After my trip to Iceland, I returned to London for a one-night pit stop. One weekend into the winter break, most of my classmates had already left the country. Many went back to the United States to spend the holidays with their families, and a few others went off to do some more traveling. I prepped myself to do the latter.
I moved my luggage from the flat in Bloomsbury over to my law school’s building and packed about seven days’ worth of clothing into a canvas “holdall” bag from Marks & Spencer. The clothes would last me two weeks as I rode the rails around Europe as part of my self-imposed rite of passage to become a full-fledged pretentious writer (note: I washed my clothes at a hostel in Athens halfway through the trip).
The first stop on my solo trip was Scandinavia.
Knowing about the ridiculous exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and all the different types of cash in Scandinavian countries, I purposefully rushed through these Nordic countries. I flew into Oslo and, being incredibly unwise, walked around the city carrying my bag with me the entire time (I would highly suggest, even for the most able-bodied travelers, to find a locker in the train station and leave your stuff there). Though my photos of Oslo are rather dark, I think I arrived there well before dinner time. The darkness is a result of being so far north in the middle of winter.
Before my camera’s battery ran out of juice, I took some poor-quality photos of the quieter areas of Oslo and my favorite bit of the city: the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The park itself was nearly empty so as I walked over the ice and snow and looked at the sculptures, I often felt as if I was entirely alone. I also stopped in a Burger King for some cheap food (which, I think, was about $12 for a meal that would be $6 in the States), saw some more stuff in the city, and walked through some military base.
Thanks to my lack of planning, I found myself stranded in Oslo longer than expected. There were no night trains going to Stockholm, so I had to wait until 6 AM or so the next day. Being cheap (and poor, since the dollar is so weak over there), I didn’t spring for proper lodging and continued to walk the city for hours. I wandered around some more, spent $12 on a single pint of beer, had some girl talk at me in Norwegian for a minute before her friend dragged her away, and ducked into a greasy spoon spot to get out of the cold. Eventually, I retreated to the train station and, like a few other random people, caught a few winks of sleep while hugging my luggage.
Getting some more sleep on the train from Oslo to Stockholm, I imprudently stayed awake for the last hour or so to watch the majority of The Fellowship of the Ring on Netflix.
I had many more hours of daylight in Stockholm than I did in Oslo, so I walked around, ate the cheapest foods possible and took some photos. Nothing particularly interesting happened in Stockholm. Just saw more families walking around and doing their Christmas shopping. Before sunset, I hopped on a train and left the country.
Seeing all the Christmas stuff made me miss home a bit.
Of my three stops in Scandinavian countries, I spent the most time in Copenhagen where I actually stayed in a proper a hotel. After a small bit of night-time wandering, I spent most of the night at a hostel bar.
Sadly, the most interesting person in the bar was a rich kid lamenting his recent breakup with his Danish girlfriend. If I recall correctly, he had an American accent but he might have been a Taiwanese national who grew up in NYC. He was, more or less, talking to anyone who would listen about the Danish girl (e.g., about how they shared an interest in taking their shirts off in public).
There were two other guys about his age (i.e., around nineteen or twenty), an Australian and an Englishman who were almost as interesting—the Australian guy was going to visit his uncle in Florida, and the English guy kept insisting that he had to visit “Harry Potter World” (The Wizarding Word of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando).
It wasn’t a particularly wild night.
I spent the next day taking a bunch of touristy photos and walked through a bunch of Christmas market-y stuff.
Feeling kind of bad that I skipped Finland despite being so close, I bought a bottle of Finnish liquor on the ferry (going to Germany) and drank it on my next few train rides (I didn’t take a photo of it—I think it was Minttu).