The next morning, we woke up on the boat and enjoyed sleeping in. Check out was at 11a and the hostel has a breakfast offered so we were in no rush. We pulled into the train station that day with me confused and thinking that you could take any train out of Stockholm with the 72 hour pass (I swear I read it on multiple travel sites but now, I can’t find any sign of this poor advice!). Of coarse we quickly realized that we were wrong and that put some stress on us because of the unexpected financial burden, but we somehow figured out the ticket kiosk and bought tickets to Linköping. We had a mishap here as well because of some incorrect money conversions, we purchased very expensive tickets (first class no less!) for a 1.5 hour train ride. I’ll go ahead and admit our third strike of the day was we got off at the wrong bus stop and had a very difficult time finding our couch surfer host’s house. Oh well, looking back on it almost a month later – we learned our lessons and survived.
The success of the next few days deserves credit to one wonderful man, Daniel the unforgettable (YES, that is what his last name translates too, how cool!!). For this night, we had multiple surfers offer us a place to stay, but I chose Daniel because his profile picture was him dangerously close to a wolf, that appeared to be licking his face. I needed to know more, plus in his invite he offered dinner and to show us around. We arrived wet and cold into his flat and he let us recover while telling us about his little city. I didn’t think he’d show us around because the sun had arleady set, but he was game and we didn’t want to waste the opportunity, so off we went!
Linköping isn’t a huge tourist attraction for Sweden, but it does have some preserved historical buildings that are simple adorable in the snow. Daniel also took us to a grocery store and we bought reindeer meat (It was sliced like deli meat and had a very subtle flavor and looked like roast beef) and Swedish candy (crunchy and salty like a and other traditional food. Daniel picked up raw seel fish meat that was onion flavored (I liked the taste) thats canned and they eat around the holidays. Back at home, he cooked us cod fish in a sauce and mashed potatoes and broccoli. Oh and he bought us the first Swedish soda brand that translates to Sugar Water. Lol. It tastes pretty much like that. Daniel’s such a cool guy that we stayed up pretty late talking. He also invited us to accompany him the next day to his grandmother’s town if we could rearrange our travel plans. We had no clue how we were getting to our next destination, so it wouldn’t be difficult to reschedule. He played travel agent and helped us by tickets to hamburg.
The next day we got up early to take the train to Västervick, his family’s home town found by the coast.
Sweden by train is so beautiful, all the snowy scenes just flying by. I fell so hard for this country, I can not deny it!
His grandmother’s place was a winter wonderland as well. Cute red buildings, covered in snow. Our Cabin was full of the harvest of winter apples and smelled AMAZING. Again, we played around town and Collin took photos (I’ll show you his stuff later).
This is an old train we just entered but probably shouldn’t have been inside. It wasn’t locked!
This church was beautiful and warm and instilled some Christmas cheer on us and we looked around. A beautiful vocalist was practicing for the Christmas service for the next day.
Daniel’s grandmother cutely likes to point out that you can almost see the ocean from every street (It’s true!) and we played near the docks. We ate at a fancy restaurant nearby, that had traditional food. I ordered raw salmon called Grave Lox. It’s a traditional meal where they take salmon and bury it for a while to age (hence the morbid nickname). Daniel doesn’t like sushi but I thought it was good. It’s served with red onion and mustard sauce and a side of buttery dill potatoes.
Daniel then took us to a ruined fort and we played real life Skyrim and explored.
Around 3 we all took a nap (the sun sets around 2 anyway, so our body just craves sleep in the darkness).
Our simple cabin lodging! The bunk beds were wide enough we actually both just slept on the bottom.
Daniel’s friend Erik came over to hang out and we got pizza and beers. It was a lot of fun. The owner shared glög with us and it was the best mulled wine we had the entire trip! Two drunk old guys used bad English on us as we were leaving and we laughed the whole walk home. They were pointing to each other and saying, “We are from the country. We are incest. ” and after a bit more back and forth about his wife hurting his shoulder, he says, “Ass to ass. Take it or leave it.” which was so absurd. We could not stop laughing and were in great spirits playing in the snow that night.