Stockholm was one of my favorite cities in Europe, quite possibly because I had such a good host to show me around so that I didn’t really have to use my brain at all, just relax and follow her lead.
Eva picked me up from the train station yesterday evening. It was wonderful to see her smiling face and I felt all the stress and tiredness of the past couple of days fall away when I saw her on the platform. It’s not very often that I get to meet one of my best friends twice a year and I’m glad we could make this happen. I really wished I had longer than a mere day to spend with her. I had originally thought it wouuld be two to three days, but I hadn’t counted on the train ride taking almost an entire day on my return to Hamburg.
We exchanged news and she gave me a train pass that I was valid for three days, so I wouldn’t have to worry about transportation. How thoughtful! We took a couple of trains to her place and walked up four flights of stairs to her apartment (there’s no escaping this in Europe… grrr!). Her place was delightful and most exactly like how I had pictured it from her descriptions and photos. The first thing my eyes set on were her New Rocks, which I coveted immediately, and her stuffed dragon Pjukkan, which also I coveted. Lol…
I unpacked a bit, cleaned up, and then we went hunting for food. We stumbled across an Indian restaurant which was closing in 30 minutes and ordered a ton of very delicious food. Indian food in Sweden… seemed odd, but it was good. More talking and more catching up as old friends do. :)
I was too tired to go out and do any more that night, so we came back where she made up a very comfy bed for me with her pullout couch. I slept really well that night!
The next day the weather was still warm and sunny. She planned on taking me to the Old Town (Gamla Stan) where we would just wander the streets and walk and talk and rest when we were tired and really have no set agenda. It sounded wonderful to not have to visit any of the must-see tourist places and just spend alone time with her. It struck me that she was a lot more animated and cheerful than the times when she had visited Seattle, quite possibly because she wasn’t jet lagged and on her own home ground. I wonder if I must have been more quiet and subdued than when she saw me in Seattle.
We went to a vegan buffet for lunch, which was okay. The restaurant had a fantastic view of the harbor and the Old Town beyond. As usual, my camera couldn’t do justice to the panoramic view.
Afterward we walked by the water around the harbor to the city. I liked the unusual architecture of the old buildings and enjoyed walking past them and gazing up at the roofs. The old town was a labyrinth of little cobblestone streets with cool houses and stores lurking around various corners. I thought it was neat that people still lived there, just like in the olden days.
We went to a few gothy stores, but I didn’t end up buying anything more than socks (nice and portable!). After a couple of hours of walking, we went to a cool underground cafe that reminded me of an opium den. I wondered if it had been one back in the day.
Later in the evening, we returned to her place and I made plans to meet Hank, an American motorcyclist who lived in the city, whom I had connected with online. He had just come back with a big tour, co-incidentally with a Slovenian guy who was friends with the guy I rented my bike from. The motorcycling world is truly a small one, even in Europe. Hank met us near the train station and we talked for a little while and he gave me route ideas.
In the evening, Eva took me too a restaurant for dinner where I got some very tasty lamb. Nummy! On the way home, we picked up Ballerina cookies, my favorite thing to come out of Sweden, and went home and had tea and cookies and watched Buffy (the Dracula episode) and giggled a lot. Then for some blogging, shower and bed.
The next morning she dropped me off at the train station where she stood waving until the train started moving and I was out of sight. Awww… :D Whenever people are so good to me, I wonder what I did to deserve it. :)