Pulling into Stockholm I was exhausted and excited. And an hour ahead. We gained an hour somewhere in the waterway between here and Finland. Pretty cool if you ask me. So I’d prebooked my Hostel, as I am want to do, and, armed with directions, I set about to find the place. Of course, the directions they proffer are from the central train station, not from the Ferry port, so I first need to make my way there. I do this, with a 20 kilo bag on my back. At the train station, I then find the bus which is going to take me towards the hostel. Not the easiest thing in the world, considering the size of the Stockholm train station, but find it I must so find it I do (I don’t know why I’m talking like this, except I’ve been grading papers all day and I feel the need for some pomposity). Anyway… I get to the hostel (two hours early) drop my bags and grab a map to go off and explore the day. As I look at the map to orient myself, I discover, much to my chagrin, the ferry port, where I entered this fair city 90-120 minutes earlier, is a ten minute walk from where I now stood.
That’s right… all I had to do was climb some stair and walk 50 meters and bang, hostel front door. Oh well, as has been pointed out, the European food is agreeing with me so the extra bit of exercise couldn’t hurt. Well, now I’m armed with a map and a very friendly hostel employee, Elinor, has directed me to a local movie theatre (Batman just opened here and I was dying!) so I head off.
The first piece of art I see in the beautiful city is a weird little man thumbing his nose at the world. How could I not love this
place? I make my way to the Old Town, via the main shopping street where I find the first science fiction bookstore I’ve seen in Europe, and head towards the opera house. Right in front of the Opera is the launch point for a bus and boat city tour I had decided to take. I got there a little early (well, depend on how you look
at it – I missed the 10:30 departure and the 12:30 was still 90 minutes away), bought my ticket and went for a wander. I discovered that I had come to Stockholm right in the middle of Pride Festival! There were rainbow flags everywhere! Now, this wouldn’t be so bad, except it explained why my hostel was so freaking expensive! It also explained some of the weird window displays I’d been seeing.
I also had a nice look at the river and the palace, checked out where the Nobel museum was and even walked through the free part of the dance museum (odd place, it really was the ballet/ethnic dance museum). By that time, the bus was ready to be boarded (is that passive construction?) and I saw a good number of
interesting sights. Mostly, though, it was a lay of the land kind of deal where I saw some of the things I wanted to go back and see again when I had more time and energy. The boat portion of the trip, while pretty, was kind of a waste of time. Not a whole lot of historical information (the lunch
I’d gotten as part of my tour wasn’t enough to feed a super model) and we spent more time waiting for locks to open and close than we did actually seeing sights. Ah well. You live and learn, right?
On the boat, though, I did have a lovely conversation with a couple from back east in the states. Their daughter was over for some sort of martial arts competition/camp thing and they decided to come out and cheer her on. That’s me, though, huh? I can meet and talk
to anyone, anywhere. Certainly makes serendipity more frequent.
Afterwards, I went to the palace and while I was in line to buy tickets, I found out about the “Stockholm Card.” A number of European cities have these things – they’re like all access passes to the museums and public transportation. You can get them for a various number of days and in the past, it never seemed to be worth it, but for some reason, Stockholm called out to me. So I bought the three day card and then wondered what to do with myself. Now, you might think that
since I had this card, I would just start tearing through museums and riding willy nilly on the local busses and subways, right? Wrong. See, it’s good for 72 hours from the first use and I figured that if I didn’t use it the day I bought it, I would still be good for transport on my last day. So, card in hand, I walked to the movie theatre and watched Batman (which I will be seeing again back in Vegas) then headed to the hostel for some well deserved sleep.