Three Days till Stockholm
Sweden is a beautiful place in summer but winters can be rough. It can start snowing as early as October and last until April. And with the sun rising as late as at 9:00 and setting as early as at 15:00 in December, it requires a serious adaptation. But the good thing is that sky is often bright and the snow makes everything lighter, so it is not pitch dark and depressing as it might sound. And the sun shines… even if it is only a few hours a day, having a bright sun every day makes a whole difference. But I only lived in Stockholm so my experiences in Sweden is quite limited. In some places like Kiruna, in the north part of Sweden behind the Arctic circle, the sun never rises in winter and the temperature can drop below -30 C, and that is no fun. I have no idea how anyone can survive that but I guess they adapt. On the other hand, the southern part of Sweden is probably much warmer because we are talking about a 2,000 km (1,200 miles) difference. It is surprising how large Sweden is given that its population is only 9.5 millions.
So in three days, I am heading to Stockholm for the remaining of the week. It is a beautiful city based on 12 islands with so much water around. Of course, the prettiest island of all is the old town called Gamla Stan (“old city” in Swedish) because of the history and of the narrow streets and beautiful old buildings. And when the weather gets warmer, it is nothing better than taking a stroll along the water lines, perhaps even taking a dip at one of the beaches. Swedish beaches have not much of the sand, mostly rocks from which one can jump into water but the water is clean and not too cold compared if you go out into the archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Out there the water is too cold even in the in middle of the summer even for me. And yes, people swim in the city because water is so clean! Stockholm is one of the cities among those who have the cleanest city beaches.
So this week I need to sort out my living situation – get my new apartment keys, buy furniture at IKEA, etc and attend some workshops for my thesis. In two weeks, I will be moving there for 3 months to finish my degree. Unfortunately, I will have to leave my husband behind, so it will be tough. And we will have to miss our first anniversary and my birthday but in the end, it will be all worth it. I will come back with my degree and we will be able to celebrate it properly. Perhaps we can even take our first trip on a train to Paris…. we will see!
I know it will be a long and rough winter but eventually it will end and spring will come around. And who does not love spring? It is one of the most beautiful seasons and with colourful houses in Stockholm, so many outdoor cafes and so much sun, I am looking forward to it. Swedes really appreciate the sun so as soon as it gets slightly warmer, the outdoor cafes are full of people. Many of them have blankets and heating just for that. And it might be dark in winter but after the winter solstice, every day brings 5 minutes more of the daylight and eventually everything turns around and suddenly there are the longest days a year. Yes, in winter the sun sets too soon but in summer it barely ever sets and that is so special about this region. I just hope for no surprises. Last year I visited Stockholm in June and once it had -5 C. Apparently that was the coldest June in their history.