Last week I visited Stockholm for the first time. Largely due to the fact that my sister was working DreamLeague, so I could crash in her room and save greatly on costs. It was, all in all, great fun, and Stockholm has definitely gotten a warm (or should I say freezing cold!) place in my heart.
When I arrived it was late. One of my gamer friends was nice enough to pick me up at the airport, and the first thing that struck me (other than the cold) was how empty the roads were. Of course the fact that it was about 1AM will have had something to do with this, but paired with thick forests on either side of the highway I definitely experienced a sort of Last-of-Us vibe, where we might have been the only people in the world.
Off to a good start!
The next day sis and I went over to the bakery for breakfast. We bought what was going to be one of many Chai lattes and took them and some croissants back home. Delicious. I also must note that the pull-out couch I slept on was of excellent quality and made for a refreshing night’s sleep the night prior.
That day we went to the DreamLeague Monster Studios and boy was I excited! It was really cool to finally see the other side of that same area I’d been looking at on Twitch.tv for all this time. I met the other people that were on the show, the production people, and everyone was super-friendly. All in all the whole DreamLeague crew seemed to be functioning as one well-oiled machine. No doubt due to years of experience. I, too, made an appearance on the show that night, much to sis’ surprise! We had fun though, and I’m glad I was asked to do that.
That weekend I spent meeting up with friends, eating awesome food, and doing karaoke for the first time ever! (I know, blasphemy!) It was awesome. What with winter coming the days were short, so darkness was aplenty, and this, paired with the plentiful coffee shops, and lights everywhere gave the whole city a sort of Christmassy feel. And then it started snowing! Honestly it couldn’t have been timed better.
Stockholm’s old town (Gamla Stan) that we visited on Sunday was beautiful. It has a (for European standards quite small) cathedral, and is swarming with tourist shops, but the buildings themselves are picturesque, like from some story book. All painted merry pastel colors that go very well together. Stockholm also has a lot of rivers/waterways going on. Old town itself is on an island. In addition, jutting out from the water are sometimes rocks, on which buildings are perched. Coming from the flattest country in Europe this already makes me feel like I’m on vacation.
Turns out that during my visit, Stockholm received what was for that time of year an unusual amount of snow. Now I love me some snow, but I wasn’t as prepared clothing-wise as might have been smart. So it was often cold, and cold asks for warm beverages! I mentioned the Chai lattes earlier, well, I had many. I don’t know if you as a reader have had the pleasure of consuming this heavenly beverage, if not I highly recommend it. To me it became a sort of game to try out the Chai latte at different coffee places. Certainly Starbucks does a good job, as does the Espresso Coffeehouse (the Swedish Starbucks). The bakery we visited daily had the best one in my opinion, which is a shame because obviously back home I have nowhere to get it anymore. I don’t know what it is about Chai lattes. The comforting spices, the creaminess of the milk, the much needed warmth in cold Stockholm win.. autumn! In any case, every one of them was delicious in its own way. It’s actually made me consider figuring out the best way to make Chai lattes at home! Something for another blog post, maybe.
As a city, I think I may have fallen in love with Stockholm a little. On my last day we went for a walk by the waterline. It was snowing steadily by then. Everthing was beautiful now, even with the land almost in the full grip of winter, and an overcast sky. But I could just imagine how breathtaking it must look in summer. The houses among the shore were colorful, with all different colors like olive green, dark red and a mustard yellow. Many that sat on the water had decks where one can sit and look out over the water.
On our walk we also ran into a few people walking their dogs. In the city center when I had come across people with dogs, I had noticed that some dogs has been wearing coats. Where then I had assumed it was just a few quirky people, you know, the kind who like to put clothes on tiny dogs, it seemed that this was actually a regular thing! Also for bigger dogs, if they had very short coats. And how cool is that! I mean, I of course frown upon people who put dogs in handbags and put them in tiny pink sweaters and whatnot, but in Sweden it actually genuinely gets cold enough for even bigger dogs to need to wear coats! Just imagining the possibilities has me excited about the prospect of perhaps someday moving to Sweden. 🙂
On the day I flew out it was snowing quite heavily, and so instead of catching a ride to the airport with one of my friends, we decided I’d better take the train instead. I had a good fortune of traveling to the airport by Arlanda Express, a very sweet modern piece of technology that, (for the hefty price of 28 euros) will transport you from Stockholm Central Station to Arlanda Airport within 20 minutes. It was a great connection, and I spend another few hours exploring the different terminals and all the shops. As you do.
Overall I had a great trip! Yes there was knäckebröd and IKEA furniture, but Stockholm certainly has a charm that is all its own. When visiting I recommend looking further than just the popular Gamla Stan (Old Town), because despite the fact that it is beautiful, it is also very tourist oriented. There are some nice shops certainly, but I felt more immersed in Stockholm ‘culture’ so to say, when walking the streets near Medborgarplatsen and Hötorget.
10/10 would visit again!