So, this past August 13th-20th, I took off for my solo trip of the summer to Stockholm, Sweden. This was to be the conclusion, the final trip of my whirlwind of a summer which was FILLED with adventures.
The five weeks of vacation I had this summer consisted of:
My little sister flying over to Frankfurt from Boston to visit me, her first time ever in Europe. We had a blast together, venturing to Paris and Berlin, as well as Rudesheim, (one of the most gorgeous cities in all of Germany and just one hour from Frankfurt). She stayed for three weeks, a decent chunk of time during which we had loads of laughs, adventures and exciting moments together.
Then Judith, one of my best friends and I took off to Edinburgh, Scotland. God, did I love this city. It was exactly as I hoped it would be. Gothic, beautiful, the architecture was distinctive with dark church spires piercing the sky, the stone on the majority of buildings seemed to be covered in soot, the city felt like the setting of a dark, Celtic fairy-tale. Around every corner was something begging to be photographed I can absolutely see how Harry Potter was inspired by this city. It had an enchanting, haunted, magical quality to it. I would love to go back sometime in the near future.
And Stockholm, my final destination for the summer. Surprisingly, Sweden has not previously been on my list of "must see" places. Sure, it intrigued me slightly, but it wasn't at the top of my list. To be honest, it wasn't even in the middle. However, upon deciding I wanted to take a solo trip, I began Googling ideas. At first I thought I might go with Spain or Portugal, but that felt too predictable. Plus I have been to both. Stockholm kept coming up on various lists as I furthered my research. So finally, I allowed the name to awaken my attention. I looked into Stockholm a bit and quickly decided, why not? I am going to go somewhere different, somewhere I hadn't anticipated going.
So, I bought my plane ticket and the trip was set in motion.
On my first day in Stockholm, I took the subway to the Old Town (subway stop: Gamla Stan), ready to wander, camera in hand, book to read and notebook for writing zipped snugly in purse. I was ready. I stumbled upon this whimsical, extraordinary candy shop. How cool is this!?! God, I love the old time feel, the colors, the filled-to-bursting fun of the inside of the shop. The proprietor eyed me wearily as I asked to take some photos but I snapped away happily anyway. I just could not get enough of the inside of this shop. No, I didn't get anything. I just totally enjoyed the decor and atmosphere.
I quickly fell in love with the architecture of Sweden/Stockholm. It had a fantastical quality to it. Colorful, ornate, fantastical, eye-catching. I had so much fun wandering and taking photos. I stopped on a little side street, quiet, charming, totally beautiful, breezy and serene. I stumbled upon a tea shop that was pretty swanky. I decided to sit down and have some while I did some writing. I sample the Green tea that was flavored with rose. This was one of the best teas I have ever sampled, wow. So lovely. Lightly floral and sweet, but with the usual distinctive green tea flavor. Delicious. I enjoyed a scone along with it, missing them from Scotland. God, the scones in Scotland. To. Die. For. This one didn't quite live up to the standard of what I sampled in Scotland, but then that was to be expected. A countries traditional dishes are always best when sampled in the country from which they originate, of course.
I was loving all these little narrow cobbled alleyways. Romantic and intriguing. They made for the perfect photo moments.
|This restaurant was one of the higher recommended ones in the city. I really enjoyed it. The food was excellent, the atmosphere cozy.|
|Some photo fun ;-)|
For this particular entry, "Stockholm Photos Part One", its going to be a bit less text heavy then the next ones will be. For the first couple of days, I just wandered, took photos, stopped for tea and snacks, read my books, did a lot of writing, and chatted with people in my hostel. I took a boat ride out to one of the outermost islands that makes up the thousands of islands of Sweden a few days later. This will be in my next entry!
However, just wandering and exploring Stockholm during my first couple of days, I felt contented, happy, at peace. I really enjoyed myself. I love to travel alone, just as much as I love traveling with a friend or loved one. So this was a blast for me.
|The way cool Stockholm subway. Each one totally unique from the other...(see the following two photos as well). Awesome!|
Ah yes, the Stockholm Library. What became one of my favorite spots in the city instantly. On my first morning in Stockholm, I headed to the library which was a mere 5 minutes on foot from my sweet little hostel (which I HIGHLY recommend the way. I loved this hostel. Compared with the one I stayed at in Edinburgh which was on the dingy, dirty, party-amosphere side, this one in Stockholm was charming, clean, inviting, and lovely. I would stay there again, no question. And I do not particularly like the idea of hostels in general. If given the choice, I would always prefer to have my own private room. But this hostel? Wonderful).
Anyway, upon entering the library, I gasped. It was just as gorgeous as I had heard it rumored to be. The main room of the library is shaped like a gigantic cylinder, the top a dome. The books line the entire perimeter, making for an eye-catching, colorful, totally awesome interior. The rooms design is unique and memorable. I loved it from the moment I walked in.
I headed downstairs to the information desk and asked the serious looking librarian in glasses, might I please be able to have a library card for one week? She was warm, friendly, but told me that sadly she was sorry but no, they could not give out cards for just a week. I decided to try once more before giving up ;-)
I sighed with exaggerated disappointment and told her, "Oh man, I am so bummed. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to find out that my hotel was one block away from the famed Stockholm library!!! I love books so much. Such a gorgeous library you have here." She smiled at me, I could sense she was softening a bit, and then she spoke a moment later. "Alright," she said, "I can give you a card that will be good for two weeks. How is that?"
I gave her a big smile, thanking her profusely.
With my new library card in hand, I headed upstairs to the English section, which was extensive. I spent the next hour leisurely scanned the book spines, running my finger along them, feeling immense pleasure, relaxation and joy, taking out books that looked interesting to me to read the inside flaps. I left with a stack of three books. And I returned there almost every morning when on my way into the city for the day. Just to browse a bit. I absolutely loved this.
Stay tuned for part TWO of my Stockholm, Sweden photos!!!