Surviving Stockholm

Two weekends ago I went to Stockholm. It was awesome, but it was also probably the coldest and most difficult weekend to get through of my life. Two weeks into my battle with tonsillitis, I woke up early Friday morning with the worst sore throat I had ever experienced and headed to the airport. After 3 months in Europe, I finally had my first flight with the notorious RyanAir! Our tickets to Sweden were crazy cheap, and as soon as we landed we figured out why we had gotten such a deal. It was so cold! And it gets dark at 3 in the afternoon! Stockholm is also one of the more expensive European cities, so we tried to stick with the free activities–95% of which involved being outside in the 20 degree weather for hours on end. Sub-freezing temperatures plus a bad case of tonsillitis turned out not to be the best combination and I ended up feeling progressively worse which I didn’t think was even possible.

We had a pretty nice experience at our hostel- they forgot to charge us for the bedding and we were upgraded from a 10 bed to a 6 bed for no additional cost, and we had the room to ourselves the entire weekend. In fact, I’m pretty sure the three of us might have been the only people in the entire hostel. We got extremely acquainted with Stockholm’s metro system and I actually got left behind at the station, which I guess was bound to happen to one of us eventually. They don’t really signal when the train is about to leave so I had the doors close right in my face. I didn’t know where I was or where we were trying to go and I had no way of reaching my friends, so I watched them through the window and prayed they would get off at the next stop and I could meet them there. Luckily that is exactly what happened, though I won’t say I wasn’t at least slightly traumatized.

Like most cities in Europe at this time of year, Stockholm was covered in Christmas lights and there was a holiday market in the city center with traditional and handmade foods and products for sale. Something unique about this city was that everything shut down so early. Stores and restaurants actually close earlier on the weekends. By 7 pm on Saturday night the whole city seemed to be asleep, not that I was really complaining because I was pretty much in zombie mode at that point after being out in the elements all day long.

After a weekend of free tours, free museums and about a million souvenir shops we woke up at 2:30 in the morning on Monday to catch a bus back to the airport to go home. There was supposed to be a train from our hostel to the bus station at that time but nothing was even open. Luckily we managed to find a 24 hour taxi company to take us to the bus stop, where we waited outside the terminal for 45 minutes for the bus to arrive. We got back to Krakow late that morning and I was just happy to be alive. Stockholm was a truly beautiful and fascinating city, and I am disappointed I wasn’t in a better condition to enjoy more of it.

Madison Goddard is a student at Hartwick College and an official API Blogger. Madison is studying abroad with API in Krakow, Poland.

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  1. I know how you feel and I have been in your shoes when I visited Norway. Glad you got to enjoy somewhat and obviously it’s really cold in the winter and You probably would have expected that right?

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