When people think about Sweden, they will most probably have pictures pop up in their head either about the wonderful nature with never ending woods and lakes or the typical red houses. But right after that a lot of them think about Stockholm, the capital and largest city of the country. Consisting of many islands Stockholm is structured in quite a few different parts connected by many bridges. On the central island we have Gamla Stan, the old town with narrow streets as well as lots of cafes, shops, and history. After spending one week in Stockholm I can definitely say, that is one of my favorite places in the city, especially now during Christmas time.
So, as you already read, I spend my last week in Stockholm for the on-arrival training for the EU-volunteers and it was quite an experience. But let’s start at the beginning…
Two weeks ago our two other roommates and co-volunteers finally arrived here in Sweden after they had to wait quite a while to get their visa. So, after welcoming them at their new home, showing them around a little, and finding a new routine at home and at work, we – finally as a complete group of seven Rapatac-volunteers – left our new home for one week to gain new experiences at the on-arrival seminar in Stockholm. For that all the ESC-volunteers that arrived here in Sweden in the last few months met in a part of Stockholm called Bromma to learn about Swedish culture, language, and other important topics as well as connect with each other, learn about each other’s projects and experiences and of course explore Stockholm a little bit.
Next to all the workshops and seminars we participated in to learn about tools and topics we need for our voluntary year, we had a lot of time to get to know the other volunteers and their projects. For me, this was maybe even the most important and interesting part of the training since we got to exchange experiences and also gathered some ideas and thoughts we can use for our own projects. Another really good and memorable part of those four days in Bromma was the food. Sure, it was not the main part about our training but we actually had so many really delicious meals during the day that I will definitely remember that - nothing in Sweden is more important than a good Fika! :) And for that I really want to thank the EU that made it possible for us to stay in a really nice hotel and have the trainings and the delicious food at Bromma Folkhögskola!
After four days of eating, seminars, teambuilding, and a lot of talking we finished our training with another Fika at Friday afternoon. Me and the other Rapatac-volunteers decided to use the following weekend and stay in Stockholm. We booked a hostel right in the city center and got to explore even more parts of this wonderful capital.
When I come to a new place, the most important thing for me is to see as many parts as possible by just walk through them in order to get an overview and feeling for the city or whatever it is I want to explore. For that, Stockholm is the perfect place because besides the outskirts Sweden`s capital has quite a small central area with the old town, the castle, the seat of the parliament, many museums, and streets full of cafes, markets, shops, theatres, and much more. You can find all of that in the five main districts called Gamla Stan (old town with castle and parliament house), Norrmalm (modern part with lots of shopping and food places), Östermalm (most elegant part with expensive stores and restaurants and many museums and history), Södermalm (full of young people, bars, second hand shops and music), and Djurgarden (big park area with many museums and history).
We wanted to use our first stay in Stockholm to get a wide mix of everything. Because of that we visited some museums, did a little shopping, tried many restaurants and cafes, and just spend the days in the streets of this beautiful city. My personal highlight was definitely walking through Gamla Stan and going to the Christmas market there. The streets were full of lights, people, and the smell of sweet pastries and Glögg (mulled wine). Since it`s getting dark so early it was such a cozy feeling to explore most parts of the city after the sun had already set. All the parks, – and Stockholm has quite a lot – the streets and the stores were brightened up with Christmas lights and we really got to feel the energy of the city and its people!
We finished our perfect week with a nice burger-dinner before we then had to make our way back. Full with new impressions and experiences we came home to Sandviken late on Sunday evening and all of us were pretty tired from all the exploring and the week in general.
But although I really loved our time in Stockholm I was also looking forward to be back home and work at Rapatac again. And I think that’s a really good sign, showing how much I enjoy my work here. Now, that it`s Christmas time there is so much to do – at work and in our free time! But about all that I will tell you soon! For now, I hope you all enjoyed my post about my week in Stockholm! This city is definitely worth a visit – or two :) Talk to you soon and have a great day!