After yesterday’s shitty weather, my final day in Stockholm was one of those classically-beautiful Swedish summer days.
The morning started with packing and check-out, and a lovely compliment from one of the staff at Sky Apartments that my Swedish was very good. Although I’m sure she was flattering me to an extent, I accepted the compliment with an appreciation that yes, this time around, I was able to converse more fluently, and to pick up a lot more of the conversations going on around me.
After checking out, I popped in to town to visit one of my favourite places in Stockholm – Katarinahissen. I love catching the lift up to Globen Restaurant and then going that one floor further by step, and then emerging outside to a wide, broad view of the Stockholm Skyline from 10 or 11 stories (I can’t recall, sorry) up. You look behind you to Sodermalm, and then your eyes take you to the Stockholm City Museum, over to the CBD, then Gamla Stan, and then down to the Patricia boat, over to Grona Lund and so on. It’s really a very spectacular view and it costs you nothing.
Around lunch-time I caught the train to Saltsjobaden, an end-of-the-line seaside town about thirty minutes by train from the centre of Stockholm. Located on the Baltic Sea, the village landscape is dominated by the Grand Hotel.
I stayed for a few days at the Grand during my visit to Stockholm last year during March. At the time, the landscape was covered in snow and the sea was frozen over. I have one particular memory of standing on the shore and looking out at the frozen water and seeing some fisherman right out in the middle. “Do I dare walk out any take a closer look?”, I asked myself, concluding in the negative, as I knew I could have fallen through some thin ice and sunk to a watery grave.
In contrast, the environment was lush and green and there were boats everywhere on the now, unfrozen, Baltic Sea. There’s even an old fashioned swimming bath there with separate male and female entrances which was also very attractive. I spent most of my time wandering around looking at the plants, looking at the ocean, and generally enjoying the sunshine. I even took my shirt off for a while just to experience a little extra sunlight. If I had done this at home I would have sizzled within minutes, but the sun is very gentle in this part of the world.
Later in the afternoon, Graeme and I met up for a final drink and chat before I caught the train to Arlanda Airport.
As always with a holiday ending there’s a mix of emotions. It’s going to be nice to go home for all of the obvious reasons. But there’s also a touch of sadness. Unlike previous trips to Sweden which were journeys of discovery, this one was made a little more different and meaningful. I had an apartment to base myself in, and so wasn’t always moving from place to place. I knew Stockholm a lot more than I used to, and so those day to day things that take up too much time (looking at maps and so on) wasn’t so much of an issue. My Swedish is a lot better than previously and so I didn’t have to struggle so much with that aspect of travel. And I had a good friend in town for much of the time to share the experiences. It was a holiday, for sure, in a comfortable place, and one which I enjoyed very much.