It has been a long time since I have blogged and usually I use this to keep you all up to date on my articles while I will continue to do this I will also try and tell you all about my adventures here in Stockholm. I know for most of you that is going to be incredibly boring as you are not here with me and couldn’t care less about my everyday life but c’est la vie.
I am in Stockholm on the Erasmus programme and after alot of organising and not as much saving as I had hoped I arrived in Arlanda airport just over a week ago. I knew Stockholm was going to be cold so I made sure to pack all warm clothes which you can imagine are ridiculously heavy and bulky. Inevitably my suitcase was over weight but the very kind lady checking my bags let me away with it. Unfortunately I then had to lug that heavy suitcase for what felt like hours at a time. The most horrible thing is while it is cold you don’t really need the warm wooly jumpers that I insisted on bringing with me. Everywhere has heating on all the time and when you are out and about in the snow once you are wearing a warm coat and the essential hat, scarf and gloves the outfits usually worn at home will suffice.
After getting lost in the city for three hours we (that is to say myself and my friend who is also on Erasmus here) gave up and got a taxi to our hostel. The hostel was located on one of the smallest islands that make up Stockholm and it was beautiful. We were staying on the very top floor and the room had 18 beds in total. It reminded me of the film Madeline.
After collecting our cases (T-Central station) we made our way using public transport to our new college to collect our keys for the room that would be our home for the next six months. To get to the college we got a bus to T-Central station and then a train to Flemingsberg with our heavy suitcases. Imagine our faces when we were told that to get to our accomodation we would have to get the train back to T-Central and get a metro and then another bus! We were exhausted and just wanted to see where we were living. We were tempted to ask if we could just bunk on the office floor for the next six months and be done with it.
All this was nothing in respect to our first visit to Ikea. If you didn’t know, Ikea is a furniture and general household store and was born in Stockholm. We visited the second biggest Ikea in the world to get our desired blankets and homely aspects. We christened it Grandmother Ikea and I must say that it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. It is the biggest shop I have ever seen and the most confusing. Trying to find the exit was one of the hardest challenges I have ever encountered.
Before I sound like my trip here was all doom and gloom it wasn’t. No amount of research into the expensive nature and culture of Sweden could have prepared me for the beauty of the first glimpse of the snow as our plane landed on Swedish soil. It is cold here but not bitter and disabling, the snow glitters in the sun that we have been treated to in the last couple of days. I only have seven hours of college a week spread over two days which gives me plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful nature that surrounds the complex where I live. There is wood behind my appartment that leads to a lake frozen solid and I have seen two deer just a couple of feet away from me.
The architecture is amazing in a city that is both ancient and modern in one. The city is made up of fourteen different islands connected by bridges so the waterways are emmense and boats are the norm here. Swedes really care about the planet and being eco-friendly is a way of life here not just a hippy fad like it is seen in some parts of Europe.
I have met some amazing people in the short time that I have been here and hopefully we will all become fast friends and make this once in a lifetime experience a great one. These are just my first impressions of a very different land to what I am used to back in Ireland and I am sure my opinions will change and mould into something new and different everyday as I learn something new out here.