Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Struttin' Through Stockholm.

During another moment of my school break I meandered over to Stockholm, Sweden. I must say that out of the 3 countries (Finland, Estonia, and Sweden), while I enjoyed Finland for its society and sociality of individuals, Stockholm had by far the best buildings, architectures and scenery. Located on the east coast of Sweden on the edge of the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is a pleasure to the eye, with many historical buildings along every water side and inner-lands.

To get to Sweden we took a cruise ship with our own cabin that lasted about 14 hours. It was super cheap, which was the exact reason we took this route. I am here to tell you though; time was not wasted and still enjoyed. I have to say that Finnish people REALLY enjoy their alcohol. I promise you that at least 75% or more of the people on that cruise ship were drunk. It was quite sad actually. No one that I ran into had any sense of themselves or respect in a way. I did however run into a very comical encounter at the ball room. While standing around, this 40 year old, very young woman came up to me asking for a drink or cigarette, I had neither so I kindly said "no, unfortunately." She continued to say that if she would have been 20 years younger she would have already had me in her room by now. This caused me so much laughter, you cannot imagine. I did however talk to her about some things, keeping her company and telling jokes while she was considerably drunk. I turned to my friend to say a few things and all of the sudden this woman falls backwards, completely ungracefully, and caused the biggest scene. The expression on her face was priceless and will never forget that moment ever. Afterwards we searched for some cheap food and came across this amazing salmon salad that was to die for, with olive oil and vinegar, anyone would say Bon Appetite!

After arriving in Stockholm I took a quick glance of my surroundings. The buildings are all well preserved and untouched, this is because Sweden was never invaded or attacked, and they typically play a neutral role in the war. However don’t be so quick to think that their neutrality as a government lives through its people. Some of the Swedish individuals are rude, cold, and not willing to lend a helping hand. On the other hand, Sweden allows many/any immigrants to come and live with a refugee or immigrant status. I could guess that 30% of Stockholm's population was of immigrants; immigrants from Finland, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Spain, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Iran, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, and Somalia.

A prime and simple example of rudeness that I witnessed is as follows. Firstly, while in the subway station, please note that Sweden has one of the most horrible metro systems in the places I have seen. To explain, one track can have 2-3 different "colors" of trains going to different places in the city. There were four tracks, two above and two below. Mind you, there were no English signs to help, which really shocked and surprised me given their high rate of immigration and multi-cultures. All of these things made it nearly a disaster to catch the right train. One day we asked the ticket stamping lady which train would take us to the other side of the city. She said "track 1." However while remembering there are so many colors of trains (Only in the title, all the trains were actually the same color, VERY tricky and confusing), I asked which color is the train. I received a lovely death stare, she took our tickets, slammed the stamp with anger onto the stub, and she merely proceeded to tell me "The train is blue, the course is red, its down-stairs, the ground is cement, and you wait for your destination." I was thinking to myself, what should I say? I proceeded with a smile saying "I see that today is not your day, and I apologize for getting you unraveled, have a much better day!"

Anyways, their public transportation was an adventure to say the least. It also drains the pocket very rapidly. One evening my friend and I were dead frozen, so we decided to take a cab to the hostel. A 5-10 minute ride. 30 euros! This is 50 American U.S. dollars. My jaw dropped, I nearly fainted/cried to myself. I think I will leave that subject at that. Haha.

The riots that had been occurring in the Middle East and Northern Africa (but mainly from Middle East) were occurring very mildly and controlled in Stockholm. Most of them were of Arabic background and some of Kurdish and Persian background. There were a few places where they were giving big speeches and chants, but it was very safe. These did not disturb me, because I know the security and well-being of the society is protected heavily. This was very prevalent in Finland and Sweden, and something that I appreciated a lot. It is always a nice and secure feeling to know that you are safe and out of harm’s way where you are travelling. 

Overall, it was a great trip; I saw a lot of sites. The scenery was brilliant. The customer service was ok, and the people were rude. I would recommend doing some studying about their transportation before you go. However if it is warm out and you have plenty of time, you can walk to the main sites within 30-45 minutes in any direction.

Always remember that while travelling somewhere new and exciting, walk! When you walk, you are going at a pace that lets you take in your surroundings, see more things. If you take metros or buses, yes they will get you to more touristic places and be quicker. But the biggest enjoyment about travelling is nothing has to be planned. Look at a map, place your finger on the destination and start walking. You will see many more simple things; you will notice the way people walk and talk. It is these things that you will remember and appreciate more!

"Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going." -Paul Theroux

1 comment:

Tine said...

You're so classy... I don't think I would have been that polite if the metro lady had said that to me! Props to you... also, hilariousness with the drunk lady! Us Americans clearly don't know what a booze cruise really is!!