City Break: 4 days in Stockholm
Ali and I flew to Stockholm from Bristol airport on the 6.30AM EasyJet flight. We landed, jumped on the airport Flygbus into the city (about £20 and you can buy a ticket online for a little cheaper than at the ticket machines) and put our bags in luggage storage for the day - there are a lot of baggage storage options in the train and bus Central Terminals. We were tired, but keen to explore so after coffee we wandered across the water from the bus station to Gamla Stan; Stockholm’s Old Town.
I want to tell you that this is not going to be a very visually beautiful blog post! Yes, my camera was in my bag, fully charged. On any other trip I love to photograph where I am and try to capture the spirit of a place. But I didn’t really take any photos this time, and when my phone battery died I let it be dead. I really felt the pressure of having to capture everything perfectly so much that it got into my bones and upset me hugely. So I made a decision to stay present as much as possible instead. If you’re thinking “good for you!”, don’t, because I had to reeaally scrape together content for this blog haha. But it was the right decision at the time; my brain needed to be switched off.
Friday was my birthday. We met our friends in Soderholm for a pizza lunch and then we hit up a tattoo parlour (yes, I felt pretty cool typing that). I’ve been wanting to get a new tattoo for the longest time, but I was pretty nervous and honestly I may never have actually done it if weren’t for my friend, who’s way cooler than me, egging me on. The few people I have shown it too asked me, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Okay, I get it - we all want everything to mean something. It’s human nature to search for purpose. But sometimes there is no story, sometimes you just have to do something that feels fun and maybe a little dumb and live your damn life, ya know. Live and let live.
Once again, no camera today but 100% present and a few fun photos on my phone.
On Saturday we explored Skansen, which is an open air museum showcasing historical Swedish villages and houses from history. Also featured at Skansen; wild animals not in the wild. The internal struggle I felt about sharing or not sharing this on instagram stories nearly ruined my whole experience. For real! I never want to be a person promoting wild animals in captivity and it often makes me pretty uneasy - I couldn’t even look at the wolves. The thought of these roaming hunters cooped up in an enclosure; ugh. But I also realize how very privileged I am to feel that uneasy about it - it means that I know that these animals deserve better, because I have seen better.
I’ll never forget a story about a man who saw a lion in a zoo in the USA and then launched an international campaign to save wild lions without ever stepping foot in Africa. Unfortunately, the world we live in makes it all but impossible for the majority of people to see wild animals in their natural habitat. So, I believe that zoos (well managed zoos!) can actually be a great opportunity for people to learn about animals they may never see otherwise, and to help them to understand why we are fighting for their preservation.
Our flight home on the last day was at 9.30PM, so we popped our bags in storage at a friends office in the city (the station storage was full - we probably should have booked in advance) and went to a theme park called Grona Lund to celebrate my friends birthday (we are two days apart). We rode rollercoasters, ate fish and chips and finished it off drinking beer in a beautiful orchard. All in all, the perfect last day.