Stockholm: More about the people than the place

And suddenly I was in the water – in the middle of the lake close to Hägersten, a borough in Stockholm where I was staying.

It was my first time sailing. The weather was fine and the wind condition fit for a perfect sail. Also my friend had been sailing for a while and his mother had 10 years of sailing experience.

But after about 20 minutes, after the initial thrill of sailing, our sailboat capsized as we were trying to make a turn. The next thing I know, I was in the middle of the lake, trying to hold on to the sailboat that had turned upside down, and looking for Nathan and his mom. To be honest, I just didn’t know how to react.

We tried to turn the sailing boat up again twice but couldn’t. And while I was whisked away by another boat to the shore, and then to the sauna, my friends were still struggling with the boat until they finally managed to get it.

For me, the experience was one heck of an adventure. But surely I didn’t know the intensity of what might have happened. Talking over dinner with few bruises and cuts – none on me though – we laughed about it and celebrated Rosh Hashanah.

My visit to Stockholm was more about the people than the place. I did the most unusual activities, something I would have never done if it was just a touristy visit to the Swedish capital.

Like what?

Picking apples and mushrooms, baking cinnamon buns, sailing, biking (after almost seven years), playing with the dog, and also cooking some Nepalese/Indian food (all in random order).

Early one morning, I was picking apples in my friend’s backyard, and trust me, there were tons of apples. Tons. I don’t think I have ever picked an apple from a tree and eaten it straight away. If that was something new, then picking mushroom was out of the league.

I drove with Nathan and Hannah, along with Soya  (I call her the best Labrador I’ve come across) into the woods. For almost two hours, we picked mushrooms, almost about two kilograms. From one end of the wood to another, searching for mushrooms was like a treasure hunt. The excitement when we found, it was like a child finding some candies. After all, we were cooking the mushrooms later, after they had been dried.

But we didn’t have to wait long. Call it a co-incidence, but my classmates Michel and Jacqueline, who invited us for some dinner had those mushrooms on the menu. It was yum.

While sunny Stockholm had some nature and adventure in store, I made the best out of the rainy day too. While it rained all day the second day of my trip,  after a quick walk through the city’s Old Town area, my friend Joakim  gave me some baking lesson. As the rain settled, over some episodes of X-Factor, we enjoyed the evening with some fresh cinnamon buns and tea.

However, the Friday night didn’t go to a waste. I spent the rest of the night until the wee hours, drinking in various part of the town, hanging out with Nathan and his friends and talking about Nepal, a country that most of them had visited.

Though I was in Stockholm visiting my friends, I didn’t want to deter from seeing the city and being a tourist. So the last day of my four-day trip, after a lunch date with my friend Kristina, who gave me a crash course in Sweden’s sex education in schools (she works for RFSU and worked for UNFPA in Nepal) and gave me a tour of her office, I walked aimlessly and wandered through the city admiring the cobbled streets, old architecture and modern feel of Sweden’s capital city.

For me, I’d say Stockholm is one of the most amazing trips I have had over the years for I experienced the city in an unusual and unique way.

Stockholm for me was indeed more about the people than the place. And the great reunion with all my friends added much more value to the trip, making it memorable.

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