“Your first time in a foreign country”
On my recent travels (yes, the ones during which I failed to abide by my commitment to keep writing) I went to Sweden for the first time. The reason for the visit was simple. One of my very best childhood friends had been living there for a year and I had not seen her in twice as long (or more). So, without knowing much at all about the country, I landed in Stockholm on a rainy afternoon on the last day of May. I went straight to my hotel and resolved that I would spend my precious few hours the next morning exploring the old part of the city before jumping on a train to Karlstad, near where my friend was living.
I’m always fascinated by the historical areas in a city. I find it impossible to face an ancient building and not fathom the stories of the people who inhabited it centuries ago. The old centre of Stockholm was no different for me; it was beautiful. It holds an architecture distinctive from the English, Spanish, French and Italian buildings I had been exposed to prior to my visit. The Swedes seemed to have built things brighter, squarer, but still resplendent. I look forward to going back someday. I feel that I have unfinished business with the city as I was left with the distinct urge to bring someone back and show him or her the beauty of the city.
Once I left Stockholm, the rest of my time was spent in the Swedish countryside. Sweden in early June is breathtaking. If you’re not looking out on a meadow of green, luscious grass adorned with silver dandelions, then you are either passing through a forest that has fully shaken off the grips of winter, or you are moving past a lake that sits so still it looks as if it is in the holds of magic. You almost expect to catch a glimpse of fairies flitting by.
I loved my time out there. I got to spend time with one of my closest friends, and I got to explore a place that felt both enchanted and familiar all at once.
I’d go back in a heartbeat.