I make a nice little blog post finishing up my last weekend saying i'll have more done then I end up being late for the "deadline" that I set for myself. Sorry to let you down if I have! I wonder if this is foreshadowing that I should not be my own boss in 4 years when I enter the real world.
From now on I'll have to use ambiguous terms so I don't feel like i've let my loyal readers down!
Speaking of loyal readers (sorry I know this isn't Sweden.... i'm getting there) I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads! Sounds silly, but you keep me going and wanting to write more blog posts. I have over 1150 views on my blog (I have no idea who you are, but it's safe to say I can probably guess a few :)) but seeing the numbers go up after a post makes me want to do more posts and share more! I wanted to do a blog not only for people who wanted to follow me while I was gone, but for something to read back on (so hopefully the internet stays around for a little while longer). I also have a journal, but both are nice to have. Ok so that is that!
Thursday night I left for the airport with Sophie. We conveniently could take the train from university straight to the airport! The airport was scary. Why? I didn't have my passport checked once, security was laid back, I didn't even have to take my shoes off! That was new for me. Besides that, I was surprised by all the shopping that was available. There were stores that are in the malls here so I hadn't seen actual clothing stores in airports before.
We flew to Denmark and as we were finding our next gate (power walking with our short 40 minute layover) I noticed it seemed really clean and nice dark wooden floors. As well as a ton of shops! Victoria Secret, H&M, Oakley, etc.etc. I also realized I have no idea of the currency used in Denmark because I went to the vending machine and it was 18.00 for a bottle of soda.
We hopped on the next flight (also had never been in an airport where I can read everything because the languages presented weren't English--made me feel like I should learn more languages ha!) Another side note: we are spoiled. Even though none of the newspapers were English and just about every passenger about to board the plane first language was not English the language used to tell us to board was English. After talking with Ville and Caroline they have opened my eyes to how important it is for them to know English and how beneficial it is. It truly has become a universal language. Realize how lucky you are to be able to communicate with people from every country because they had to learn OUR language. Wow. We are spoiled.
Anyways, so we flew to Finland and we were walking expecting to go through customs but nope. Didn't have our passport checked at all walked right out and Ville was waiting right there with his friend. Hello!!!!!
It was 1 am, and so we hopped in the car and got going. We stayed at Ville's friend's place in Helsinki. We were lucky to have his hospitality because in 4 hours we would need to be up and heading to the airport again. It was really weird to be in a car because I haven't been in one (not including taxis) since my parents were here and that, uh, interesting experience. That wasn't the weirdest part..... I was back on the right side of the road with the steering wheel on the left. Woah. Curve ball!! My brain was so confused. It was an odd odd feeling. It took my a while to get used to being back on the side of the road that I have spent 20 years on. It'll be interesting getting home and actually driving... ha!! :)
We stayed at his friends house and they couldn't have been sweeter. His friend even had a test the next morning! We got up the next morning and Ville had made some breakfast sandwiches. It was rye bread with meat, tomatoes, and cucumbers oh and some butter underneath. I say meat because I have a problem with meat, but as you know I have been opening my mind to just trying things and throwing my old habits away. So I just ate it. It was good, but I needed lots of water for the bread. It isn't something you should eat with a dry throat! I asked Ville later that day what the meat was. He told me ham. I don't eat ham. So +2 points for Abby (remember the haggis).
We got to the airport and this time I was greeted with pubs. People were having pints with their breakfast at 9am. When we go on holiday sure my family might have a bloody mary or beer or whatever in the airport, but it was different it was so normal for them all. (I have done my morning drinking plenty of times before, but not often just a couple pints with a plate of breakfast and men and women) I apparently need to step up my game a little bit. Our flight to Sweden took 50 minutes. We arrived and took a bus into the city centre of Stockholm. We waited for Caroline. Eeeekk!!! Caroline had arrived. We don't know what all we are going to do with our day, but who cares.
The memories and stories of Logan started flowing. We probably talked about you, if not, your name was at least mentioned. (not in a bad way people!)
It was so fun just being around Ville and Caroline. Especially being gone from home, it was like a little slice of home being able to discuss things and have them actually know what i'm talking about or where i'm coming from.
We walked around Stockholm and I just liked the little streets with colorful buildings. When you see little things like that, that is what always reminds me--yep definitely in a different country.
