disclaimer: I didn’t take any photos at all this week? like not even accidental screenshots… must have been living in the moment, sorry for the boring blocks of text.
Just got back from my trip to Gotland with Slow Travel (check out the blog on the DIS Stockholm’s website!) and the next morning, I was ready for my next adventure going to the Stockholm Archipelago to see my visiting host family. They have a cottage on one of the islands, and they asked if I wanted to come and check it out. How could I say no to that!?!
So I woke up bright and early at 7am and took a bus to Kungsträdgården where the ferry would pick me up. From there it was a 3 hour boat ride to the island, so I had plenty of downtime. I pulled out a book and started reading, taking frequent breaks to just peek out the window and see the archipelago. I will be returning, considering how beautiful it is, and easy to get to! (However there is an extra fee, you cannot just use your SL card).
When I got to my destination island, my visiting host mom and sister were waiting for me, waving from the dock. We took a walking tour of the island, which was very small and cozy. Just about everyone on the island knows each other, there is one general store and restaurant. There’s a big field for sports games and midsummer celebrations. The entire place was so lovely.
They showed me their home and started to make lunch. Host sis and I fetched some water from the spigot down the road a bit, and chatted about all sorts of things. It’s been a real hoot trying to use Swedish words with them because my pronunciation is tough. Specifically when I name a place I went to, which has no English alternatives. They speak great English, and they’re supportive and laugh about my attempts at Swedish.
Just after lunch, we’re sitting around and talking when my host mom notices that the ferry to return to the mainland is NOT coming at 5pm like we had expected, but instead 2:30pm and we need to HUSTLE. I thought I was the only person affected by this, but it turned out that they were all also taking that ferry back to Stockholm. We scrambled. We got on bicycles for a speedy tour of the rest of the island, and we had a mini Fika on the rock beach. Finally, we split up and my host sister gave me a tour of the island’s “Troll Forest” which is a mystery of the island. One day the walking path suddenly had a bunch of homemade trolls on it, and ever since families have been crafting trolls and adding to the path. It was so cute.
At this point it was about 2:30 and we got back to the dock that I had come to the island on just 3 hours ago. We got on a different ferry this time, and took it about an hour to where they had parked their car. The rest of the way home was a road trip!
It was nice to see the more suburb parts of Stockholm, especially because I live pretty central and spend most of my time in the middle of the city. We spent the entire ride chatting about things American and Swedish until the dropped me off at my apartment. A great first day back in Stockholm, very go-with-the-flow and low stress. I enjoyed it a lot.
THE REST OF THE WEEK
This week was a big week of work and grind time. I had a lot of big assignments happening, like my Core Course Final and my Swedish Oral Final. Study abroad is still school. But it is also my birthday this week, and my boyfriend is coming from the USA to visit me!!! So, I spent the next two days or so locked up in my room or the library or DIS just working and working so that I could enjoy my upcoming birthday and vacation!
Turning 21 in Stockholm
Happy Birthday Catherine! I woke up with my boyfriend in our hotel and had a rough start to the day. I misread the information sheet and thought breakfast ended at 10:30, but to my surprise when I walked down at 10:02 it had just closed. I was so dramatically upset.
I was quickly soothed by our first stop of the day, Java whiskers in Odenplan! This cat cafe had 8 cats who you could cuddle or play with while you sip on some coffee or tea. Most of the cats didn’t want to be bothered, and I can’t blame them, but there were a few that played with me and they were so cute and sweet!
We spent the rest of the early afternoon walking around and exploring the city. I had to show Alex, my boyfriend, a true Swedish Ikea. We got lunch and walked around some more until settling down back at my apartment to meet up with my friends for…you guessed it…another bonfire!
I’m not a big birthday party kind of gal, but I sure as heck enjoy a bonfire. So with the help of my friends and some group chat magic, we set up shop at Långholmen and had a fire right along the water with a gorgeous view of Stockholm. We had a few delicacies, including tuna in oil in a can lit on fire, and some previously frozen kladkaka, the infamous Swedish cheese doodles, and of course some Honey Nuts from ICA.
We borrowed some instruments from DIS and had another lovely sing along. It was just perfect, having so many of my favorite people in one place. So much love and joy on my birthday, the big 21!
Afterward, it was pretty late, but I still wanted to go out for my 21st birthday. I sent my jetlagged boyfriend home and me and some gals went to this specialty shot bar in Södermalm. They ordered me the birthday shot, which I have no idea what was in it, but it had fondant and a candle on top, and the bartender handed me a sparkler and had the entire bar sing to me. Absolutely iconic. What a perfect day.