I have arrived in Sweden and am writing this from the back of a hostel boat with a beautiful view of the city. The wind is blowing and the boat is swaying. It took a while to get here, and this is the story.
I walked with my suitcase through the airport and it soon brought me to the conclusion that Sacramento Airport security is mediocre compared to the thorough security of London. I never thought of myself to look slightly shifty, but I have begun to rethink this evaluation. Going through security, I was randomly chosen for a very hearty pat down and bag search. I was the only one in the group that was given this sort of special treatment and I definitely could have done without it.
I zonked out on the flight, but was able to catch some pretty views of Stockholm as we landed. The countryside is beautiful and dotted with tons of little red barns. This city is already beautiful and apparently the people are too. Stockholm is made up of a bunch of little islands and waterways that flows into the Baltic Sea. The country is ruled by King Gustaf and Queen Silvia, the next in line being Princess Carly Tyer. Jk. Princess Victoria. Vikings and moose used to roam the Nordic lands, and I am hoping to see a moose at some point. (I took the liberty of googling this for you- the plural of moose is still moose.)
For our stay in Sweden, we will be living on a hostel boat on the shore of the river surrounding Stockholm. The boat is adorable, the cabins are small, and the waves are decent enough to feel your balance shift ever so often. It is the perfect boating life, and yes, I sang my theme song “I’m on a Boat.” We are not “bustin’ five knots,” but the wind is “whippin at my coat.” The only other time I have gotten sea sick was during deep see fishing, and I wouldn’t really consider this the ‘deep sea.’ Here’s hoping.
Our välkommen (welcome) dinner was quite delicious, but the Swedish dessert stole my heart. I am not a fan of coconut, but these chocolate covered coconut balls called chokladboll were quite a treat. The night ended up taking us to a random pub that was a scene straight out of “How to Train Your Dragon.” The room was a cave with long wooden tables solely lit by candle light. Viking shields and swords lined the room and I could swear I heard, “Nightfury, get down!” Not surprisingly, we are close to the Archipelago Islands that the movie was modeled after.
Everything went smoothly until we were about to go to bed when three spiders rained down upon us in our room. I am on the top bunk again (déjà vu freshman year) and the largest spider I have ever seen in my life was just chilling about four inches from my head on the ceiling. After calling all the boys on the trip, the spider was dead and I had no regrets. Usually I take them outside, but not tonight. Our window is staying closed for the rest of this adventure.
Our first real day in Stockholm began with a walking tour lead by our program director who grew up in Sweden, just outside Stockholm. We call him “The Captain,” because he really is a captain who will be knighted soon. We got to see the city by foot, which is a mix of a San Francisco/New York feel. The day just happened to be their triathlon through the city, and we spent the majority of our time waiting for the perfect time to cross streets between bikers and runners. It was all a great experience and gave me a nice lay of the land. Unfortunately, due to the triathlon, we were not able to see the changing of the guards at the royal palace. I did manage to get an awkward selfie with the guard who did everything in his power to avoid looking at my camera. It was rumored that we walked 13 miles that day from the beginning to the end.
We ended the night at an ice bar made completely out of ice. The tables, chairs, and cups were made of ice and wow, were we “cool.” The room was -7℃ and we wore adorkable parkas that made us look like a flock of penguins. Between the random outbursts of singing Frozen and waddling, we all started to feel the cold. I have only been in an ice bar once before, and I did the worm in front of my family. As per the tradition now, I had to do the worm in this Stockholm ice bar. And so I did. Brothers, I hope you are proud. Now whenever a fresh beat comes on, everyone expects me to do the worm.
The next day we had our first day of class at Stockholm University. To get there, it is about a 20 minute subway ride through the streets and a short walk. The college used to be an agricultural school, and it is only fitting since Davis ranks number 1. Walking around campus, you can pick out the older buildings that look slightly like barns. Stockholm University is home to where the Nobel Peace Prize is decided on for the categories of chemistry and physics.
I have come to more conclusions in the last couple days:
1) The boat is definitely arockin and I sometimes feel like I’m on a boat even when I am on land. It has only been three nights.
2) The Swedish language makes “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” look like the article “the.” The average word is at least that or longer. Every time someone tries to say a Swedish word, my only response is “bless you!”
Bye for now,