Stockholm, Sweden

Posted by The Zodiac | Travel Spots | Sunday 7 November 2010 10:13 am

Hey, let me tell you… The last time I was in Stockholm was around October, 1998. I was part of an entourage of Fugee rapper, Pras and only got to see part of the rainy night through the windows of my hotel room and through the window of the bus as it took is to and from the venue. That was pretty much it and I swore to return one day.

Well, fast-forward to November 2010 and here I am. This time, I have five days to spend and even slip in some relaxation in once-in-a-while. The days have been crystal-clear with very little clouds bouncing around in the blue sky. Through these windows, however, instead of musicians, I get to see everyday people walking their dogs, looking through windows and driving their cars. My friend (and tour guide), Pernilla has been teaching me some Swedish words that will never stick in my head but my interest has never wavered when it comes to languages. I suppose I’ll have to return in order to make those words, phrases, and sentences become of my vocabulary.

But if no one has ever told you before, a lot of Swedes speak English already…VERY WELL. In fact, many speak better than Americans and I’ve run into a few who speak with American accents. Let that sit in your head and marinate for a while. On top of that. Many movie stations here show American films with Swedish subtitles. Go figure. Ha! I found some other interesting things about where I’m staying… There’s a park nearby and the weather here is cold. It’s about 28-32 degrees in the daytime AND nighttime. The sun helps but only to brighten your path. Nighttime comes very early. 4PM and the sun is down. 5PM and it looks like midnight. Walking home through this darkened park, I saw what appeared to be statues of bunnies…all over the place. Until they started moving. It seems people get pet rabbits and don’t keep them or let them loose. Rabbits being rabbits equals many more. There are fat rabbits all over the place at night. No squirrels. No deer. In fact, I have yet to see a bird. But rabbits? Check!

Stockholm itself is a pretty city; especially at night. If you ever wanted to run around and check out some people having good times walking instead of driving, skating instead jogging, and loving all sports on ice, then this is your place. The people are generally tall and slim and are very friendly in each establishment I’ve been. They love their tea, coffee, and apparently alcohol and don’t mind showing you. Ha! On instant was when Pernilla and I were invited by my old Swedish friend, Anna Maria, out to a game called Bandy. It seems as if it’s a little-known game that fuses hockey and a bit of soccer into the mix with larger-shaped field hockey sticks and instead of a puck, a small pink ball is used. It’s fast-paced and played on ice. Well…the crowd loves it and don’t mind showing their support by blurting out the hardest curses they can imagine in their drunken stupors at the refs. Every play against their team resulted in “SCANDAL!” and each winning point resulted in a song dedicated to their team.

The place was packed despite it being outside in freezing weather for a couple of hours. But the experience was worth it and outside of certain countries, isn’t very well-known.

Well, that’s it so far. The food is delicious as usual and the Swedes are friendly and inviting. It’s a far ride from my home in AZ but will probably get a return-visit within a year. Hopefully when it’s warm!