Contiki Russia Plus: Day 1 – Stockholm
I think I may have Stockholm Syndrome because this city has exceeded my expectations and I haven’t even taken a proper walking tour yet.
The train from the airport to the city center was quick and comfortable. It even had wifi on board – sometimes I wonder why America is so far behind Europe when it comes to the implementation and availability of technology!
After a 20 minute ride, I got off my train and met up with Trish and Chuck, two friends from Penn State who moved to Sweden shortly after graduation. We walked about 20 minutes to my hostel, City Hostel, where I dropped my bag off before we headed back out to see Stockholm.
I needed to get a SIM card for my iPhone & my friends were able to get me exactly what I needed. It is always nice to have someone who knows the language be able to help you out!
We then headed to grab a bite to eat at a Chinese buffet named Restaurant Tang. It was the coolest buffet experience I’ve ever had – you ordered your food using an iPad Mini (4 tapa sized plates per person at a time), could only order once every 15 minutes and had a total time limit of 90 minutes. I had everything from dumplings to deep fried shrimp balls to duck to fried bananas and fried pumpkin! By the 60th minute, I was stuffed!
After dinner, Trish and Chuck headed back home and I walked to the Old Town to explore. I just wandered around and took in the atmosphere as I’m going on a proper walking tour of the city tomorrow, but it felt like stepping back in time. Walking down narrow alleys and cobblestone streets are something that I will always cherish.
After getting lost on purpose, I took a leisurely walk back to my hostel which was about 45 minutes away. I quickly changed and headed back up to meet up with my Contiki group. My tour doesn’t start until 6:00 PM tomorrow, but the group got in from Norway this afternoon so I met up with them.
We went to an ice bar at the Raddison Blu hotel. It was completely different than the ice bar I went to in Alaska in that the ice bar was the main feature. They gave us heavy poncho/parkas before we went into the below freezing bar made entirely out of ice. The walls were ice, but had text and carvings throughout. Unfortunately, my phone couldn’t take a good picture but I’ve included a video of the bar below.
After about 30 minutes, everyone finished their drinks and we headed to a night club. After about a half hour at the night club, my exhaustion from getting just 2.5 hours sleep the previous 40 hours started to hit me, so I caught the metro back towards my hostel.
While a few members of the Contiki group I met tonight are leaving in Stockholm or Helsinki, the group seems like they’re a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to spending the next two weeks with them as we explore Europe!