So here’s the story:
While working at the Governor’s office this summer, I met a guy from Sweden who was also working as an intern. Fast forward 4 months, and I am in Stockholm visiting my friend Nils. I took a short plane ride form Tallinn into the Arlanda (Stockholm) airport, caught the Arlanda express train into the city, and then rode the metro to get to Nils’s apartment. He then took me on a tour of his beautiful city. Parks, castles, and islands all work together to make Stockholm a city with a truly unique atmosphere. It was clear that poverty was extremely rare there. The public transportation system was utilized by all citizens, not just the ones who can’t afford a car (everyone there can afford one). It was quick and efficient. And clean. Like the whole city. The extent of the trash I saw in Stockholm was maybe one cigarette butt. After wandering around for a bit, with me taking lots of photos (hey, I’ll admit I’m a tourist), we stopped by a grocery store where Nils picked up some typical Swedish foods for me to try for dinner.
In his fancy kitchen, Nils prepared Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and a few funny fishy things. The meatballs and potatoes were of course delicious. The fishy things were… different. 🙂 Later that evening we went to join some of Nils’s friends at a bar that was pretty close by. That was where I learned that the stereotype of Swedes as tall, blonde, and beautiful was absolutely accurate. All of his friends were soo handsome and well dressed, and they all could fluently speak English (luckily for me). Then we headed to a place called Sturecompagniet. It’s supposedly Stockholm’s biggest club, and I don’t doubt it. We had to wait a little while before being allowed in, but it was so beautiful when we got in. This place had multiple dance floors, but the star was the main floor. It was topped with a 3 floor high victorian-design atrium. You can look this place up on Google and you’ll see how cool it is. Those Swedes sure know how to do clubs. Anyway, after a while, Nils and I called it a night and headed to bed back at his apartment.
Friday was full of adventures as well. Some carpenters knocked on the door bright and early. They were there to build a balcony for his apartment, along with the other apartments in his building. Nils had to go to class that morning, and I took that time to get glamorous (aka shower). We met near his university so I could catch up with him and a few friends for lunch. We went to an interesting place. They specialized in Italian food, kebabs, and pasta salads. Hmmm… Haha but Nils picked out a pasta salad for me which ended up being really good. It had all sorts of things in it. Full of goodness. Nils had to go back to class after that but left me with directions for getting to the famous Vasa Museum. I took a bus to get there. Yep, little country girl Abbey took a city bus. But it’s Stockholm. I’m sure it’s not like taking a MARTA bus in Atlanta.. No poverty, remember?
Anyway, so I got to the Vasa Museum and it was crazy. It’s a giant boat built for the king’s royal fleet back in the 1600s. The reason why it was so cool (and pretty lame) was that it sunk on its very first voyage. It didn’t even get to leave Stockholm harbor before sinking. It was way too modern for its time and the guys didn’t build it properly. Oops. So the boat sat in the harbor for around 350 years. It ended up sinking down into the mud and was pretty much forgotten about. Someone decided that it would be a good idea to dig the thing up in the 1960, so the Swedish king opened his checkbook and had it restored. Now this giant boat is sitting in a museum, almost completely (95%) in tact. I went on a guided tour in English while in the museum. Our guide looked like a pirate 🙂 but he was so enthusiastic, so it was a great experience. I made my way back to Nils’s apartment again (didn’t even get lost once) and we went to the grocery store again. Nils was hosting a dinner party that evening for me and some of his best friends, so we had to get some food. Luckily everyone was bringing a dish to share, so we didn’t have to go crazy with the food. I made quesadillas because they’re oh so easy, and the store had tortillas, so I figured why not. Nils got the ingredients for a super fancy salad. His friends, all wearing super stylish outfits because that’s just what they do, came around 8, and we all had a wonderful time. This group of friends was different than the ones from the previous evening, but they were equally nice and welcoming.
The next morning I got ready to leave. Nils made us a couple of cups of coffee (Swedes drink a ton of coffee) and we chatted in his kitchen before time ran out and I had to tackle the transportation game once again.
I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to visit, and my guide was pretty wonderful as well. Sweden is such a beautiful place, just like its people.