Scandinavia, summer, travelling with a friend. What else makes a better start for my 19th summer holiday ? I was travelling to Stockholm with Moa, whom I met in Oslo, for a short 4 nights and 3 days. People say living together and travelling together are make-or-break moves, no matter for friendships or relationships. It was the first time we were stuck together for such a “long” time, and I think I should be glad he didn’t delete me on Facebook afterwards. We had very different travelling styles and things we wanted to see/ do, but it was still a lovely trip.
On the day we decided to leave Oslo we got up in the afternoon, chilled for a while, booked our flights and hostel, Moa went to print the boarding passes out, and we arrived in the airport 1 hour before the flight that night. It was a whole new, almost shocking, concept for me that you can book your plane trip the same day you travel to another country. I can already imagine Moa saying “that’s because we were flying Norwegian and Norwegian is the best/ cheapest/ something” but I sincerely believe such efficiency could only happen in Scandinavia.
I like to write but Moa hates to read. So let the photos tell the journey. The weather was really, really nice. Amid a bit of wind the sky was blue and clouds were white. It was never too hot, but it wasn’t cold. Walking along Stockholm’s many waters on the bridges, it was just a perfect Scandinavian summer day.
The perk of travelling with an engineer is that you never have to read the maps yourself. He will always have that GPS available offline while you were still struggling to make sense of the Google Maps. The cost though, was bearing a bit of mocking and teasing, but you get to places. On the road to Gamla Stan, literally the Old Town, I found this telephone stand and I decided to spent a fair amount of Swedish kroner to call back home, compensating for the shameful fact that I didn’t take a photo with the Red Telephone Box despite spending a good 5 months in England. I think this one is also cool though, maybe not the bottom part of the structure because it could be cold in winter…
In the middle of Gamla Stan it is a plaza and on one side you will see the Nobel Museum. I wasn’t really interested in other prizes except the Peace Prize but that is awarded in Oslo. It does have a lot of information, and I liked the settings of the Peace Prize section. It also allowed me to use my Stockholm card, so I am happy.
Meanwhile Moa was walking around and sending Snapchat stories because he didn’t like museums that much. This is probably what he enjoyed – the street view.
First of all, noticed the bright sky ?? The weather was SO nice. Secondly these medieval architectures reminded of Brugge, a city in Belgium (check out Charging myself in Brugge); and the pavement cafes Paris (check out Paris as I see it). And I guess that’s the common thing about all Old Towns in Europe …
This photo was taken outside the Royal Palace and I have good reasons to believe I took it to recognize the road I had already walked pass. Moa wasn’t with me inside the Royal Palace because he didn’t have the Stockholm Pass and, as said, he was not very interested in museums. A day before we went there the Swedish Prince got married some rooms were closed.
The other day we decided to split because Moa would enjoy himself more with his cute Swedish friend who came to visit him from another city and shopping malls, while me immersing myself in the great treasures of museums. So after fetching his friend and sending them to do their own things, I, with the help of a paper map, arrived at the City Hall. There I had the most organized and entertaining guided tour and I was very impressed. Here are a few photos that would tell the story :
As a Politics student how could I not start with the City Council chamber ? Sorry the photo was a bit blurred but the point is this chamber was decorated with a very interesting ceiling. The tour guide told us some people think the ceiling looks like a Viking ship upside down, and we do think so, a little bit. It was said in the past tribe leaders discuss issues related to the tribe under a Viking ship and the blue paint on the top of it signifies connection to the sky so that whatever discussed here, which apparently relates to citizens of Stockholm, is open to public and always transparent. Regardless of whether these discussions were really as open as the architect wished it to be, the thought behind the design was still absolutely fascinating. Comparing to our Legislative Council building, and the actual meetings, I couldn’t help smiling hopelessly because recent HK politics have become a joke and there is nothing I can do about it.
The following two photos are actually connected. The place is called Prince’s Gallery. In the first photo the carvings on the wall was actually a man, and on the other side it’s a woman (not shown in photo). In the second photo there are two pillars, one with sharp edges and one circular. It was designed to be a mirror of the carvings on the other side. So one of the pillars represent a man, the other a woman. Well now which one is a man and which one is a woman, that’s a question up to everyone’s answer. Some say men are more muscular and so the one with sharp edges represents male, some also say as women have many faces, it should be the other way round. I think this has become quite a out dated method to define a person.
The other thing about the two photos, was that in the first photo you see Stockholm and on the other you see the Prince’s paintings. The Prince’s Gallery is served as a dining hall and people sit face to face. The Prince wanted to show the guests who face the wall, but not the window, the beautiful scenery of Stockholm, so he tried to copy the scenery of Stockholm onto the wall by his painting. How thoughtful !
The other thing I did on the self-adventure day was visiting a bunch of more museums.
The National Opera Theatre also has a guided tour but let’s be honest you don’t go to Sweden to see an Opera and so it was a nice experience getting to the back stage and being in one of those compartments for people who are socially unacceptable to be seen together in public (see photo below, the lower compartment with curtains closed) but that’s pretty much it. The tour guide was a bit racist as well.
Nah. Seriously this is Moa. And me. And a pilot on the left and some passengers at the back. We were at Stockholm Arlanda Airport and as usual he stopped me from doing stupid (or actually wise) things. In this airport there opened the first tattoo studio in an airport and I wanted to get a quick emperor penguin tattoo on my wrist or elbow. I was standing in the door for 5 mins and he said I shouldn’t do it, at least not in such a hurry manner. “Now you think it’s cool and when you are 25 you will think it’s stupid.” Well fair enough. He has every reason to say that because he indeed is 5 years older than I do even though he looks much younger.
While we were waiting I also suddenly realized I missed my brother. “Give him a call.” he said, and off I went calling my little brother in Hong Kong for half an hour.
Stockholm is obviously amazing, but travelling with the right companion makes travelling an extraordinary experience. Throughout the trip I wouldn’t doubt if I was travelling with my father or a partner I have been with for 50 years. Everything worked very well, at least that’s what I think, even maybe he thought he was taking care of a child of 5. Anyhow, now enough of appraisal, and back to reality, he sometimes still ignore messages. We’ve actually been to really nice shops like design and home decor flagship stores, fashion stores and cafes. He spent more time there though, maybe one day a Moa version of this trip will appear on this blog but we’ll see.
Tack för allt ! / Takk for alt !