My trip to Stockholm came at the perfect time. I am 9 weeks into 2nd year at Uni, without a reading week, working 25 hour weeks, volunteering 5 hours a week, and running an hour long conversation class once a week (this is keeping in mind that between all this my time is padded out with booze and friends). Along with this there were some various issues going on at home which have been bumming me out. Needless to say, when I booked my trip to Stockholm to see a good pal of mine who just moved out there (round trip flights for £25, helloooooooo), I wanted nothing more than to walk around a Christmas market in the cold where it is actually supposed to be cold (as opposed to in London when it’s usually mild- as soon as the temperature drops slightly it feels absolutely freezing, topped with the wind, pfffft. Stockholm is cold for a reason- I can deal with that).
I had given myself a pseudo reading week (I am in the midst of fighting for a reading week for my course next year as I am a student rep (power to da people)) and made my way to the airport on Thursday for an 8 pm flight. I arrived in Stockholm city centre around 1 am, and was met by my pal (what a doll for coming to get me- chivalry ISN’T dead for some). We went back, had a couple bevs and went to bed for an early start.
I was awakened by a running bath, and a cup of coffee. It was 9:30 am and I was aptly reminded that if we didn’t leave house soon I wouldn’t see Stockholm in daylight (that day the sun was meant to set at 2:58 !!!!!). We made it out about an hour later, and ended up closer to town. We walked a loooong way along the river (I was unaware that the city itself is made of of 14 islands, let alone the Stockholm archipelago which is made up of approximately 24,000 islands and islets). I’ve never seen so many bridges before in my life, bar Amsterdam . We walked to a viewpoint. Went to the Christmas market. It started SNOWING when we were at the Christmas market. MY GOAL WAS COMPLETE. At this point, the wind kicked in and it felt like -4. We retreated to a cute little cafe with lots of colourful windows with trees growing in the middle of it (see pictures at bottom). All in all, successful first day. I had seen all I wanted to see of Stockholm, which meant that now I wouldn’t feel guilty about getting smashed and writing off the next day of culutral activites.
(The Christmas market- Glogg in hand)
On our way home we stopped at Systembolaget, the ONLY shop in the whole of Sweden which is allowed to sell alcohol (Systembolaget which literally translated to ‘The System Company’ and is a government owned chain- so delightfully Swedish. It closes every weekday at 7 pm, on Saturday at 3 pm and Sunday it NEVER OPENS). We got back to the flat and immediately starting drinking, which led to skipped dinner, and ended up horizontal the following day at 7 in the morning.
Jamie and I woke up around 4:30 pm. His not-girlfriend-maybe-girlfriend V who is currently living with him due to the isolated living situation the Swede’s commit themselves to (everyone lives alone. Or they inherit family flats which are meant to be lived in alone, and then they move somewhere else and legally are only allowed to rent out the flat for an accumulation of two years, EVER. Yeah. Two years, EVER. Meaning lots of flats go inhabited leading to a major problem for affordable living). It was V’s birthday and her and her friend Helen after not being able to sleep a wink had done what J and I had done the day before and went out to see the town. They arrived back in time to have a 20 minute disco nap before heading to Geronimo’s in the area of Gamla Stan in the old town.
I had been told by J that the Swede’s are “socially weird”. They are uber polite, and often dart around a subject instead of identifying the problem. They also don’t do things spontaneously, and will often use the excuse of “doing their laundry” if you suggest a cheeky after work drink. V told us about her work friends which would be coming (none of them Swedish), who would be bringing their boyfriends (Swedish). However, one of the girls said they wouldn’t come for food as her boyfriend gets “awkward in big social situations”. Lol.
They had reserved the private-ish dining area and when the spicy margherita’s arrived in cactus shaped martini glasses (!!!!!) Geronimo’s had won my heart.
The food was amazing, although £23 a pop (I had 2 vegetarian tacos with rice and beans for £16). The margherita’s about £13 each. I racked up a £90 bill including V’s cookie-in-skillet birthday treat, but in actual fact I paid nada because I used my American card which needs to be signed. The waiter must have hit “Signature NOT verified” on the machine and cancelled the transaction (one win for me!).
When we went upstairs to Jazzpuben Stampen to see the live music, J said the restaurant and bar (not affiliated with same concept, but apparently same owners?) attracted a crowd unlike the Swede’s he knows or of the younger generation. J was at the bar buying us tequila’s and corona’s when a lady and her man friend emerged from the cold in santa hats and a giant white stick with an illuminated star. She dramatically swayed with it whilst she danced, and hit J in the head several times much to my amusement. Once the music stopped we had a lovely chat with them, and she admitted it wasn’t until recently that she started not giving a fuck and being un-typically Swedish. And then I hugged her for not giving a fuck and got her number and vowed we would go out for dinner the 4 of us when I came back in the summer to see 18 hours of daylight and 30 degree weather.
All in all, my trip to STockholm gave me all I wanted. An escape, the cold and a Christmas market (and of course to see my dear friend J). I will be going back to again, mainly to see it in the summer time and juxtapose the two weathers, and also because I’d love to see the Swede’s out of hibernation. Until next time Stockholm. See you in the summer Shine-a-light-Lady.
(My new mate Monika and her star)
-Bar next to ice rink with tree in it
-Ze infamous spicy margherita in cactus cocktail glass
-Geronimo’s Mexican restaurant
– Bridges connecting the islands
-No explanation needed
-Old telephone booth