As I run through London Stansted Airport in my socks with Doc Martens in hand, I am not blinking. My crusted eyes from the ten hour bus ride from Glasgow to London dart from monitor to monitor.
We are going to miss our flight.
Our airport in Sweden flashes on a screen. Stockholm Arlanda. Boarding. All remaining hope is lost.
When we arrive at our gate we are sweating and out of breath. By some stroke of luck the plane hasn’t boarded. My travelling companion and friend, Dana, takes a long swig from her water bottle. I collapse in line and slowly tie up my Docs. These weekend trips will be the death of me.
When we land at Arlanda Airport I expect to see a metropolitan forest of high rise buildings and streets covered in Volvos. Instead we saw an actual forest, with tall pines covered in snow.
The airport shares its space with a bus station thankfully loaded with places to eat.
But first: Krona. Krona —plural for Kronor-- is the currency in Sweden.
I made a bee-line to the nearest ATM and pulled out 1,000 Kronor, unaware of how much this was in pounds or dollars (Turns out it's about 155 US dollars.)
I proceeded to the nearest café, and didn't start to panic until I approached the register.
Sweden. Swedish. This was my and Dana’s first time travelling to a country where neither of us spoke the language.
We were lucky again when the cashier was happy to speak beautiful English.
After we refueled with delicious coffee and pastries, we headed outside the station to find a taxi. Little did we know it was going to be freezing outside. My tired eyes burned against the cold air and my hands went numb. Ah, so this is what cold really feels like.
We slipped into the cab like icicles from trees and made our way to our hostel.
Tip: Book your hostel in advance. If you are traveling to Sweden or anywhere else in Scandinavia the prices per night might be a little steep but don’t fret; the hostels are cleaned daily and regulated. If you can’t lick off the floors, the hostel will be shut down.
The next day we decided to go to Gamla Stan, which means “Old Town” in Swedish. Gamla Stan is the “pulse of the city” filled with shops, cafes and restaurants to suit everyone. Its cobblestone alleyways date back to the Middle Ages. Most of the cafes and restaurants are underground, so to get to dinner we descended steep steps into dimly lit, dungeon-like rooms.
Scandinavia’s dark chocolate truffle was scary and bitter at first, but after taking a bite, our bellies were filled with the goodness that is hidden within Stockholm.
Along with the amazing history that surrounded us, the Swedish people were spectacles themselves. They carry a Viking-like confidence, which makes them all the more attractive in addition to their flawless looks. A certain level of resilience and pride humbled us, and made us appreciate and be grateful for the time we were able to spend in this city.