the western sky all pink and the eastern sky pale blue…
after i got over the rush of stockholm central station, i found my way to the place i was staying in gamla stan and rushed out again to meet my travel buddy daniel at the place he chose: on a bridge with golden crowns.
it was nearing 10pm, the sky was still light, and we wandered into gamla stan, stockholm’s old town. a few twists and turns and we stumbled into an incredibly romantic plaza. we stopped short and drank in the wonder for a moment. the buildings dated from the late 17th century; lamps were just turning on and glowing against the sky; the sounds of people eating and laughing drifted from the restaurant patios. it was surprising and breathtaking. neither of us had expected this from stockholm.
that night, after having a wonderful patio supper ourselves, daniel and i found not one but two incredible basement bars! the first was like a hobbit-hole; even i had to stoop to get in the door and down the stairs. the inside was all bare brick and it was a very small, cozy pub. next was a medieval themed place; it was surprisingly charming! mostly lit by candlelight with wax drippings everywhere, random people playing guitars & starting giant sing-alongs, we had a barrel as a table, etc.
by the time i headed home at 3.30, the sky was getting light again…god damn, summer in the northern latitudes is a wonderful thing.
the next day started slowly due to large amounts of beer consumed the night before. yikes. i made up for it by walking all around the city. walking one’s hangover off is totally a thing.
gamla stan, sodermalm (with a little slow dance to some street jazz), downtown, city hall, the observatory, ostermalm (including this park that said something about the ultimate darkness!? what was up with that? sounds like a metal band), and along the waterfront. in stockholm, there is a lot of waterfront because the city is on a bunch of islands!
we made our way back to gamla stan, where we watched Serious Football Match and i actually picked a team, cheered for it and got ridiculously drunk as well. that’s how you’re supposed to watch sports, right?
hangover day two commenced with a leisurely tour bus ride around the city. it was a good way for my hurtin’ self to feel like i was actually experiencing something of stockholm while having to expend very little energy. after that, d. & i sat in a park and ate ice cream, had a quick lunch, and then said goodbye as our paths diverged. i spent the rest of the day wandering around the city, hanging out in a graveyard, drinking coffee and doing crosswords, etc, before calling it a night.
my last day in stockholm was spent wandering around the city some more; shopping for gifts, reading in a park full of tulips, stealing last looks at lovely gamla stan, and then hanging out in the train station dealing with some stress that crept up on me. wished to hide from the world in a cuddlenest with my cats, but just dealt with my shit, got on the train, and gradually felt better.