I recently went to Stockholm with some friends and the trip involved several ‘firsts’ for me, including:
1) AirBnB: I had never stayed in this type of accommodation before. Airbnb.com website that connects people visiting a city to locals who have space in their apartment/house. Great news- we didn’t die! The apartment was centrally located but was definitely a tight squeeze for four people- my friend and I were on the most uncomfortable blow up bed in the history of time while the couple we were travelling with were in a room divided from ours by a glass door!
2) Stockholm: More relevantly, this was my first time in the Swedish capital. What a city! Here are some things I learnt:
– There are rigid laws in Stockholm as to when and where you can buy alcohol. Pay heed to the information below or you will be disappointed! Firstly, all spirits, wine and strong beer can only be bought at state-run alcohol shops called Systembolaget and these usually shut at 7pm during the week and 3pm on Saturdays. They are also closed on Sundays and holidays. The aim of such strict laws is to combat alcohol abuse. For tourists though this means you will have to be organised about your nights!
– DJs do not like being asked to play ABBA music in clubs, nor do they find it remotely amusing. While on the subject of ABBA, the museum of the famous pop group closes at 5pm Saturday- Tuesdays and 8pm Wednesday-Fridays. These may sound like obvious closing times but we completely lost track of time in Tivoli Gröna Lund (the amusement park) and got to the museum too late. Cue devastation on our parts! Always nice to have a reason to go back to a city though!
– Swedish people seem to all have immaculate English. Here is an example to highlight their grasp of the English language- one of the rounds in a drinking game we were playing was called ‘categories’ whereby someone suggested a topic such as cars, capital cities etc and we went round in circles saying types of these categories. One of our rounds was fish types. We were impressed when our new Swedish friends came out with things like ‘Mackerel’ and ‘Sea bass’ but when one said ‘Wanda’, we were pretty blown away!
– The blond thing is not a stereotype. There are so many blonds in the city!
– Bring lots of money when visiting this city! The fact that there is such heavy taxing in Sweden means that most things are hugely expensive.
– Have your camera at the ready when walking through Stockholm- there are photo moments at every turn (much to the mild annoyance of my travelling companions!)
3) Near flight missing- this was my final ‘first’. We got to the airport in plenty of time, got through security quickly and I was sitting outside my gate with 40 minutes to spare waiting with my friends who were on a later flight than me. You’d think that it would be almost impossible to miss the flight but I somehow got distracted and ended up having my name be called out and was the last person to get on the plane! I don’t think I’d have minded spending another night in Stockholm but missing the flight would have been an expensive option!