Thanks to Norwegian Airlines, on my way into Finland I scored a 9 hour layover in Oslo, Norway, and on my way out, I scored a 5 hour layover in Stockholm, Sweden! And thanks to Arlanda Express (the 20-minute train service from the airport into the city center), I was able to utilize my short (but just long enough) layover!
The Arlanda Express does not exactly run cheap; a roundtrip will cost you 540 SEK, or approximately 60 USD. But hey, would you rather sit in an airport for 5 hours, or go see the city you’ve set foot on? I decided since my time was limited and the ticket came with a hefty price tag, I wouldn’t spend too much once I was in the city, but instead would just walk around and explore (and take plenty o’selfies).
I arrived to the city center and started lugging my bag around town. I went into a cute little shop (points for being run by a woman), where I bought my mom a Christmas ornament. I make it a point to buy my mom an ornament from every country I see!
I continued to walk until I found Gamla Stan, but along my journey, I was greeted with some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen, a plethora of record stores / rock shops, street vendors selling everything from hotdogs to Indian food, and the cutest and most colorful buildings I had seen in all of Scandinavia. I was quickly falling in love with this charming progressive city.
There were signs all over the place to encourage protecting the environment (a repeated one was “Do you really need that plastic bag?”). Everyone made jokes about wanting to move to Sweden after America’s 2016 Election, and now that I was finally here, well DAMN! I could see why! Sweden seems to know what they’re doing!
I eventually reached Gamla Stan, or Stockholm’s Old Town, and its charm and quirkiness far surpassed my expectations. I began shamelessly taking selfies in front of the colorful buildings (in my Mickey Mouse pompom sweater, obviously). I know Stockholm is arguably music capital of the world, so I made way into a record store and purchased a Beatles record from when Greg Best was still a member (Live from Hamburg, 1962).
Before I knew it, my time was running low, and my appetite running high, so I decided to grab a street hotdog! It was the cheapest and quickest thing within my access. And, it wasn’t bad! I think it ran me around 2 USD.
I headed back to the Arlanda Express, was back at the airport with plenty of time to spare, grabbed a glass of wine (that was, other than the roundtrip ticket, the most expensive purchase of my layover!), and waited to board my plane.
I would love to go back to fully immerse myself into this artistic welcoming city, but I am grateful for the layover to at least give me a little taste.