Two years ago, I backpacked through Finland, Sweden, a sliver of Norway, and Estonia. There are many tales yet to be told, but because I’ve been busy recording cold, Pagan metal albums and writing books, I haven’t told all of them. Some of them, yes. Here’s another:
Stockholm was like Helsinki–just another city. I’ll admit, it grew on me quicker than Finland’s capital–maybe it was those fish Cavan and I hung out with earlier on our first day. But looking back, I’d sooner pack my bags for Helsinki than Stockholm. A whole fish market obviously decimates just a few eeny sardines. (Not that Stockholm doesn’t have its very own fish market.)
Sweden’s capital’s neat, though–and old, over 700 years old, and built on fourteen islands (some call it the Venice of the north), so there’s lots of bridges to cross , which was kind of majestic, but also kind of annoying as we went on our (almost) hopeless search for an open hostel.
The map we were following was useful, but only because it helped us navigate. I know, I know, that’s what maps are for. But a good map should also contain landmarks that aren’t lise. We crossed a high bridge (that made Cavan worry for our lives, and me fret that wind would steal my hat) and followed a winding road to a mess of tree-shaded paths and streets–somewhere in there, was a campground. According to the map.
Well, the map lied. There were hotels, hostels, a trashy mobile home park and a place for house boats to dock, but no campground. Camping within city limits is illegal, actually. Which makes perfect sense–except that the map of Stockholm published by the city of Stockholm quite clearly said that there was a campground on this island. Which is in the city.
So I wasn’t much of a fan of that particular island, with its scrappy park and congested chaos of un-esthetic streets. I did find parts of Stockholm I really liked, but that was later in the trip. For now, lets just say that bikes are kind of an aphrodisiac for me and there were hordes of them in Stockholm…
(And, uh, no, I did not leave Cavan for a two-wheeled machine.)
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