The Day I walked Around Stockholm in Summer
2 July 2012
Do you want something tobe nice? Maybe something you want to be blown away by? The trick is to not have one kind of stance, so you’re more easily blown over.
Ok, so there are ideas about countries and cities and ewhat things are like. Ok. Don’t hold them. Because when you get to where you’re going, whether is lying there will always be good becuase there’s no bar to jump over.
Or maybe I’m wrong and it’s just because I’ve just arrived in one of the most beautiful cities ever.
I wake up to the sun sparkiling on the water with that brightness you get when you have no idea what to expect. The guy whose shoulder I think I’ve been inadvertantly resting my head on turns away from me, and I conveniently turn the other way to look over the bridge we’re crossing.
Having not booked any accommodation, the only responsibility I feel after disembarking is to walk to the water. There’s networks of bridges, carrying my eyes over the water to the huge immaculate buildings that collectively form a facade for each island. Both nearby and in the distance are spines that are more like indicators of “there’s something here” rather than tributes to god. Perhaps they’re more like “this is the capital of Scandinavia and don’t get that confused”.
Pedestrians and bike riders (in near equal amounts) wait patiently at the lights before making a crossing over the bridge in nujmbers much greater than cars. Like very utopic city there are dedicated bike lanes which are proving difficult because I finally just changed my mind from looking left to looking right just a couple of months ago.
In the distance the pale coloured buildings spread out and space in between is replaced by trees thick with green leaves so thick someone painted them. It all sits much higher on top a sheer black faced rock This is Sodermalm and I have to go from Norrmalm (where I am now) through Galma Stan and over another bridge.
Before I’ve even started to walk, I’m walking through Stockholm’s old town which athough amazingly preserved, I walk through its windy narrow streets like any other I’ve been through. “Snyggt” the girls say descretely as I walk past. The ultimate claim to fame: being called cute by two Swedish girls.
The only tourists left as I cross the bridge over to Sodermalm are Scandinavians on the way to other northern countries: Oslo Norway, Helsinki Finland and Talinn Estonia. The checkin is packed full of families with little blonde kids and elderly couples.
Tucked away behind osme trees are an old flight of wooden stairs that take me pu and over the black rock face to a suddenly very quiet place where the windows are left open to let the summer breeze in. An old man with faded gold hair shuffles past as I take a photo of the church that points up out of hte friendly little houses to the sky.
From a quiet little lookout you can see the water flowing around each island, quickly becoming less developed as you look away from the city centre. Ironically it’s very similar to Sydney even down to the small theme park perched on the coast.
I keep walking. I make it to where what looks like the industrial bit of Stockholm. Before I turn around I clamber up a rocky landmass and get a sense of how far I’ve walked. Below is the road that sweeps around the countours of the island, with the train line doing the same above ground. It must be a nice view becuase there’s a little disposable barbecue left in a ditch.
In an amazing testament to the human memory, I remember the street where someone I met backpacking lives. I turn back around towards what is a much more Sotckhomer’s Stockholm wwhere people busk in pairs and sit by the river probably talking about normal life matters. A girl argues on the phone, two guys laugh loudly and groups of girls giggle. I pass over the bridge and walk up to where tehse those coloured buildings stand tall and reflect in the water.
Two streets back from the river I walk the entire length of the stree,tt passing over little hills and clibming steep cobblestoned slopes. The area seems so normal with all the bikes parked casuallyy under thick triple glazed windows.
At the end is another church that is closed and so quiet I wonder whether it’s abandoned. The iron gates are eerily similar to those of a graveyard.
Now there’s only one thing left to do. Walk back through all these streets full of life across islands and over bridges.
Checked in to City Backpackers hostel for 230 swedish kroners.