A Week of Firsts: Arrival in Stockholm

Last Friday I ended my 10 days of travelling through Europe and arrived in Stockholm. I split my time between Lake Como, Italy and Jostedal, Norway. Both cities were had incredible scenery, from the small lakefront town of Como to the glacier and national parks near Jostedal.

 

I spent my first day in Stockholm on a City Bike, which was a great way to see the city in the nice weather. A pass good from April to October 31 is just 250 SEK ($31 USD). I find biking the best way to see the narrow streets of Old Town (Gamla Stan) and the large city parks as it is quick, affordable, and portable. Stockholm’s extensive bike paths make city biking safe, and it is a popular way to get around the city.

I live in a Living Learning Community in Sollentuna, a suburb of Stockholm, with 17 other DIS students. We’ve gotten to know each other well in the past few days, and have done several of our own trips through the city. I’ve absolutely loved the parts of the city I’ve seen, here are some of my first impressions:

  1. Personal space is highly respected, strangers and passerby avoid close proximity when possible. While crowded commuter and metro trains are exceptions, people tend to respect others and their privacy.
  2. Almost no jay-walking or walking on red lights. Pedestrians tend to respect road rules and only walk in crosswalks and on green lights.
  3. Beautiful city: Stockholm has many bridges connecting the islands, and the historical buildings mixed with modern architecture creates many scenic areas.
  4. Clean and orderly public transit: The trains and metro are all nearly spotless (especially coming from New York City). Trains are efficient, fast, and reliable. This makes getting around Stockholm easy for travelers without cars.
  5. Coffee and pastries are taken very seriously: Fika, or coffee breaks with pastries, is a large part of the local culture. I’ve had incredible food at every bakery I’ve gone to (Highly recommend Gunnarson’s Specialkonditori for Kanelbullar, or cinnamon rolls).

So far I’ve gotten a great taste of the city and some traditional food like meatballs, salmon, and Räksmörgås (small open-faced sandwiches with seafood). I can’t wait to start classes tomorrow and continue exploring the city!

Next week: Travel plan announcements, first week of class, and preparation for the Stockholm Half-marathon.

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