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Day 1 - Stockholm

SWEDEN | Wednesday, 13 May 2015 | Views [235]

It's been eight years since I've been to Europe, and my first time to Sweden. Sweden feels very much like Washington State, it's green everywhere. When I got off the plane, the passport control hallway was constructed with fine smelling wood. It felt very inviting. I then made my way through a maze of hallways and stairs to the baggage claim, where I waiting about 10 minutes for my bag. I got off and continued walking.

Thinking I was out of the terminal I started following a group of very attractive Icelandic girls thinking they must be getting out. Let's just say I was more distracted than paying attention! I missed the customs hallway by about 10 feet, then got outside the terminal!

Honestly, Sweden does not feel very foreign! Every sign is in English. Everyone speaks English. The food also is not out of the ordinary. I feel very comfortable and welcome.

I went and bought my ticket for the Arlanda Express train. This was my first time using the chip and pin feature on my phone, and it worked well. I then took the escalator down to the station and noticed something. I was hearing seagulls. I was thinking why are there birds in here?! As I got further down, I realized the station was modeled after a seaside cave, even with the environmetal factors done right! 

I got down to the station and barely missed my train. That was actually a good thing because I wouldn't have met two good guys who were on the same flight as I was from Oakland. We made it onto the train and they were not lying with how quick and efficent it was! The train went 200 km/hr. It cost about $31, but it was worth the efficency.

As I was off the station, I was surprised how much Stockholm Central looked like a mall! The floor was so clean that if I dropped food on it, I would pick it up and still eat it. While hanging around, a Swedish man starting talking, well, Swedish to me. I did not understand one word he said but he was asking something. He left with a tiny fit. That was the moment I realized I am in Sweden. For all I know, he could have been asking me out on a date.

After leaving Stockholm Central, I walked down the main street towards my hostel. The architecture felt French. You could mistaken a photo I took with a Parisian street. I enjoyed looking into the stores and seeing people sitting inside, and the technology that is used in there as well. I did not feel like I was in a foreign country.

What also stood out were what I assume are gypsies. They were all hanging around the train station holding cups out for money. This is surprising because I read that Swedish people don't use cash almost at all. So they must have a hard time pulling some money. 

Finally I made it to my hostel, down in the basement of a building. The staff member was friendly and was really good at pronouncing my last name. I have a small windowless room (windowless for a reason, the sun doesn't set fully around this time) with a simple table, and TV. I am already loving it. I will have to explore it now and see how it looks. Based on my almost four hours in Sweden, I already love it here.

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