Surprising Stockholm

Just found this from 4 years ago, that I never published..

Anything after Iceland was going to be a come down. On arrival I didn’t like the place and wondered how I was going to enjoy the next 4 days….this was to be short lived.

Stockholm is a city of water and boats, both of which I love. The waterfront is lined with old boats and signs telling you of the history behind each boat. Beautifully architectured buildings surround the water’s edge, with a lot of the rooftops adorned in green and gold

It is lovely to walk around the city looking at the sun shining on the water or admiring the buildings. The water is clear and you are able to fish for free in any of the numerous rivers. This makes it a popular activity for locals and for the refugees, trying to catch something for their tea. You’d see the (what looked like Romanian) women washing their clothes in ponds that were outside restaurants!

As we walk around hand in hand admiring the views, Kev turns and says (in his Barnsley Bob accent) “I love thee, tha noz, even tho thee’s fat I love thee fat chops and thee fat bum!” I should have slapped him, but after 31 years I’m used to it, and crease over in fits of laughter. So much for a romantic walk 😂

We (or should I say Kev talked me in to it) decided to stay in a mixed dorm in a hostel as this was the cheapest option, at £40 a night. We can’t afford to splash out with travelling for so long. To say I was dreading it was an understatement.

Our bunks couldn’t have been closer to the other bunk that was in our room, but the hostel had velcroed material to the bunks to act as screens..pfft

We were sharing with a young Polish couple and 2 young German lads. I took the bottom bunk and Kev took the top. This was I could hang my towel over the bunk so it was more private.

Our roomies turned out to be really nice. Kev was chatting to the Germans about football, who were also fanatics, and I had a chat with the polish couple, from Warsaw. We’ve stayed in hostels before but always had a private room. I never liked the ideal of sharing a room with complete strangers. When I go to bed I like the room to be dark and quiet so to share with someone who snored would do my head in. The first night went well. Apparently the only person that snored was me! Haha Kev kept saying “shush”. Oops

The kitchen, like most places, was a hub of activity in the hostel. They had a sign on the door saying “kitchen” in all different languages, then another saying “most foreign languages are learnt better in the kitchen than in school”. This was quite apt as we were sat in there talking and eating with, French, German, Canadian, Australian, Italian and Chinese. I think we struck lucky with the other travellers as they all had great personalities and we were swapping travelling stories and giving each other insider tips on places we’d yet to travel that others had previously visited.

The place had a great feeling and everyone made new comers welcome. It was kept spotlessly clean and had a chill out room, with huge soft leather sofas in, and had a movie night at 8pm most nights. We sat and watched “The Do Over” with Adam Sandler….funny!

On a morning I’d get up and do our breakfast, which was usually very British. Cornflakes, bacon and eggs. On our second morning there was a German guy having ham and cheese sandwiches in crusty rolls, a Chinese guy cooking noodles with chicken and Chinese leaf, me doing my traditional English and a Chinese girl having sliced crusty bread with tinned slimy fish on, topped with spread cheese, a bowl of swedish meatballs with mash and cheese sauce, some gouda cheese and grapes!!! 😣 ugh

We went off to explore the old town with its narrow colourful streets filled with shops and coffee bars. Like most European cities, the locals sit outside having a beer or coffee in any weather. The bars provide blankets on the seats and outdoor heaters, so they sit chatting about their day and having a laugh with friends and colleagues after a hard days work. We sat outside an Irish bar and had a pint of lager and a bottle of cider for which we were charged £15!!! This was to be our only alcoholic drink in Stockholm.

Stockholm is a very busy city with cars and, like Amsterdam, a lot of cyclists. They are lethal! They wizz around the streets and pathways on the designated cycle paths, with no care for pedestrians. You take your life in your hands on the pavements never mind the roads

As we were walking through the little streets looking in the shop windows, I said to Kev “oh wow. I just caught sight of myself in the shop window, and I definitely need to diet when we get home” to which my darling husband replied “really? I’m shocked thee could see tha self in just one window I thought thee’d need 2!” He is full of loving quotes like this, he only gets away with it as it’s “not him saying it, it’s his alter ego Barnsley Bob”. He told me I wouldn’t be able to walk that far and he understood. He’s quite considerate due to my arthritis in my knees. Oh no nothing to do with my knees. I can’t walk far “cos of me cankles”

To counteract it I did ask him what he fancied for tea “you between two slices o’ bread I think thee’s gawjus” came the reply with a little wink. My heart melted 😍

We decided to explore further afield after Kev reading up on the surrounding area. We took a ferry to Grinda. Wow. It was stunning. Kev below is showing how shocked he was at the sights of this little island

We realised we like to be in the “wilds” rather than the city now. We walked down the nature trails and saw little holiday huts spread throughout the tiny island, with a firepit burning outside. It took us back to our camping in Arizona. We were jealous.

It felt like we had the whole island to ourselves as we walked around exploring. We stopped to stroke the sheep as they rushed to the gate as we walked past. They were very cute with thick curly hair all around their faces

The island had loads of vista points, with its green trees turning autumnal, a marina and little red houses dotted between the trees. We walked along all the trails covering the full island on foot.

We sat on a bench at the marina watching the locals slathering butter on crusty bread and drinking steaming coffee whilst sat in their yachts. We sat on the sidelines eating our philadelphia and chorizo salami sandwiches like the poor relations, with “us ankies on are eds” as Kev said. Haha.

We spent 4 hours exploring the tiny island before getting the ferry to another place which I can’t remember the name of! Lol. It was very quaint though…again with water and boats surrounding it

The last night in the hostel, and to be honest it hasn’t been so bad. We’ve laughed and bonded with people we’ll probably never see again, but they made our stay in the hostel a whole lot better. Would I do it again? Maybe…it depends where and what the hostel is like but for now I’m looking forward to having our own room in Copenhagen at our airbnb home.

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