Ten days in Are, Ostersund and Stockholm
After an amazing month in Africa it was time for some R&R in Sweden. I left Cape Town on the morning of Sept 28 and arrived at Arlanda International Airport outside of Stockholm on the afternoon of Sept 29. I almost didn’t make my connecting flight since I forgot to switch the time ahead an hour on my watch when I landed at Doha International Airport for a 9.5 hr stopover. I fell asleep and set my alarm but since I didn’t change my watch to the local time my alarm was technically an hour behind. Luck was on my side though and by the skin of my teeth I made it to the gate as it was closing. From Arlanda airport I had to take a 5hr train north to Ostersund, the city my friend lives in. I arrived there around 10pm and was greeted by a smiling Hanna! We spent the evening catching up and the next day, Friday, I enjoyed sleeping in while she went to work. Friday evening Hanna and I took a bus to Are, a ski village about an hour and a half north of Ostersund, where her boyfriend Tobben lives. That night we went to a housewarming party. In Sweden, housewarming parties don’t happen when the house is finished, it happens once the roof is on! So I arrived at this party and it was a house with walls and a roof! The floor wasn’t even done. Planks of wood were placed across the beams to make a floor! There were benches, food, booze and Tobben was djing. Not exactly what I had pictured but still fun! The timing of my visit worked in my favor as it was also the fall festival weekend so there were lots of people in the village and a street fair too! On Saturday we checked out the festival and went out for a few drinks. Sunday we did some sight-seeing and then I took the train back down to Ostersund that evening. I spent the next few days relaxing and not doing much, which felt great!! Hanna and her friend took me to a few scenic spots on Tuesday evening as well. It was fall and it reminded me a lot of Nova Scotia. Wed night I took the train back down to Stockholm so I could spend the weekend exploring the city. I learned quickly that Stockholm is not for a backpacker on a budget!! Everything was so expensive that I didn’t end up doing too much. I took in the Royal Apartments and a bunch museums. The Vasa Museum was really cool. It’s a ship that sank in the 1600s on her maiden voyage. She only made it 1500m from the dock before she sank! Three hundred and thirty three years later she was discovered and eventually brought back to the surface. So what is displayed in the museum is 95% of the original ship. The other museum I really enjoyed was the Photographic Museum. A show opened while I was there that featured Nick Brandt’s photography of African wildlife. Sunday morning I left Sweden and headed for the Himalayas.