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.
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 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 impressive. And I think it’s safe to say we were getting pumped for a visit to an actual nightclub – or at least I was.
Now, food and drink in Scandinavia costs a bomb, as does just about everything really for that matter, but this 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.
And then the group whittled down, we headed back and went our separate ways. Then there was one. Travelling solo is always harder 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 too exhausted to trawl around museums.
The rain was relentless, crashing down with almighty force, eventually turning to thundering hail, battering you from every angle. I’d hoped to have a nice, peaceful stroll around, 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).
I don’t have much to say about Stockholm as a city except that it’s very colourful and accommodating, as I don’t feel I’ve explored in enough depth, but I could sum up this trip as a whole as incredible. I booked Contiki’s “Scandinavia” tour a while back, as something to do for my birthday, and it was a great move. 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’m off travelling again, so watch this space.