Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Can I buy your glasses for 60 kronor?" "Umm these were 300 Euro..."

This past weekend I went to Stockholm, Sweden's capital city. Katreace, Katharina, and I left Friday afternoon after a freak hail-snow-rain-thunder-lightning storm (reminds me of home, sigh). After a quick ride on the Flyggbusarna to Malmo's bustling (not) airport, we were off to the big city. The flight is quite short so we arrived in the early evening, starving.

We checked into our hostel (voted number one in Stockholm, pip pip), then set out for food. As starvation got the better of us, we chose one of the first options along the strip leading to the central station. Upon first glance, this place looked pretty populated, therefore we deemed it suitable. After entering, we realized something was a little amiss about this place. We order cider and sandwiches and waited at a table. There was a strange gambling table at the back and a group of sketchy characters. Our assumptions of weirdness were confirmed after Katharina went to the bathroom and came out with the most foul look on her face. In a fluster of German and English, she tried to describe it's grossness but could not find the words. So, of course, I had to go see it for myself. Basically it was like a weird open concept bathroom (how very Sweden). To the left there was a low 6 inch high "door" and a urinal trough. Classy. Then there was a single room with a toilet in it. It was disgusting. Pee all over the floor etc. I washed my hands for about 40 minutes. Anyways, we had our sandwiches and left fairly promptly.

We got back to the hostel and were almost down for the count until a nice Aussie chap tempted us with an offer of drinks. I reckon we were all keen as mustard (Aussie slang for you). We headed out to a bar called KGB which was in walking distance. It was a Russian themed bar in a fairly bustling area. We were accosted at the door for 40 kronor for coat check (and cover, we later found out). Katreace was ever so appreciative of this service and to show such, she commented "Wow!" We scoped out the joint, realizing the downstairs weird metal music area was the only place with seats and grabbed some drinks. With drinks in hand, we headed down to the basement and I was greeted with a wave from a Swede I had never met. Both Kat and Kat asked me if I knew him and I said no. Minutes later a guy from the same table came over and started describing the friend who had waved and asked me if he thought he had a chance with me. I was both surprised and amused. This played out for a little bit, finally ending with "I don't know what I'm saying, but I think I'm hitting on you". Priceless. Languages barriers, at times, may be frustrating, but are mostly hilarious. We continued sipping our pear ciders, when another man came and offered Katharina 60 kronor for her Gucci glasses. The night kept getting better. Instead of seeing it go downhill, we decided to leave on this high note and save some excitement for the next day.

Nice and early the next morning we set out into a beautiful sunny day down to the harbour. We all fell in love with Stockholm, especially the lovely, old buildings. We decided on a boat tour to see the city from the water as it is considered the "Venice of the North". We passed many famous spots as well as lots of nature. Learning facts and the like, we sat outside on the top deck on some sort of animal skin. Questionable, yes. But so Scandinavian. Stockholm definitely has more typically Swedish people than Malmo. So much Svensk.

After our tour, we wandered to Gamla Stan, which is the old town part of Stockholm. It's tiny alleys and cute shops were ever so charming. We found a cafe in a cellar to have some much needed sustenance where Katreace almost tripped to her death and hit her head on a low ceiling. Though delicious, the place was a bit of a hazard - lots of hidden steps and dropped ceilings. We continued to wander through the old town, browse shops, and of course, look for the best spot for pastries. Katharina was on a hunt for a perfect kanelbullar (cinnamon bun) so this meant going in and out of many shops assessing their goods. We finally settled on this cute little place with the most amazing looks baked goods. Katharina got a kanelbullar, Katreace enjoyed home-made apple strudel with vanilla sauce, and I (as it was Princess Victoria's name day) delved into a slice of princess cake. We left satisfied...but wanting more...more baked goods. Baked goods forever. There were some certain muffins that Katharina kept close to her heart. We continued through the town to a bit of a shopping district where we browsed some stores before heading back to the hostel and then the grocery store.

After having stocked up on some breakfast and dinner ingredients, we hunkered down in the hostel for some relaxation. After resting up, we made some dinner and hung out in the common area watching a back and forth mix of soccer and a Swedish American Idol equivalent (it was the finals). During this time, we also searched for places to spend a lively night in Stockholm. A lot of places here have age limits above the drinking age (ex. 23) so that limited our options. We settled on Debaser (lovingly known as "The Basil"). We put on our faces, drank our dranks, and headed to another part of the city on the tunnelbana (aka Metro). Along with us came the Aussie from the night before, Rob, and a girl from the Netherlands, who became known as "Awesome" or "Lighter" (as she provided a lighter for Katharina) but really her name was Berdet (or beer tit). Really her name was a massacre. We danced the night away and finished it off with some Danish sausage. Multicultural, I know.

The next morning came far too quickly, but we had to go see the Vasa. It's basically a really, really old wooden ship that has been restored. I thought it was really cool, but the others had slightly different ideas. I guess a boat is only cool for so long. We spent a couple hours in here checking things out and then decided to find a new option. We ended up back in old town, at the same bakery as the day before - fancy that! We got more treats and chatted for a long while before deciding that we're in Stockholm so we should probably do something. Back out on the streets, our exhaustion caught up with us but this didn't stop us from seeing the Riadarholm Church and various other monuments and churches along the way. Finishing up the day, we ended up on a pedestrian street at a cafe for some dinner before collapsing at the hostel. Our flight was at seven, so we headed to the train station and caught a bus to the aiport. Though short and sweet, this trip was a load of laughs. Awkward Swedes, combined with great weather, delicious treats, and several other inside jokes really made this weekend a good one.

Dying of sleepiness, we got back to Malmo at about 11pm and rode our bikes home. Bleh. So cold. I then caught up with some lovelies on Skype and called it a night. I proceeded to sleep the entire next day which wasn't so bad as it was pooey outside. I ended up dragging my arse out of bed to work on some homework (perspective drawings, bleh) with Ingrid. We finished those up then had tea and dinner with Sarah in another student building. All and all, it was worth getting out of my cozy bed for. Tuesday I had class all day, but hey, at least it was sunny. Then we went to the pub close by to celebrate Katreace and Elise finishing their nursing practicum. It was open mic night which is always...interesting. Ha.

Today, I went to Copenhagen to visit a friend of my dad's. We went to some lesser known spots, had delicious lunch, and enjoyed the sites. We also saw the Queen's marching band. If I were a queen, I would not only have a marching band, but also a parade. Daily. With floats. It would be majestic. The weather was also perfect (though windy, but I've gotten used to that being a given now). I headed home after then went to the gym. Yep that right, went to another country and the gym in the same day. I'm quite accomplished. Now I'm sitting in my cozy bed again resisting the urge to sleep as I have to do some homework for photography class tomorrow. Hurrah!

My next big adventure (Poland, the land of sausage and vodka) isn't until April, but I'm sure I'll find something to ramble on about before then.

Fun fun facts of funnnn!

1. Stockholm and Malmo speak different dialects. This proved to be difficult, even when saying you don't speak Swedish.
2. People don't really know what sloppy joes are here. Don't worry, I'll spread the goodness to them.
3. ALSO! Europeans don't really celebrate St. Patty's. Tragic. Will someone have a Skype party with me? Thanks.
4. I am writing a paper for one of my classes on hockey. Could I be any more stereotypical? I might as well where a beaver pelt coat.


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