Summer Evening

You know the noisy Aussie bloke in the hostel? I ran into him outside the hostel at about one o’clock this morning. I’m not sure how long he had been there for, but he had been struggling for a while with the “complex” locking system on the door. “Mate, you’re a legend. How did you do it?”, he said repeatedly when I unlocked the door for him. After the third time he asked me how I managed to unlock the front door, I replied firmly, “It’s because you’re pissed and I’m not”. He thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard in his life.

It was obviously a late night at the hostel, as one of the two German girls arrived home at about two o’clock, and the other at about four o’clock. As a result I slept in until about ten o’clock which is the latest it’s been on this trip. I’m normally up at about seven o’clock (or earlier), but obviously my body needed a bit of a rest.

And of course, I’d gone out for a beer and had chatted to some locals. One of them, whose name I can’t remember now, but I recall thinking it was one of those Swedish names I’d never heard of before. We didn’t really talk about much in particular, but he was a nice enough bloke. I remember him saying he thought Stockholm was too small, and that he would love to live in London. But I also remember him saying how much he loved living in Stockholm. Two bob each way, as they say in the classics.

Anyway, after a late start to the day, I went out for a mid-morning coffee, moved to the new hostel, hopped briefly online to check out what’s coming up in Stockholm – events and sight-seeing wise over the next few days – and then hit the road for some serious sight-seeing and walking.

I don’t know how far I walked today, but it must have been a fair distance. I walked all around Djurgarden, through much of the city, and then around Langholmen and Kungsholmen. It was just one of those beautiful days where walking around and looking at things just seems to be the right thing to do. Nothing too energetic, because it remains fairly warm, but also not sitting around doing nothing, though the temptation was to find somewhere inside with air-conditioning.

My one inside activity today was a visit to the National Museum, which featured a lot of Swedish and other European art. The collection was probably a little conservative for my tastes, but it was interesting.

In contrast to many Australian landscapes of the nineteenth century, works where the difference between light and shade are often strongly contrasted, that wasn’t the case in the Swedish works. The colours are mostly fairly light and bright and there wasn’t much shadow, which I thought was very interesting. Summer paintings, I guess.

After a day like this, I really understand why the Swedes love their summertime. At about seven thirty tonight, with the sun still beaming, I decided to go for a swim.

There were maybe thirty or forty people at the beach I chose on Langholmen. Mostly, they were just lying down on the rocks and “beach” enjoying the sunshine. For the first half-hour no one had even entered the water. But after one young bloke entered, complaining briefly that it was cold, I got up the courage myself. And then some others followed.

After the shock of the cold water went away, the first thing I noticed was swimming with ducks. Yes, I swam with ducks, just like Marie Fredriksson from Roxette in their video clip for “Stars”. I had to stop myself from bursting into song.

The only other thing I noticed was how much the sandy gravel on the river floor stuck to both me and my swim-suit. It was a bit like swimming in an inland Australia river, in some respects.

It was about nine-thirty when I made it back to the hostel. Completely exhausted, I had a shower and went looking for something to eat. A hamburger, chips, and a can of coke at the St Eriksplan grill was about the best on offer in the area at that time of night, unfortunately.

So I’m back at the hostel watching the UK version of “Queer As Folk” on TV-5 and resting my weary feet.

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