We travelled to Stockholm by train from Copenhagen, with a few short hours in Malmö on the way. Four and a half hours is by no means the longest train I’ve ever gotten, but when the scenery outside literally doesn’t change for close to 400 miles, it tends to drag a little.
Our few hours in Malmö were fairly uneventful. We took our time to find a place to eat, get some Swedish Krone to replace the now-useless Danish Krone we had leftover, and took a short walk to see the underwhelming and quite frankly boring Malmö Castle. Our train from Malmö to Stockholm took until almost 7pm, so by the time we arrived we didn’t have much time to do anything other than make a quick trip to the Systembolaget and find our hostel.
Sweden has fairly strict alcohol laws compared with a lot of Europe. Alcoholic drinks >3.5%ABV can only be bought from the government-run Systembolaget, which are only open until 7 or 8pm through the week, 3pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. The prices are high too, with a combination of the already high cost-of-living in Sweden, and the high government tax on alcohol. We stocked up, and made our way to the hostel north of Stockholm Central Station.
Rather than find somewhere to eat, we elected to stay in the bar/restaurant attached to the hostel, and watch the Euro 2016 semi-final between France and Italy. The Swedish meatballs were fantastic, albeit unsatiating, but we filled up on beer to make up for it. Once again, we had planned for an early night, but after the semi-final was over, we found ourselves drinking vodka with a few Australians, talking politics and independence after the recent Brexit vote in the UK until well after the sun rose. The 10am walking tour the next day was looking unlikely.
Not only was the 10am tour way more than our hangovers could even attempt, we also almost missed the repeated tour at 1pm. We caught up with the group eventually; not that it was worth it, the group was huge and we could barely hear anything the tour guide said. At least we had a chance to walk around the extraordinarily beautiful Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town.
After the long walk around Gamla Stan, we wandered back to the hostel to shower and change; the heat in Stockholm was more than we’d anticipated for going so far north. After everyone was sorted, we walked through Stockholm to find yet another Hard Rock Café (this will be a recurring theme in all posts tagged ‘travel’, if you hadn’t already noticed). The Local was once again uninspiring, but we were so hungry we barely noticed.
Well satiated, we headed back to the hostel. We had more alcohol there (genuinely could not afford to go out drinking in Stockholm at this point), so instead we stayed in with our new Chilean roommate and played cards until the early hours, stopping only to go on beer and kebab runs. Pretty sure we could do this for half the price anywhere else, but that wouldn’t be the same.
On our last full day in Stockholm, we wandered back south towards the old town, along the river and around the city centre, no particular aims, just looking to see the city. We coincidentally ended up outside our Turkish friend’s old workplace; naturally, we took many mocking selfies to send him for skipping out on travelling with us. Asshole.
The last night in Scandinavia was a relatively sober one, as at least some of us had to leave for the airport at 5am the next day; one of the downsides of cheap flights is the god-awful times. Don’t get me wrong, we still stayed up playing drinking games until after 2am, but for us that’s basically an early night. Overall, I enjoyed Stockholm, but not nearly as much as I would have if we didn’t have to live like paupers. I’ll definitely come back, it’s a beautiful city, but probably when I have enough money to actually appreciate it fully. So at least ten years.
This post is part 2 of 2 of a trip I took in July 2016.
Part 1 covers our time in Copenhagen.