Stocking up in Stockholm, Sweden – Part I

Norway is an extremely expensive country to live in. So much so, that when you go to Stockholm, Sweden, you say, “Holy cannoli, stuff here is cheap!” while people from every other country outside Scandinavia say, “Good grief, Stockholm is expensive.”

Good work, Scandinavia, way to be expensive. The way I look at it though is that anywhere else I travel will be less expensive, so I’ll never be shocked by the prices like I was when I arrived in Oslo.

So if you haven’t figured out by the title, I traveled this weekend to Stockholm, Sweden! I’ll throw some fun facts about Stockholm/Sweden in general throughout these next few posts but if you want more information search it on Google. Or ask, since I might know the answer. Or maybe not.

This weekend I travelled with my friend Kim, who is from Singapore. We took a train to Stockholm since it’s cheaper than flying; however, it’s also a bit longer. It took us around 6 hours to reach Stockholm from Oslo. Luckily for me, I was completely exhausted since our train left early and I had gone to bed pretty late, so I slept for most of the way there. Let me tell you, sleeping is a fantastic way to kill six hours. It was nice too since at the beginning of the trip most of the seats were empty, so I could sprawl out and take up two seats. Eventually more people boarded the train, but I still had no problems sleeping upright. I slept so deeply that at one point I woke up and there was some random guy sleeping next to me who hadn’t been sitting there when I woke up a few hours previously. I never heard him sit down next to me. Ah, well.

We arrived in Stockholm a bit later than we were supposed to, which was unfortunate since the sun sets early in Stockholm, just like in Oslo. I was hoping we would have time to explore on Friday, but it didn’t look like we were going to be able to explore in the daylight.

Since Sweden has a different currency than Norway (Sweden – Swedish kroner, Norway – Norwegian kroner), we had to take out money in Stockholm Central Station. The nice thing is that the exchange rate for Swedish kroner is a bit better than for Norwegian kroner–one US dollar equals six Norwegian kroner and seven Swedish kroner. This was part of the reason why stuff in Sweden was cheaper than in Norway, but also because the prices themselves were a bit lower.

After taking money out, we left the station and tried to find our way to the hostel. I drew a map but it wasn’t very helpful since I didn’t have time to write down all the streets. After walking for a few blocks, we decided to stop and ask for directions so we wouldn’t become completely lost. The first person we asked pointed us to Drottninggatan, which is the main shopping street in Stockholm. It’s essentially the Swedish equivalent of Karl Johans gate here in Oslo. Once we got to Drottninggatan, we stared at the map for a little bit, trying to make sure we were going in the right direction. A man walked past us, then backtracked and asked, “Do you girls need help?” I’m not sure what made him stop–the map we were obviously looking at, or the confused looks on our faces. Either way, it was nice that he asked if we needed help. He pointed us in the direction we needed to go, and after a few minutes’ walk we arrived at our hostel, called Interhostel.

We booked an eight-bed mixed dorm, which turned out to be pretty darn crowded. It was manageable though, and most importantly, cheap. It also helped that our roommates were all very friendly, and none of them seemed to be pyromaniacs, kleptomaniacs, creepy, or have any other qualities that would make sleeping in the same room with them a bit uncomfortable.

(If you click on the pictures you can see them full-size).

We locked our stuff up in the lockers in our room, then went out in search of food. Both of us ate a small breakfast, but we hadn’t eaten lunch, so we were starving by this time. Thankfully our hostel was very close to Drottninggatan, on which there are a ton of places to eat. We quickly found a pizza place that had cheap pizza, so we went there. It was also great for me since I’m a huge pizza fan and am always craving pizza, but eating pizza out in Oslo is essentially non affordable.

Lunch was AMAZING. We were offered salad and bread with our pizza, and then the pizza itself was quite large. I ordered a Big Ben pizza, which had onions, bacon (also have been craving bacon), and egg on it. I devoured the pizza, which Kim was amazed at. According to her my stomach is a bottomless pit, which is pretty accurate, especially since I’ve started eating.

After eating it was starting to get dark out, so we only had time to do a little sightseeing. We were only able to see the Konserthuset (Concert House), Kulturhuset (Culture House), and a lovely church before the sun set. Afterwards we went shopping, since I needed to buy travel-size shampoo and body wash, as well as a medium-sized bag (the only two bags I brought with me are my small backpack and my humongous suitcase). I also used this opportunity to stock up on chocolate and hot chocolate, since I could save money by buying this in Stockholm as opposed to Oslo. I bought four boxes of hot chocolate and three chocolate bars. YUM!

We then headed back to the hostel, where we chatted with our roommates for a while before heading to bed. We decided to get up early the next morning, around the time of sunrise, in order to maximize our daylight sightseeing hours.

Speaking of sleep, I need to do the same right now, since I have Norwegian language early in the morning. I will add the rest of the blog posts and lots of pictures tomorrow!

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