Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

September 5, 2009

Sweden 40th Birthday Trip

Filed under: 2009 Sweden,Vacations/Trips — dave9169 @ 7:10 pm

Sweden Trip

I had a great time in Sweden. Last year, my friend Derek moved away to Sweden with his family. Before he left, I told him that maybe for my 40th birthday I’d come out to see him so that we could hang out and celebrate. So that’s exactly what I did, and, another buddy of mine, Tyson, surprised me by joining me at the last minute which make the journey a lot more enjoyable — especially when you’re flying for 13+ hours.

Derek lives in the heart of Stockholm, just minutes from Gamla Stan. This cobblestone town dates back to the 13th century and is one of the most picturesque places in the city. Initially, we found Sweden a little eerie because it’s so quiet. I mean, if you’re at the airport all you really hear is the sound of luggage conveyor belts. If you’re on the bus, you just hear the humming of the engine. If you’re on the streets it’s quiet too for the most part, with the exception of traffic noise. But if you go up and ask a Swedish person for directions, they light up and will go out of their way to help you. What also makes Sweden nice is that everybody there speaks English which makes everything so much easier. I jokingly told an English friend of mine that Sweden reminds me of England, except everybody there is pretty ;-).

The beautiful Swedish people are complemented nicely by the gorgeous scenery of Stockholm. The city itself is essentially an archipelago composed of several small islands. As you walk through the city you are constantly crossing small bridges to get from one island to the other. And at this time of year (early September) the sun was almost always out, which meant constant breathtaking panoramas of water glistening amidst a backdrop of multi-colored pastel red, and yellow buildings. The Swedes all seemed to be enjoying the last bit of summer before the “darker” weather comes. Along one street, in particular, we found many of them sitting in outdoor cafes facing the sun with their eyes closed and their heads slightly tilted back to absorb the warmth of the midday rays — human sunflowers in peaceful repose.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the places we visited, but briefly we visited the King’s castle, went to an excellent Thai restaurant for my birthday, took a side trip to a small beach (nobody was there though as finding people on the beach in September is rare), and visited the Vassa museum. The Vassa, is a ship which sank in 1628 and was resurrected in 1961. After decades of restoration, the ship is now one of the biggest attractions in Stockholm. The Vassa was supposed to be the pride and joy of the King’s fleet, but shortly after it set sail it keeled over to one side, recovered briefly and then keeled over again and sank. All because the ship was too top heavy — not enough weight at the bottom of the ship to counteract the weight from the sails.

Public transportation is also excellent in Stockholm. We really didn’t need a car for anything as you can get pretty much anywhere using the trains or buses. We really had a nice time!

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