So the day started off rough, partially because Stefan the night before reassured us we didn’t need to get to the airport 2 hours early for our flight to Sweden, partically because we did go get danishes instead of heading straight to the airport, partially because we didn’t know the right way to the airport and got off at the wrong station and had to jump back on and also because I read the Flight display wrong and made us run to the wrong terminal and try to board the wrong plane… haha -.- We believed we’d missed our flight and were not so motivated to run a second time and then heard over the intercom the crew asking us to come to the gate to board and that they were waiting for us. It was music to my ears. On the plane we were still really hot and sweaty and I couldn’t stop coughing from the physical exurstion, but we were on the plane!!! The rest of the trip to meet up with my friends was way less exciting.
So my amazing summer friends, Dain and Pauline have always come to North Carolina to visit but I’ve never made the journey to them, so going to Stockholm is long over due (I even missed their wedding!). Having them to show us the city was amazing and great way to introduce us to Stockholm. We tentatively planned to meet around noon at Medborgarplatsen. Once there we were like, hmmm.. now what? Look for a very pregnant lady? You see Pauline was due in the coming days and we were sneaking in our trip to see them before their life got a bit more lively! As we walked around the snowy square, I hear a male voice call out, “Backpackers!” and I turn to see Dain rushing over!! I wasn’t expecting him to meet us there so it was very exciting and happy.
Dain had to go back to work, but Pauline was going to show us around (most active and healthy pregnant lady ever!) so we first got lunch in an Asian dumpling restaurant and dropped our bags at their house before starting off.
This is the view from their bank onto the rest of Stockholm!
So Pauline is a little tour guide angel. She asked us what we wanted to see and do and I had a long list in my notebook, but that’s very overwhelming (I wanted to say everything!), so I picked a random thing, the library! Its a round building with makes it nifty and really we just wanted to ride around the city. Thankfully we had the 72 hour passes to all public transportation and Pauline had a monthly pass so we weren’t wasting her money and we took the bus through all the gorgeous decked out streets. After the library, we went thought Old Town and Christmas markets and had Glögg and hot sugared nuts.
The NK department store had really cool holiday displays that had animatronics. That I found delightful. We watched ice skaters. We wondered around the city for 5 hours and were quite tired out, but the night was still young (It just started at 3pm..)! We met up with Dain and his college buddies at an Irish Pub for quiz bowl. It was quite embarrassing, you put one beer in us and some food and we were ready for sleep. Dain and Pauline were too kind and let us go back to their place to pass out while they lived it up. One of their last nights being married without kids!
I slept under their beautiful Christmas tree. It was nice because during this trip it almost felt like we were celebrating. Collin slept in the guest bedroom.
I slept great until at 7a this morning Collin woke me up. He’d been up since 4a!! I could have slept longer but I wanted to spend time with Dain before he went to work. I watched him eat cereal with sour milk – I tried a little but I did not like it. Later we ate breakfasts with Pauline. It was fresh bread, butter, cheese, turkey, jam and get this -cheap- Swedish Caviar. It looked like spam squeezed out a tube and Pauline slathered her bread slice with it.. ahhh! I took a bite and it was ok, but I wouldn’t willingly eat more. She made us coffee and we sat at the table a long time chatting. We enjoyed her so much, I feel bad for how little I got to see Dain. We did a load of laundry and then left our packs at their house and went walking around. We wanted to figure out how to get to the Af Chapmon (our boat hostel) because its on an island that the metro doesn’t go. So we walked along the water front taking pictures and enjoying the view. It snowed all day and everything is bright and lovely.
So we walked to the island and checked in and played in our officers room and on the snowy deck. We rode the bus off the island and to central station so that we knew how to get back home later.
We wanted to go to the Museum of Natural science, one because we’d heard great reviews and two because Pauline had told Collin he could get Princess cake. By the time we got there the Sun had set (like at 3p? It sets amazingly early) and we needed to be home by 5 for dinner reservations – so we didn’t go in the museum, just went to the cafeteria in hopes of cake, but they didn’t have any. Collin is seriously fixated on getting cake, so we set off to central station because for sure there is a bakery in the main stretch that has it. We walked around for a while and didn’t find any – and we’ve been looking for it for two days and haven’t had any luck so he was getting worried he might miss his opportunity. But we needed to head home for dinner. So we walked the way back and along the way found a cute bakery that had it. Collin insisted on eating it in the street and said it was amazing. I thought it was ok but I was more focused on not being late. We arrive only 5 after to their house and Dain’s mom, who had arrived, decided not to come so it was just us 4. The restaurant they took us to was the coolest. It was a seafood place that had all your options on ice and you walked up and looked at the meat, talked with the chef and picked out what you wanted. I got Char which is a Swedish fish similar to a salmon, but not as pink. Collin got the halibut. With your waiter, you pick two sides and a sauce for your fish. The chef had recommended to me the brown butter and sugar with horseradish, because it was traditional. Collin got a dill yogurt sauce. Anyway, it was amazingly yummy. The side I picked was zucchini with anchovies and capers. I couldn’t get enough of that. Dain really was too kind to treat us!! Once we returned home, we had Glögg (hot spiced wine) which is a traditional holiday drink and you put almonds in it. Poor Pauline can’t have alcohol though. We sat and talked about old friends of ours and what they are up to. Collin started to fall asleep so we returned to the boat. He went off in the cold to do some long exposure time photos and I washed up. My little officer’s bed was very warm and the boat rocked so slept very good.
I really am a lucky girl to have such amazing friend and get to experience things like this. That night I was filled with love and happiness.