My summer plans where clearly defined before summer 2017 came around, as there was no room for error in my already shortened summer break from Varsity. Stockholm was at the top of my list, as my person and I had been invited to a 70th birthday party by a sweet friend based in Stockholm. The party was to be at the beginning of August, and I thought to myself “what a delight it would be to catch some sun!”. This thought was a result of the cloudy & rainy days I was experiencing in Poznan then.
Having visited the island of Majorca in Spain at the end of June and taken in a bit of sun for about 4 days, I was hoping the weather would have warmed up upon my return to Poznan at the beginning of July. Unfortunately this was not the case and I had to sit through 4 weeks of summer training before I could escape the cloudy and gloomy weather that more often than not came with rain.
Four weeks later, I was just about ready to skip town as I made my way to Stockholm. My person and I planned on linking up at the Arlanda Airport because my flight was scheduled to arrive first. Having made arrangements for Per & Ingalill to pick me up from the airport, I then asked that those arrangements be canceled, as I wanted to meet him at the airport.
The Arlanda Airport was easy to navigate. I had with me a small carry on suitcase & therefore did not need to collect luggage upon disembarking my flight. After making my way to arrivals, I then headed for the bureau of exchange for some Swedish Krona. The Swedish Krona is not so expensive on the currency exchange, but mind you, the standard of living is quit high! It cost me about 60 Swedish Krona (approximately 6 Euros) for a decent cup of coffee in one of the Airport’s fine cafés. According to expats, Stockholm is 19% cheaper than London, 20% cheaper than Oslo & 21% more expensive than Berlin.
One of the waitresses at this café happened to be a young black woman who was quit interested to know where I was coming from & what it was I was doing in Stockholm. She started by asking me where I was from, to which I responded “Namibia”. I watched her as she paused in disbelieve, pen in hand as she took my order. Telling her I was in town for a birthday party sounded even more unbelievable!
About an hour later, my person finally arrived and we made our way to the metro to get a train into the city. We were scheduled to check into “Hotel With Urban Deli”. Seeing as to how my person had visited Stockholm before on several occasions, we could easily get around.
Arriving at “Hotel With Urban Deli”, the atmosphere was chilled, harmonious and comfortably welcoming. The hotel had a modern hip & colorful interior decor, including a good number of though provoking pieces of wall photographs. The hotel is centrally located. It has an inbuilt restaurant, a fresh food Deli & a rooftop garden bar. The atmosphere was filled with zest as people moved in and out of the hotel creating a vibrant, but yet relaxed & casual ambiance.
We checked in and were directed to the elevator by the concierge. The bedrooms were simple and beautifully set-up. Considering the limited space which was available for set-up, I did not feel overwhelmed by the size of the room & rather found it to be cozy & conveniently arranged. The only down-side I found was when I needed to iron, I then needed to find the ironing room which was tucked away in a corner two to three turns away from the bedroom.
We paid a visit to the country side to get a feel of the Swedish summer houses. The drive to our destination was tranquil & clouds threatened rain. A look out the window showed vast open lands of nature enveloped in green! Drizzles of rain met us as we arrived at our destination and we quickly ran inside to take cover from the passing rain.
On this visit to Stockholm we managed to see Skansen, it was quite beautiful with plenty of animals to be seen; from snakes, to squirrels, to seals and so much more. We encountered traditional displays of Swedish women sitting outside their homes drinking tea and sharing stories.
Whilst in skansen, the weather got bad at some point and it started to rain. Since none of us had brought an umbrella, we managed to find shelter near the roof of one of the housing structures in the Skansen Park. It was truly a wonderful place to be, serene and peaceful. We grabbed some hot dogs & fries before heading out of the park.
Upon our return from Skansen, we headed to some ferries which were parked affront the Royal National Theater.
On the same day of our visit to skansen, we had also arranged to go on the archipelago, to visit the Stockholm islands. Did you know that Stockholm is made up of 14 Islands, connected by more than 50 bridges, which basically make up the whole city? Well now you know. Stockholm was beautiful, conveniently set up and not too overpopulated at that the time of our visit.
That evening was going to be the birthday party that primarily brought us into town, so we headed back to “Hotel With Urban Delhi’ to prepare ourselves accordingly for the night.The party was to be held at Münchenbryggeriet conference center but before heading there, we were to meet up with some friends at Ingalill’s apartment, so we could head over to the party together.
Arriving at the party venue, coats where given to the concierge and table numbers were randomly assigned. The theme was rather interesting, it is one I quite hope to use someday as well. The tables where given the names of capital cities of countries that the birthday lady had lived in or visited over the course of her life up to her birthday date, and guests were randomly assigned their seat numbers so as to make sure that everyone sat with people they were not totally familiar with. This gave everyone an opportunity to network & socialize and thus, there was never a dull moment in time.
To be frank, everyone on my table of 6 to 7 people hailed or was residing in a different country. To make matters more interesting, I found myself being the youngest member at the table that night. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of feedback with regards to travel, life, careers & family. I received a fresh perspective from a number of people who seemed to have had quite a good run in live. Their take on the topics discussed at the table was rather refreshing, as they approached the conversation with the mentality of living nowhere & everywhere all at once.
Ultimately, Stockholm left a great impression on me. The basic necessities were conveniently availed and people adhered to rules and regulations accordingly. I remember this one time we called a taxi and failed to specify that we were with 2 children. The taxi showed up, and though it had no awaiting customers, the driver refused to take us to our destinations as he did not have the children’s car sits as is legally mandated.
Whilst in Stockholm, we also witnessed an LGBT/GLBT parade. My first time ever baring witness to such and I thought to myself “what freedom!” And how patriotic it was to have other citizens openly support the cause, in the name of those who identified themselves as a part of this group. We stood amidst the crowd on the side-lines as the parading parties took up the road on King’s street!”
Stockholm was a fresh of breath air. Seeing how conveniently their country runs gives me hope for my own country which is still in the infancy of setting up and rectifying systems for the convenience of public use.
For more amazing pictures from stockholm, check out http://www.justimagephotography.com