After having a rather cold, but very interesting night at Båtsuoj Samecenter, and a very eventful start to the day, it was time to head for Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, on April 30th at 1.30 PM. Tom drove me to the busstop in Slagnäs, we said goodbye and I started the long journey through most of Sweden. The bus from Slagnäs that took me to Arvidsjaur, a town in Norrbottens Län with about 5.000 inhabitants. It only took one hour, but I then had two hours to wait in Arvidsjaur before my next bus left. I didn’t do much there apart from a bit of food shopping in the local supermarket. I was really tired after the snowmobile trip earlier that day, so all I wanted to do was relax. Finally, at 4.05 PM, my bus left for Jörn, where I had to wait another 5 hours before getting on the night train to Stockholm at 9.40 PM.
Jörn is a really small town with nothing much to see or do, so I went inside the train station straightaway and had some dinner. 10 minutes later, a German woman, who was also on my bus from Arvidsjaur, walked in after walking around the entire town.. That’s how small it is, haha! We got talking and were later joined by a Swedish guy. They were both going on the night train to Stockholm two hours before me, as I had booked the cheapest ticket available. I didn’t even book a bed, just a seat, but I can sleep on anything and through anything, so I had no worries there.
While we were talking about how small and not-so-fun Jörn is (no offence to any inhabitants that may be reading this), three men walked in. They were immigrants from Syria and had been living in Jörn for 6 months. They told us that they come to the train station every evening to listen to music and talk to the travellers, who are having a stopover in Jörn. With only 800 inhabitants, it’s understandable that they think its boring there, especially when they’re not used to living in such a small place, but I found it really sad that this was the only option of fun for them. Actually, I was surprised to see that the amount of immigrants in small towns is much higher than in Denmark and Norway, where they mostly live in the suburbs of the bigger towns and cities. But I think it’s great that they get to experience the “real” Sweden in small towns, where they’re more or less forced to learn Swedish, so they can communicate with the elderly inhabitants that mostly live in these small towns.
When the German woman and the Swedish guy had left on their train, I went for a little walk around Jörn, as I needed a bit of fresh air. I walked down to the river, which was actually really pretty and definitely recommendable, if you ever find yourself with a few hours to kill in Jörn.
At 9.40 PM, it was finally time to leave Jörn and Northern Sweden behind and head to the South and Stockholm. I was very happy to finally be able to relax, but since my seat was taken, I chose to sit in someone elses seat, who I hoped would just find another seat.. But of course, that wasn’t the case. At 24 PM, a nice Swedish guy woke me up to claim his seat, which was fair enough and thankfully, I didn’t have to go far to find a new seat, where I stayed the entire night.
At 9.16 AM, after quite a comfortable nights sleep, I had finally arrived in Stockholm. I was now closer to Denmark than ever and it felt amazing to finally feel some heat from the sun!
The first thing I did when I got to Stockholm was rush to the bathroom, give myself a wash, do my makeup and generally make sure that I wouldn’t feel disgusting all day. But since I hadn’t been able to wash my hair for three days, I just put it in a ponytail and put my hat on, so no one could see it!
I bought a locker at the City Terminal to store my rugsack and at 11 AM, I set off to see Stockholm! But that day I decided to be lazy and buy a combo-ticket for the hop on/hop off sightseeing busses and boats for 380 SEK. I wasn’t proud of myself, as I really love to see a city by foot, but I was exhausted and felt yucky, so this was definitely the best option for me that day. One thing that is really cool about hop on/hop off busses is the fact that they have radios with information about all the destinations in many different languages – so I learned a lot about Stockholm that day. Oh, and free wifi too, which may or may not have sold the deal for me 😉
I hopped on the bus at the central train station and it would’ve taken me just 1,5 hours to drive the entire route, but I decided to get off at some interesting spots, so I could experience things instead of just seeing them from the bus. My first stop was at Gamla Stan, which is the old part of the city and is also one of the best preserved medieval city centers in the world. I walked about for a few hours, studying the old buildings and enjoying the special atmosphere that exists at this place. This is definitely my favourite place in Stockholm and I would recommend it to anyone going to Stockholm – this can’t be missed!
I then went to buy some souvenirs and then caught the bus once again. This time, I stopped at Slussen in Central Stockholm, where I boarded the sightseeing boat. This was the same concept as the bus, taking people to popular destinations around the city, where they can hop on and hop off as they like. I didn’t do this though, as I would use the bus for the purpose and just wanted to see the city from the sea. But I thought it was a little disappointing though, as the tour was almost the same as the bus tour, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend buying the combo-ticket like I did. Either take the bus or the boat, but in my opinion, the bus is more comfortable and is also much easier than the boat.
When I got back to Slussen, I hopped on the bus once again and drove almost the entire route until I came to Gallerian Shopping Centre, which was my last stop. I figured that since my journey is almost over, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about money and weight in my rugsack, so I let myself buy a few nice things and enjoyed a lovely frozen yoghurt.
In my opinion, Stockholm is a really beautiful city, but I didn’t get that “wow, I could live here”-feeling that I got with Oslo. Actually, I’ve only ever gotten that with four cities; Oslo, Copenhagen, Tórshavn and Bratislava, all of which are very special to me.
One thing that really made Stockholm stand out in an unfortunate way from the other Nordic cities, is the amount of beggars on the streets. It was really sad to see and surprising as well, as I didn’t think that this was a problem in Northern Europe.
I would’ve liked to see more of Stockholm and visit the many museums, but I had made plans for Gotland, which started that same evening, so that will have to be another time. At 6.40 PM, I took the bus from the City Terminal in Central Stockholm to Nynäshamn, where I boarded the ferry for Gotland, which left at 8.05 PM.
What I didn’t know was that on this Swedish island, I would find the most beautiful and most interesting town in the entire world.. Stay tuned!