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24 August 2011

Welcome to Stockholm

Day 63: Friday, 22 July 2011

Stockholm. The capital of Sweden, and the largest city in Scandinavia. After over 2 weeks in surreal, unfamiliar, and fantastical Estonia and Finland, it was a surprise to be back in more familiar and… conventional surroundings. (It was my first time in Stockholm, but I had been to Sweden, Malmö before; and the language is one that I can sort of figure out).

My main impression of Stockholm is that it really is cosmopolitan, and that the people are so incredibly hip and trendy. Seriously, all around me, whether walking or on the metro, the people seem like they came straight out of a fashion magazine. It's like someone took all the urban chic young people from New York and put them in their own city. Maybe because I had spent much of my trip in rural areas, the transition to the city seemed so abrupt.

But Stockholm doesn't feel like a full "big city". It is all just so safe everywhere. I wasn't familiar with the neighborhoods, but I still couldn't imagine there being many ghettos here. The city is quite gorgeous too, with several islands forming part of the city. The buildings are both colorfully pastel and darkly ominous. There was more to this city than meets the eye, but at this point in my trip, I was frankly more interested in finding a comfortable place to put my bags down and rest than trying to crack the mystery of yet another city.