This is outside of a church that we went by. I don't know all the names for everything but I will do my best to let you have context of what it is.
Ah, the picture below is part of old town of Stockholm. It was beautiful. It was fun to walk down the cobble stone streets and cute little buildings. In the bottom of the red building we fikaed (I think that is the term) which (I think means) getting a hot drink and having a pastry (something like that). Haha. I said I wanted to sit and have a tea or coffee and maybe a sweet treat, and Caroline said they do that and call it fika.
This is Ville and Sophie inside fika-ing! We got hot chocolate (the place was actually named something with hot chocolate) and as you can see in the photo it was a high class hot chocolate! The cups or mug whichever you want to call it were interesting because they didn't have any handles. I don't think i've seen a bowl-y type mug like that and not without a handle. But hey! They were cute and tasted good so that is all that matters.
The picture below is when we were walking around old town and you can see the little shops. Cute!
We went inside another church in old town. If Caroline reads this post she could comment and give me some tips if she remembers any names ;) *hint hint*
This church was beautiful. It had so many colors, and as you can see it had special places on the sides as well.
The picture below is an extravagant piece. All the gold and detail, wow. Has anyone else seen these before or know exactly what they are used for? I thought they were beautiful, but found them curious because their placement would cut off 1/4 of the people from seeing (not that you have to see to hear, but it always it nice to have a face to look at when listening).
After we walked around old town, saw a few churches, and had our snack it was time to move on. We walked to one of Caroline's favorite sights of the city. A sight it was! How cool is it to have a local (well she lives 2 hours away) but to have them show you their favorite spots rather than googling and trying to find things and places to go.
Caroline, me, Ville
The picture below is also taken from where we were above. I thought it was so cool. The colors of the buildings and the dark roof tops. Ah!! How cute!! Just like Logan! .....not.
Next, Caroline decided to take us to a market. There aren't a lot of main sights to see, but just walking around in the environment and being with 3 great people (Caroline, Ville, Sophie) made the trip one to remember!
So the market was amazing. We didn't buy anything, but just walking around it was pretty neat. Every kind of meat you could think of, every cut of the meat (and it's kind of just pretty to look at food. do you other foodies agree?) You name it they have it. Meat, bread, pastries, vegetables, fruits, cheese, more, more, more...everything fresh and homemade just perfect!
There was a man selling honey and there were three stages of the honey (depending on when you get it from the hive). They were all different colors and had a different taste. Yum!
As we were walking about the city we ran into an ice skating rink, so obviously we had to rent some ice skates. I haven't ice skated in a long, long while. Turns out it is a little different than riding a bike years later! A little shaky, but it wasn't too bad by the end of the 30 minutes that we skated. No one fell!!! Well.... no one had fallen, until Sophie falls right before she steps out of the rink to take off her skates!! The worst part is... we didn't get it on camera.
I am a candy freak. So we had to get some candy, and I had some money to waste! (Not waste, but there would have been no point in converting it back to pounds or euros. Their currency is the crown, but can also look like krona so that was confusing and I still don't get it. Their currency has been the hardest to use because it is so confusing. For lunch I paid 100 crowns which would be like 12 euros which is 16 dollars. I felt rich throwing around 100s like they were nothing!
Back to the candy. I filled my bag way too full and I have a self diagnosed eating disorder called cantstopia. I was sickly full, and felt like a 5 year old for getting a stomach ache from eating too much candy. It happens.
I wanted to share that they don't sell Swedish Fish (the American candy) in Sweden! Crazy, I thought that stuff was authentic! But they do sell gummy fishies, but they still aren't called Swedish fish or anything of the sort. Bummer. The middle is a Dala horse. I should have taken more pictures of them. But you get a true gummy picture. They were all pretty tasty.
It was so sad to leave Caroline behind after a short day together. She was so nice coming to Stockholm and be our tour guide and have her awesome company. If I have time I might try and plan a little trip back to see her so I can see how they Swedes really live life. Caroline hopped on a bus back to her town, and we caught the bus back to the airport to leave. Yes I had been on 4 airplanes and 3 countries in less than 24 hours.
I will need another post to share all my Finland fun! I will say check back in a couple days OR SO. ;)