I finally have the opportunity to catch up on a little blogging! Today my school, Erik Dahlbergsgymnasiet, has a professional day aka a teacher meeting day. Now, normally, if I was back in the states as a student teacher, I would have to attend this tedious day of meetings. However, all the meetings at ED will be taking place in Swedish. So, obviously, this would be quite the boring day for me to attend. This is the one perk I have found, thus far, of not speaking the native language :) Instead, I get to catch up on a few things online, do some laundry, and maybe even do some shopping...something I have yet to do in Sweden, outside of the necessary grocery store trips. I'm thinking as the weather starts to get a bit chilly, it would be nice to have a sweater or two to bundle up in!
But first, to catch you up on my Stockholm adventures. Everybody here raved about the city of Stockholm, and for good reason! It really was a beautiful city and except for the cobblestone streets that wreaked havoc on the soles of my shoes, it was also a very walkable place. Now, I have to say, Oslo still comes in first on my list of Scandinavian cities to see, but Stockholm pleaded her case as a close second! I think if the weather had been as beautiful as it was in Oslo, it would've been quite the competition. Nonetheless, I had a wonderful time. I was really impressed by the beauty of the buildings and Stockholm's wonderful location along the water. Not to mention, the hotel we stayed in had the perfect location and the room was both modern and spacious.
I spent most of Friday afternoon and evening on the bus. Normally, the bus trip from Jönköping to Stockholm is around 3 1/2 hours...that's how long it took on the way back. However, I must have taken the anti-express route on the way there. We stopped somewhere close to ten times between Jönköping and the capital city. And, after the second stop I had somebody sitting next to me snoozing away, using her elbows to take up entirely too much room, and there was no way for me to get out. I was stuck. But, that's okay. Once I arrived, I made my way to the hotel that Mary-Katherine, Joe, and I were staying at. It wasn't too far from the central station, so I was able to relax a bit when I arrived. Once Joe and MK made their way from the bus station, we tried to figure out what to do for the evening. Even though it was the capital, there still weren't a lot of things open for dinner at that hour (a little after 10:00). At the recommendation of the concierge, we ended up at this little Swedish restaurant near the Opera house. It was the perfect location. It had a very genuine atmosphere and it felt like the typical Swedish locale. As we were eating, we kept seeing people disappear into this basement area that had some bumping music. Now, we just thought that maybe there was a little club underneath the restaurant, nothing special...boy were we wrong. After dinner, we headed down to check it out. As it turns out, this was a very well-known night club--Cafe Opera. We were completely unaware and ended up accidentally sneaking into this posh place! Only when we left (through ropes and bouncers) did we figure out its popularity :)
Onto Saturday... after we headed out from the hotel, we decided to check out the military parade/changing of the guard that occurs everyday. It is quite the touristy "must see". So, with the other hundreds of tourists, we followed this military parade (people marching, band playing) all the way to the royal palace where even more tourists awaited the changing of the guard. I must say, as touristy as it was, it was very cool and definitely worth it! Hey, I am a tourist after all, right?! After that, we searched for this famous square in Stockholm's Old Town where a vicious battle had taken place hundreds of years earlier. Though, it turns out, the concierge led us astray, and directed us to the completely wrong square. We only discovered that after we found the correct square the following morning...oh boy!..she was a trainee, but still! The other main event of the day was touring the Vasa Ship Museum. This is probably one of Stockholm's most famous attractions and they are very proud of it. This is ironic because the very reason why this ship has its own museum is quite the disaster. The Vasa ship set sail in the early 1600's on its maiden voyage. It was quite the ship at the time and was painted in all sorts of vibrant colors. Turns out, the weighting was all off, and it sunk before even leaving Stockholm's harbor. Hundreds of years later, in the 1960's, the ships was excavated, restored, and this giant museum was built around it. Props to the Swedes for making so much krona off of such a disaster!
That evening, we spent some time walking around town and picking up a few of the perks the street vendors had to offer. Most notably, we loved the french hot dog. I don't know why this concept is not popular in America. It is so practical. I will not even attempt to describe it, because I will not do it justice. It basically avoids the mess of a hot dog and bun...I will see if I can find a picture. Quite awesome. We headed back to our hotel to relax for a bit before heading out into town again. For Saturday night, we did the ultimate Scandinavian (or big city) experience...we went to Stockholm's ICE BAR!!!! Stating the obvious...it is a bar completely made of ice. The bar, the walls, the tables, the chairs, the glasses...everything is ice. Naturally, you get to wear these awesome capes (coats) and gloves while you're enjoying their tasty drinks. It was totally worth it. Though, I have to say, it got a bit cold after the allotted 45 minutes you get to stay in there. I was fine with leaving once the time was up!
The next day, we did some more touring around Old Town and picking up views from above the city on a lovely bridge above town. We also toured the Nobel Prize Museum (I have now seen both Stockholm's and Oslo's) and Stockholm's City Museum (because it was free)! Unfortunately, Joe and MK had to catch their bus to the airport around 3 o'clock, so our weekend together had to end :/ But, after they headed out, I became the ultimate tourist and finally bought some tacky Swedish souvenirs! I figured, I've been here almost 2 months now, it's about time I got my tourist self on and bought some cheap memories :) So, I spent my remaining two hours walking in and out of tacky tourist shops. I bought myself a bright blue and yellow Sweden t-shirt, a Sweden shot glass, and some postcards to send home! In addition, I purchased a few awesome gifts for people back home...though I cannot spill the gift details here!
All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I was sad to leave MK and Joe and head back to Jönköping. I would've been happy with another day or two to hang out and explore the city with them :) But, regardless, it was really great to see both of them and explore Stockholm with some family! We had such a nice time! It was just so funny to me--seeing them in Stockholm of all places! Such a random place to meet, you would think!
So, I don't believe I am headed on any weekend trips for a while now. My next big adventure is a trip to London, Ireland, and the Netherlands over my fall break (first week in November). We are in the midst of planning/booking now...the prep part is no fun, but I'm sure the trip will be. Hopefully in the next few days, I can update you all on my school situation/more details on my life here. It's not always glamourous and traveling, trust me, I do have lots of work to do in between :)
Love to all,
Pictures to come if Tenhult's internet holds up....