Hej from Stockholm!

So it’s been four days since I arrived in Stockholm. This is the first day that I have not been running around like a wild woman trying to squeeze every dime out of my Stockholm card. I’ve gone to more museums than I have in perhaps my entire life. Who knew I was so cultured?

I successfully followed the travel advice of the king of travel himself– Rick Steves. I successfully knocked myself out on the plane with some cold hard ZQuil. By knocked myself out I mean I slept for 4 hours. Then I woke up and watched “Wild” and shared some wine with my seat mate. When I got to Stockholm. I refused to let myself sleep until a reasonable hour. Then, after 12 solid hours of sleep, I think I totally whipped jet lag. Thank god– my jet lag was so bad when I traveled to the Netherlands that I honestly don’t even remember the first two days of that trip. I do remember Kiel and I staring at the ceiling all night long. I also remember how wrecked I was when I realized Netflix, my insomnia medicine, didn’t work in other countries.

Day 1: I look very Swedish

“You looked so Swedish! That’s why I speak Swedish to you!” I heard this roughly four times just on my first day here. When I walk up to a counter somewhere I’m instantly smacked with super fast and overwhelmingly complicated Swedish. I usually stare for a moment in awe before declaring myself as a dumbfounded English speaker. Then, the individual continues the conversation in the most beautiful and impeccable English possible. What that feels like I may never know.

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The first place I ventured to was Gamla Stan also known as old town. This was the moment I realized where I was. It was an emotional moment. I am an emotional being. It looked exactly like all of the photos from every travel book and site I have seen.  Cobblestone streets, very few cars, and very very old.

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Next I went to the royal palace to purchase my Stockholm card — a card that entitled me to admission to many museums and all transportation for three days.  On my ways spotted my first condiment udder pictured above.  I haven’t seen one in action yet.  I am very intrigued.  The royal palace was my first museum stop. Royalty is so strange. Do you see that chic purse that Swedish Princess Lillian made herself?  I’m currently looking into ordering a Kate/Bella bag. I took a picture of that bishop suit because I felt like it looked like a wiener wearing a bishop suit and that thought made me laugh out loud. By myself. In a royal palace.

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I went to another museum attached to the palace.  I won’t even name it. It was really boring.  I took this picture of a pile of wood.  It was a dark and scary museum.

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This crazy airbag helmet is everywhere here.

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Views while walking along the water in Södermalm. Södermalm is a lot like Portland.  I’m currently sitting in a cafe that might as well be Stumptown — complete with waxed mustaches.

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Kiel, who comments on my toilet paper usage on the daily, will be pleased to find that most Swedish bathrooms only give you two squares at a time.  Sweden’s got your back, KJ.

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I took this photo after falling asleep sitting up during a video installation at Fotografiska — a really fantastic photography museum.  I call this photo “Jetlagged tourist trying to take selfie while being stared at by disapproving Swede.”

Day 2: A sinking boat, craft beer, and Swedish people invite me to a picnic

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The Vasa Museum is pretty impressive.  They built an entire museum AROUND a ship that sunk within 20 minutes of sailing to battle.  WAMP waaaaaamp! Big fail.  Lots of people died of disease in the building of the ship and more people died when it sank.  But seriously, look at it!  It was a really nice try.

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Some jelly fish and views from a very beautiful beer garden.  This was the hoppiest beer I could find.  It wasn’t Portland beer, but nothing ever is… The Swedes pronounce IPA “eepa”.

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Every Swede I’ve talked to has declared their people unfriendly.  That being said, five natives invited me to join them at their cheese and shnaps filled picnic!  Of course they each took turns remarking on how incredibly un-Swedish this was.  I don’t think the folks here give themselves enough credit.  They are welcoming when they put their mind to it. We can all consider ourselves closed off sometimes.  It’s not too common in the U.S. to invite some rando to picnic with you.  Unless you’re Kiel– he’s the friendliest person I’ve ever known and would invite a cold-blooded murderer to lunch with us any time.

These lovely folks stuffed me to the gills with wine, cheese, bread, and meat.  We later traveled to a bar together where I had my first experience with Stockholm bouncers.  As it turns out, these bouncers can tell you to scram with or without reason.  Wrong shoes? SCRAM! Sloppy shirt?  SCRAM!  Might have had an alcoholic drink in the past 24 hours? LATER!  We didn’t get into the bar because one of the men’s eyes looked too sleepy.  Dang.

Above you can see pictures from my walk that led me to my Swedish friends as well as my first crawfish experience.  Not sold on it.  I had heard that folks I’m Sweden like to jump in the water at random.  I now have proof.

Day 3: It’s cold and raining and I have a pity party for myself.

Nobody said traveling by myself would be easy.  It’s not.  You have a lot of time to think and you kind of get sick of yourself.  Today I spoke to the Red Cross guy on the street for 30 minutes to escape my own boringness.  Yesterday I felt like I did when I was 7 and my mom sent me to camp.  I wrote her a letter s day begging her to come pick me up immediately.  She got the letters the day she actually had to come get me anyway.  Bummer.

It pissed rain and everything closes early on Sunday.  So I went back to my airbnb and had myself a good old fashioned pity party.  When I woke up this morning I realized that this is in fact the point of me going at this alone.  I need to learn to not freak out so much.  If you relax, take a deep breath, and vow to change your ‘tude, you will survive!  I have five more days until my friend Hannah arrives.  Until then I bet I will visit the pity palace a few more times.  But I will live.  This I know.

This post has gotten ridiculously long.  Thanks for sticking with me!  If there are grammatical errors they will remain.  I am off to travel to my next airbnb!  It’s very close to a very nice part of the city and I’m excited to get there!

Peace, love, and patchouli –

Portland Pollyanna

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