Andy and I flew in late-late Thursday night and managed to crash at the hostel that Simon had already occupied for a couple of nights. But Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night were still up in the air accomodation-wise.
We have never ever had such an experience with finding a place to stay. Despite searching high and low, we could not get a hold on anything in the Stockholm region, or even Uppsala (like Stockholm’s Potsdam), for under 1000 euros.
After several days of frantic search, we booked something out in the countryside in a kind of desperate frenzy.
Sure, it would mean travelling every night to Uppsala, and then getting a bus south again into the middle of nowhere. But it would also mean we wouldn’t have to sleep outside. Besides, we were convinced we’d be able to find something better once we got into the country.
Turns out not.
Stockholm had been taken over by one of the biggest natural disasters our age has ever seen….
… One Direction was in town.
Which explained why Simon’s friends (not teenage girls), didn’t know why we couldn’t find a place to stay.
Which explained the ‘Look’ the tourist information gave us when we asked if they had any accomodation left.
Which explained why the station was full of screaming and twittering girls (and way too many screaming and twittering not-girls-anymores).
Good thing we had Not-Quite-Uppsala.
Anyway, after spending the first part of Friday morning searching for Un-direction places, and hitting the bagel joint rather later in the am, we went for a bit of an explore.
We spent quite a bit of time roaming through the old town island (Gamla Stan), which is a nice wander, if a bit touristy. Unfortunately for you, I’m a terrible little blogger, so I can’t take you on a visual tour of the area.
The second we crossed the next bridge on to Soedermalm, I made my demands.
I wanted to climb into the sky, and check out the city from above.
If you head towards the ‘iconic fast-food and fries chain’ that is McDs as soon as you cross the bridge, and then go just a little to the left, you can take a lift up-up-up above the city, and for no money at all get a lovely and unique view of the very un-german Swedish architecture.
This was recommended by the lovely Bonnie, and I’ll add my own recommendation:
Windy, but pretty!
The men had their own demands, demands which involved the drinking of non-Pils beers.
But we quickly moved back to the food.
Nystekt StrOmming is a tiny little kebab-shack of a thing, that specializes in fishy feasts. We headed there to try the Skåning a dish recommended again by Bonnie, but so famous that it’s listed as the very first ‘MUST DO’ in Time’s ‘10 things to check out in Stockholm’.
Lightly fried fish topped with mustard, fresh parsley and red onion all seated on a convenient rye base.
I was pretty happy. Andy was in love. And spent the majority of the trip reminiscing about its glory.
Our plans for the evening involved visiting Stockholm’s Grona Lund- a permanent fun-park with rides, bad food, and games where you thrown objects at other objects in the hope of winning more objects.
Not usually our type of place- especially with a cost of 10+ euros just to get in plus the additional joys of overpriced beer, long lines and expensive and nauseating rides once inside.
We arrived about 6, had a drink, and then hooffed our way through the Haunted House (‘whatever you do don’t touch the ghost’), which was made hilarious by several young girls who kept shrieking and tugging Andy and telling him he had to go before them.
If they’re going to scream, better that they do it in response to a bad actor doing a half-hearted ghost than Harry Styles.
Some of the joyful prizes people could win- giant bags of cheez doodles. Not so surprisingly, everyone was crowding at the booths with oversized Daim bars instead.
And finally, at the very reasonable hour of 20:00, the moment we’d been waiting for….
Arcade Fire ladies and gentlemen!
I really can’t describe the concert with enough enthusiasm. Ignoring the practical facts- that it was practically free (entrance to the park only), and playing to a tiny audience. Ignoring the fact that the music was amazing, the band energetic, the set lasting for 2 hours. Ignoring the fact that they sang a great variety of songs and all the members of the band contributed in continuous and unique ways. I probably would have paid money just to watch the amazing video show they put on- combining live footage from the stage with graphics and video, all synched perfectly to the sounds.
To be honest, I didn’t know the band so well before the show- but now I’m feeling pretty dedicated to them!
Just a few of the highlights include:
Their rendition of a song based on the story of Orpheus in the Underworld, in which the lead female sang from the roof of a building behind the audience, urging her beloved (on stage) not to look back while a skeleton man danced around her.
When they came out for the encore to do ‘Abba’.
When they said ‘ok, let’s go back to the party song with the confetti’, and this happened:
And one point, where the amps cut out, and everyone was loving it so much they just kept cheering. The band didn’t realise that they’d lost the sound, and played out the song. It was brought to their attention and while they were sorting it they asked an audience member to sing a ‘traditional Swedish folk song’ and the guy started singing a chant from one of their songs.
The second he put the mic to his mouth the sound came back on.
Could not have been better if they planned it.
Over all, it was just fantastic. Definitely one of the best concerts I’ve every been too.
Plus, it even finished at a child-friendly time, giving us plenty of space walk, ferry, train, and bus it into the country side!