When I was in Stockholm, I stayed in a 8 bedroom dorm in a hostel. Whilst I was there, I met a wonderful Mexican girl, Yohanna, staying in my dorm, and we connected over being solo-travellers and sad fact about having no one to assist us in photo taking.
Since we were both rather chatty people, we immediately hit it off and started talking about the different places we've been to. By a mere coincidence, we had visited so many of the same places and went on to talk about what we liked about each of those cities.
That night I was planning to head out to see the sunset and night lights near the Stockholm City Hall, after stumbling upon some really cool photos online. I showed the photos to Yohanna and she immediately agreed to accompany me!
Before going out to attempt to catch the sunset, Yohanna went for some snacks/late lunch, while I strolled around the main area near the hostel, since i'd already eaten and wanted to explore a different area of Stockholm.
Accommodation Info: City Backpackers Hostel
+ Big spacious rooms even for 8 bed dorms
+ Communal showers but very clean, individual rooms & great facilities
- Not particularly close to the main train station (10-15min walk)
As I was walking around the area of my hostel, I came across a random art museum with a nice café, I was craving some cinnamon buns, so I went in. Instead of going straight to the café, I decided to take a walk and look at the exhibitions. The exhibitions that were up in Bonniers Art Hall were pretty unusual. There were structures made out of books, random paper cut outs, photo frame filled walls, and photographs that had words printed onto them.
It guess it was more of a modern, futuristic and slightly quirky type of exhibition, unlike the typical european art museum I was used to visiting.
My favourite part of the exhibition was the one above which chronologically told a story of how a parisian women had her mum hire a PI to keep watch on her, and she in turned went to certain places and showed him her life. It was a very interesting take on changing perspectives, and the experience recounted by both parties, though similar in fact, were so different in emotion and tone. It was so intriguing to read. Despite being set in the 70s, the names of the places in Paris were not foreign to me. That allowed me to imagine and appreciate it even more. (Also because Paris will always hold a special place in my heart.)
Another part I enjoyed were the various projections; especially one with a man walking through ruins just plastered on a huge screen. It was very abstract and I probably did not get what the artist was trying to convey, but I really liked it anyway. Something about it being both mysterious and slightly out of place, made me feel attracted, engrossed to it, and slightly uncomfortable at the same time.
I didn't expect myself to enjoy the exhibition because in all honesty, I'm not one of those people who enjoy going to museums and reading about 101 different things. I like learning about new things and visiting certain types of themed museums or exhibitions - e.g museums in Paris, castles around Europe etc. - but my short attention span tends to result in me being bored really easily.
After walking through the museum, it was about time the sun began to set, so I met up with Yohanna and we headed off towards the harbour and Stockholm City Hall.
We walked by the main canal of Stockholm and were talking about how interesting and modern certain parts of Stockholm's architecture was, when we saw people jogging past us. Being from rather warm climates, we were both unable to fathom how people could survive with such thin layer of clothes and went on to talked about how bizarre it is that spring to Scandinavians is at a temperature of 1°C. Not to mention, it was getting late, the winds starting to blow and that made it even chillier.
Eventually we arrived at the Stockholm City Hall - which was actually bigger than I thought, and looked way more interesting within its perimeters than I had expected.
But, as you can see from the pictures, it was sadly a ranther gloomy and cloudy day and there was not much of a sunset to admire.
Yohanna and I were both joking about how we were watching the "light set" because there was no sun, just light and clouds, which progressively got darker.
Regardless, the view that we got from the harbour was incredible. Also, there was no one in sight, which we couldn't comprehend. We kept going, "THERE SHOULD BE PEOPLE HERE! It's so beautiful!"
But, that worked out great for us because we could take photos of the area without having to worry about having tourists in them.
Yohanna and I both took pictures at this exact place with the view of Stockholm and the waters behind us. She was glad she didn't have to whip out her selfie stick to take a picture of herself, like how she mentioned she did in the past few cities she visited.
After admiring the view from the side with the city hall, we decided to cross over to the other side of the harbour, so that we could see the city hall light up at night (just like the pictures we saw on google). We proceeded towards the other side where the old town Gamla Stan was located, and watched intently as the sky got darker, hoping for the lights to come on.
Unfortunately, the city hall did not light up as we had expected it to, and we were getting pretty hungry waiting for something to happen/some lights to come on. Eventually, we attributed the pictures we saw to be another case of wonderful photoshop skills, and headed off towards the old town to get ourselves some good ol' swedish meatballs.
Even though we didn't get to see the Stockholm City Hall light up, the lights from the shops and buildings on the other end of the harbour were a nice consolation. The colourful reflections on the water never fail to mesmerise me. I think visiting harbours at night (see: A Day in Porto) can be considered as one of my favourite things to do when I'm in a different city.
The old town looked incredible at night with the orangey-yellow lamps flooding the streets with its warm light. We had a nice time just walking through and talking before settling down at a restaurant for dinner.
That night, Yohanna had a good chat about life, and experiences over some fabulous swedish meatballs, and swedish beer before heading back to the hostel.
It was my last night in Stockholm and her first, which was quite a shame, but the company was good whilst it lasted.
Encounters like this is the reason why I LOVE travelling. Travel brings such wonderful opportunities to meet people from around the world, hang out with them and listen to their stories. It is so surreal how connections like these can be formed across the world.
Never in a million years would I have expected to meet so many different people (I feel like I say this one too many times, but its true!) I will be eternally grateful for all the travel experiences I got this year abroad.
More importantly, such experiences and encounters help me realise that humans around the world are a lot similar than most would expect; we have the same fears, the same goals, the same dream to succeed in life, the same desire to see the world, and that, is extremely heartwarming, wouldn't you agree?