We’ve passed through Sweden a few times on this trip, but Stockholm is the first destination we’ve actually stopped at. It’s also the last leg of my adventure. Sad times indeed!
Arriving in Sweden’s capital stuffed full of sweets because that’s apparently what Swedes do on Saturdays, so, culture!, we headed out for last night celebrations, starting with a quaint, cosy restaurant where we could try classic Swedish meatballs and apple and cinnamon puddings. Venturing down iron stairs into a basement room reserved just for our group, the night was well and truly off to a wonderful start.
Stuffed from the excellent spread, the next stop was one I’d been looking forward to since booking the tour – Ice Bar. Attempting to sip sweet cocktails from a cubic block of thick ice with a hole in the middle, it’s hard not to imagine yourself eating a large ice lolly that’s melting fast and dripping down your chin. Armed with cosy ponchos and gloves, we explored and laughed and partied until our time was up. It was certainly a new experience, and the ice sculpting is certainly impressive too. While you can only book a limited time slot in the Ice Bar, this is all you really need anyway, as even through the gloves it can get kind of chilly!
From there, well, maybe it’s best we don’t talk about it…
Now, the rumours are true – food and drink in Scandinavia costs a bomb, as does just about everything really for that matter. But this particular night at unassuming ‘Estelle’s’ was worth the crippling expense. It was great to be able to let loose and go out with a bang, without the pressure of making the coach by a certain time in the morning. Accepting card payments only meant for a dangerous game, but it’s a lot easier than handling cash, so I’ll take it!
But alas, all good things must come to an end. As the group whittled down, we headed back to our hotel before going our separate ways.
Then there was one.
If you’ve been going solo all along, this seems perfectly normal, but I find it’s always harder to adapt when you’re used to being with a group, a group who are going on about their business as normal without you. Not that we could have wandered around too much on Sunday anyway because of the weather, and I was simply too exhausted to trawl around museums by that point.
The rain was relentless, crashing down with almighty force, eventually turning to thundering hail that battered me from every angle. I’d hoped to take a nice, peaceful stroll, but I suppose my weather luck was bound to run out eventually. Instead, I got very cold and wet as I traversed the waterside areas of the city’s many islands and wound through the narrow streets of old town Gambla Stan, making friends with a cute goose family along the way.
But hey, when things don’t quite go to plan you should always look for the silver lining – it just gives me reason to come back someday. And if you do find yourself caught in bad weather in the city, there are still plenty of indoor attractions you can visit if you’d prefer such as The Royal Palace, National Museum, Nobel Prize Museum and the ABBA Museum. Or maybe you’ll opt for a spot of shopping in Stockholm’s many stores (I couldn’t just walk past Lush without at least a little peek).
Sadly, I don’t have much to say about Stockholm as a city as I don’t feel I’ve explored in enough depth, except that it’s very colourful and accommodating. Still, I could sum up this trip as a whole as incredible, and I can absolutely see why this is considered such a beautiful part of the world. I booked Contiki’s “Scandinavia” tour a while back as something to do for my birthday, and it was a great move for sure. I’m really going to miss everyone and feel sick at the thought of having to return to the monotony of work on Wednesday, but it’s only a matter of time before I’ll set off travelling again, so watch this space.