So, the pleasures of dorm life were brought home to us about 3am when our fellow traveller returned from a night out, blazing a torch around the room, for what seemed like half an hour, farted loudly, giggled and went to sleep. 2 hours later our fellow Belgium travellers got up for their flight home and we were then up at 6am for our train to Sweden. To say we were grumpy and tired is probably not required but I will anyway.
We walked the 100 yards down the street to the train station observing the litter that was everywhere! Saturday nights here are obviously great!
We were so early at the station that we entered the platform before the international barriers had been moved into place.
Train left on time at 7.16 with about 6 people on board which probably says something about the Danish and not being fond of getting up after a Saturday night out.
I dozed like a nodding dog on the train, by the time were were a few hours in I was also becoming slightly itchy which I put down to being tired and sensitive. The train quickly filled up on leaving Malmo and we had luckily been allocated seats in the quiet zone so were able sleep and read when we liked. I also heard my first’tut’ when someone’s phone went off.
The views through the train window were stunning, pine forests, lakes, the odd mountain, more pine trees and more lakes with a few wooden houses dotted throughout – exactly what you would expect from a Swedish holiday brochure.
Arrived in Stockholm on a Sunday afternoon with blue skies above. Walked 20 mins, mainly uphill, with increasingly heavy backpacks to get to the hostel. We are wishing it was winter so we could wear more clothes and have less to carry. On check in, we were shown to our room which was spacious and had an ensuite. OMG! We were over the moon! Who cares there was no window, ensuite and space more than made up for that.
As it was only 2.30 we made our way into town to a local food stall we had seen on the Hairy Bikers show that sold herrings, in all kinds of ways.
We walked through the main shopping street with all the usual names- H&M, Starbucks, Joe and the Juice (Skandi chain which is fab), Zara, burger king etc etc. We got to the end and over to the next island which was crammed with Sunday strollers out for a slow walk. Unfortuntely we weren’t, we were hungry and tired and needed a herring fix NOW! Without elbowing too many locals out of the way we made it over the next bridge and to the food stall nystekt stromming. There was a small queue but he was still selling herring so we waited patiently and got a plate of herring, mash, and three accompaniments (for £7.50) and it was delicious! My accompaniments were the best, the mustard sauce was sweet and goes so well with the oily fish. It was healthy and delicious, what more can you want?
Less grumpy we ventured further into Stockholm and weren’t that impressed but I think we had been spoilt by Copenhagen. All the bars were either English, Irish or American it seemed really difficult to see what a Swedish bar was like so after a wander and a pint (Swedish beer- nice, nothing too special) we headed back to the supermarket over the road for Supermarket Tea. This time it consisted of pickled herrings, smoked salmon, rocket, kartoffelsalat (creamy), smashed avocado and gluten free crispbreads. It was delicious.
We had also looked for a cheeky glass of white wine to accompany this fine dinner but to no avail. On googling Booze in Sweden we found out that hard liquor (as anything over about 3% is known in Sweden) is licenced by the Government and only sold in shops open til 7pm or closed on Sundays, healthy lifestyle it is then.
By this time I was becoming increasingly itchy and disgruntled. On checking my face, arms and legs small bites were appearing, in small clusters, reminiscent of bed bugs, the memories of Asia came flooding back. Paying £35 for a bunk bed and getting bed bugs was a little disheartening.