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Published: July 30th 2006
Travelling on a budget is not always easy. So imagine my relief when I get to the shipping port in Turku, Finland.
"One way ticket to Stockholm please"
"Are you travelling on Interail?"
She busies herself in her computer tapping on the keys and referring to my passport. She hands back my passport and my ticket.
"OK there you go, have a good journey"
"Ah so do I have to pay elsewhere or...?"
"No it's free"
I couldn't belive what she had just said.
"Yes, you have come along way"
So I had just saved myself 29 euro for the trip which helped the budget a great deal. The ship arrived and it was massive. The kind of ship you would take on a week journey across oceans. The appropriately named Viking Line supplied us with a ship that had everything, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, shops etc... It was a funny sight to see everyone crammed into the duty free shop. I looked like a grocery store with counters and everything. Like a scene out of a disaster film, everyone was cramming as much alcohol and cigarettes into thier bags as they could and hussling to the check outs, it was
Finally around 11:30pm
a bizarre sight.
As we set sail I say good bye to Finland. I didn't mind Finland but I could tell Stockholm was going to be excellent.
I had no sleep on that night because I had no cabbin so was forced to sleep wherever I could. I chose a section in the main restaurant and tried to go to sleep but failed. I think I got one hour before the floor got too hard.
At about 6:30am Swedish time, we sail into Stockholm. People claim Stockholm as the most beautiful national capital in the world and while I haven't seen every national capital in the world, it wouldn't surprise me. Gamla Stan straight ahead, Södermalm to the left and Djurgården to the right. It was all just so nice. Row and row of old buildings of different colours, church spires piercing the skies and boats sailing away through the endless waters. I could not wait to get in amongst it all.
I got myself into town and headed for the first choice in hostels. There were already 6 people waiting for it to open. There I met 2 guys from Vienna, Austria. It turned out
Already around 4:30am
there was no room so me and the Austrians headed for my second choice up the road. We had success and then we hit the city.
Stockholm is truely a beautiful place. We headed straight for Gamla Stan, the Old Town. Tiny cobblestone alleys and magnificent buildings, Gamla Stan is one of the highlights of Stockholm. We also headed out to the Vasamuseet. A museum that holds a viking war ship that sunk minutes after it was launched in 1628. They took 4 years to pull it up between 1957 and 1961 and were able to save an astonishing 90% of it. It is definatley a highlight.
The next day we headed out to Grinda Island which is in the Archipelago stretching out from Stockholm. It's a tiny little island that has very little on it but it was a nice relaxing day of doing very little. The guys stayed on the Island camping for the night and I headed back to Stockholm. Overhead I head the ominous rumble of thunder and then it rained as I was waiting for the boat. That was not fun. I met a woman, Alicia, back the Hostel from San Diego who
Already around 4:30am
had just come from Israel. She has family there and just managed to get out of Haifa. She headed south and spent most of the rest of her time organising her family in Tel Aviv.
I spent the following day wandering around the city with Alicia taking in the vibe and buildings. I know people are getting sick of the word but I'm going to use it, yes the architecture is amazing. Stockholm has so much to see but a big attraction is just walking around. For the male vistor there is extra sight seeing that can be done. Stockholm is gorgeous in more ways than just buildings. 😉
Everyone told me how expensive Scandinavia is and I felt it when I was here. I thought it would be a nice idea to indulge on coffee and a muffin while in Gamla Stan. £3.50 I worked it out as, or $8.75. The Rum and Coke I had on Grinda Island cost £6.15 or $15.30. Yes it is very expensive but I still managed to stay on budget which I was happy about.
So it has been such a great time but tonight I head to Tallinn on
The magnificent Gamla Stan
another cruise ship but I had to pay for this one.
Thanks all for the comments, keep 'em comin'
The Big Five:
This is the first place I have visited on my Big Five list.
Place: Stockholm, Sweden
Why was it on the list?: I had heard how beautiful the place is and me being a sucker for great looking cities, I was hooked on the idea of coming here.
Was it worth it?: DEFINATELY. It by far exceeded my expectations.
Will I come back?: I don't like to say i will definately be back these days, but I will absolutely try.
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