Without further ado (I apologize for the delay), here is part two of my solo trip in Stockholm, Sweden, which took place during the dates of August 13th-20th.
I believe I left off in discussion of the stunningly gorgeous Stockholm library. It was utterly fabulous. I went here every morning to browse, completely in heaven.
On my second day wandering the city, the weather turned gray, chilly and drizzly. What better activity for a rainy day than reading, writing and snacking in a cozy little cafe?
First I made my way down to the harbor area to see about booking a trip. I wanted to take a boat ride out to one of the thousands of islands that make up Sweden. I had settled on Sandhamn, about a 2.5 hour boat ride away from Stockholm. This particular island is one of the outermost ones, close to the edgy of the choppy Baltic sea. You can read a short snippet of fun facts about Sandhamn here if you like.
After checking out boat schedules and prices, I asked the ticket sales-boy where I might find a non-touristy (key word) charming little cafe to hunker down in for the afternoon? He recommended Snickarbacken 7, circling it on my little map of the city for me. I made my way through the chilly, deceptively feeling autumnal air to what he promised was the perfect place. He delivered on his promise. I loved this little cafe. Dimly lit, all of the tables set with a single lit candlestick, the inside heavily wooded, cozy, slightly romantic, very inviting.
I sat in this sweet little spot for around 3 hours that afternoon, doing loads of writing, finished reading half of a book, and enjoying a few cups of tea which were so charmingly served in bell jars (LOVE this) as well as enjoying some of their banana bread, super tasty. I absolutely loved this cafe and this afternoon. See below for the photos...
|Photos of the Stockholm harbor...|
|Banana bread and tea at Snickarbacken 7|
|Doing some serious reading and writing at Snickarbacken 7|
|I had a surprisingly tasty, really low priced (for Sweden) burger at Vigarda for dinner one evening. I would recommend this spot for burgers in Stockholm, absolutely. As well as if you are just trying to save a few pennies, since everything in Stockholm is obscenely expensive.|
On Wednesday, I was off to Sandhamn. I was super excited, looking forward to this adventure outside of the city and to seeing one of the islands that makes up Sweden. Apparently this is a new development. Boats taking people for tours of the islands. I believe I read that this has only begun being possible within the last 20 years or so.
I paid for my ticket and hopped aboard the boat, which filled with people fast. I found myself sitting next to an older couple. I am having trouble recalling their names just now. I believe they were Ton (as in, short of Anton) and Marie. These two were visiting Sweden from the Netherlands. They were lovely. Warm, easy to chat with, engaging, interested and interesting. I really enjoyed our conversation, which went on easily for an hour. They had four grown children and were enjoying traveling on their own, now that the kids are grown. We conversed and laughed about a whole variety of different topics (US politics- there's a laugh-worthy one, traveling, hobbies, our work, college loans in the US, life in Europe versus the US, etc).
Meanwhile, during the nearly-three-hour boat ride, I popped out onto the boat deck frequently to snap photos of the scenery. I LOVED it. I felt like I was back in New Hampshire. It was SO New England-esque.
The water was choppy and uneven. The skies were blue but covered in heavy, thick, white clouds. The coastline was rocky, rugged, and forested, breathtakingly gorgeous, boats sprinkled across the seas surface. Multi-colored and varying sized boats dotted the harbors. Red clapboard houses with white trim seem to dominate, in terms of color and style, though most of the shorelines are pretty bare, either decorated in rockiness or greenery.
All of this oozed New Hampshire charm (where I am from originally <3) and filled me with yearning and nostalgia.
The following photos are all ones I snapped during the three hour boat ride, from Stockholm to Sandhamn.
|And now, arriving at Sandhamn....!!|
The following photos are of my wandering the island of Sandhamn. I absolutely loved this. People come from all over the world to boat the waters between these Swedish islands, which are near carbon copies of my home turf ;-) how cool it was to discover this. Home seemed to be closer than I had thought.
Its ironic, so interesting. I was once so bored by and desperate to get away from my home state of New Hampshire. I thought it was dull and uninteresting. In the past few years though (I wonder, is this a culmination of age or just having been away from home for so long? Or both?), I have developed a new longing and nostalgia for my home state that was never there previously.
Riding through these uneven waters and gazing out at the wild landscape scenery, I am back home. It feels creepy almost. Like I am vacillating between gazing off the boat and seeing New Hampshire, as well as my childhood summer time spot in Marquette, Michigan where my family has a little cottage right on Lake Superior. A couple of times, I nearly forgot that I was in Sweden. I could almost taste the ocean breeze of New England. I could smell the air on my Moms dock as the sun is setting and the air is just becoming tinged with cool. I could taste the watery breeze of riding a boat across any of the lakes in New Hampshire. I imagined the narrow, winding back streets of New Hampshire as I walked the sandy, woodsy back streets of Sandhamn. I totally drank in this experience and reveled in it, because of the personal meaning and symbolism it had for me especially.
|Check out how totally cute, rustic and charming this cafe is!!!|
|I am loving the dangling light bulbs from the entryway of this little cottage.|
The entire island was utterly charming, laid back, sparsely populated, quiet, super sweet and inviting, filled with beachy charm. I loved wandering, taking photos and just enjoying the beautiful island setting. I imagine in living here, time would have a sense of slowing down. The island was tiny. One could explore the entire thing in a couple of hours. The feeling here was intimate, communal and cozy. While I could not literally imagine wanting to live somewhere this tiny full time/year round, I did absolutely love coming here. I was excited, romanced by and enchanted by every moment I spent on Sandhamn. I would love to return for longer at some point. And the slightly disembodying feeling I had of being back home while here, I actually really enjoyed this. It filled me with a sense of comfort and joy.
|These were my favorite two little houses.|
|I sat at this little cafe for an hour of so, enjoying a tea and watching people, both residents and tourists, meander on by.|
Oh my word. Crazy story. While waiting at the end of the dock in Sandhamn, along with a crowd of people who were awaiting the same boat I was (which would return us to Stockholm), we watched as what appeared to be our boat moved in closer to the dock. The wind was violent, making the water choppier and dark. The huge boat bobbed precariously back and forth, sometimes jerking erratically from one side to another as though it were a toy, light and weightless. We all watched, around one hundred of us, fixed stares on the boat as we stood on the dock and waited. A few minutes later, the boat SMASHED into the side of the dock. Thankfully not the dock upon which we stood, another dock next to us. Everyone, including myself, gasped. There was a HUGE hole in the side of what was apparently the boat that would be transporting us back to Stockholm.
Watching this, I imagined a scenario something close to a la Titanic and began to worry, feeling hesitant about getting on this boat now and having to ride it three hours across the sea. Thankfully my worries were put to rest when they told us we were unable to boat this boat, that because it had smashed into the dock, they wouldn't be sailing it. Whew. HUGE sigh of relief. I was hoping they would come to that conclusion. So we all piled onto another boat and got home about 30 minutes later than we were schedule to.
That was nuts though!!!
|My favorite boat back in Stockholm harbor.|
|Boats back in Stockholm harbor.|
|I could not get enough of this cafe. How cute and charming is this???|
Stay tuned for part THREE, the final part of my Stockholm photos :-D coming in 48 hours or so!!