I visited Stockholm in 2008 on my first Europe trip. Since then, the memory of the grand harbour flashed in my head every time I felt that “I need to get away and fulfil my wanderlust longing A.S.A.P” pang in my heart (and gut).

Stockholm was where, at 18 and whilst drowning in the unreasonable and illogical emotions most just-out-of-highschool teenagers feel, I first felt inner peace and became truly excited for life. I remember the moment so clearly; sitting in the central square in the Gamla Stan and it dawned on me – I alone am responsible for my own happiness. It sounds silly, and obvious – duh – we control our own thoughts which leads to our overall contentment with life and so on, but I’d like to think I grew up five big steps in that moment.

This Bob Moaward quote explains it perfectly:
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey.” 

Fast forward to May 16, 2011 and I arrived at Stockholm Central station from Gothenburg. Upon getting out of the train a big grin spread across my face, it was ridiculously humid but I didn’t care because I owed this city a big thank-you.

Swedish custom outlaws shoes inside. This took a bit of getting used to, and to be honest sometimes I completely forgot, but after a while it made me feel more cosy when hanging out at my hostel.

The stinky shoe room where people who don’t have an emotional attachment to their shoes leave them (ie. not me)

The Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm. The streets are quite narrow and it’s very touristey but still nice to stroll around on a sunny afternoon.

I visited the Swedish National Museum of Fine Art to see the Lust & Vice exhibition of erotic art, which examines how “sexuality, virtue and sin have been depicted in art from the 16th century to the present day.” After visiting the comprehensive sex and erotic museums in Amsterdam I didn’t find the exhibition very mentally challenging or thought provoking, as I like erotic art that celebrates the female form rather than sexually objectifying it, as I feel the Lust & Vice exhibition did.

The most captivating piece was an installation by Lars Nilsson; He was an assman, I guess.

The Local website has a gallery of the main pieces of the exhibition.

A friend who couch surfed at my old share house in Carlton came down from northern Sweden to visit me for a few days.

We went to Skansen – an outdoor museum that is also a zoo. During the day it has people roaming around dressed in traditional Swedish clothes and doing demonstrations of how Sweden was centuries ago, but we went in the evening so had nearly the whole park to ourselves.

I saw wild boar for the first time and got up close to a moose amongst other animals.

The Vasa Museum surrounds the Vasa ship which sank on her first voyage in 1628. It was brought up after 333 years under the sea – in 1961. It is an example of how greed and impatience often ends in disaster. The ship was so very beautiful though and if it has sailed successfully would have been quite intimidating for seamen of other countries!

Here is heavy suit the divers wore during the long process of bringing artifacts out of the ship and also when they brought the ship up to the surface.

I dragged my friend along to Junibacken – a small theme park for children which is based on Astrid Lingren’s fairytales including Pippi Långstrump (Pippy Longstocking in English.) I was so excited as ran around and laughed and climbed through all of the holes made for small children and up and down the ladders and slides. There are advantages to being only 1.59 metres tall!

I was in Stockholm for Eurovision so the multicultural nature of the hostel made for a fun night spent with fellow hostel guests, watching Eurovision and drinking cider. The night concluded with a lession on the history and the current political and social situation of the Eurovision winners Azerbaijan, from a very intelligent Berliner dorm mate who majored in political science.

I stayed at City Backpackers. Although my dorm room was under the ground and initially made me feel like I was in a war bunker, it is the best thought out hostel I’ve ever stayed in.
There are lots of iMacs for guest use, there is communal and also private showers, the kitchen is well equipped, the outdoor chill out area has super comfortable couches and all of the seats in the TV room have power points for laptops. On top of this I had very funny dorm mates from Austria and Berlin and we made friends with some other very interesting and intelligent travellers.

Thank-you for welcoming me back with open arms Stockholm!

One Response to “WANDERLUST; Stockholm”

  1. And then there was this one redheaded girl who would not shut up about historic cothes…

    Haha, this was fun to read! I liked the lust and vice exhibit. Not terribly thought provoking but enjoyable. I loved all the little dirty doodles from the 18th century in particular.

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