The GoGlobal Blog

Spring Break: Part 1

Spring Break: Part 1

Spring Break April 8-18, 2017: Part 1

Precursor: I understand that most other students who were blogging through Loyola have since finished their semesters and therefore their blogging. My semester is not done (I finish far later than so many of my peers), and honestly I’ve grown to love writing these blogs. It is rather therapeutic to recount my adventures into print, and thus I am just going to continue doing so for my own sake until my semester is over…


“When we observe a woman who seems hostile and fiercely independent some of the time but passive, dependent and feminine on other occasions, our reducing valve usually makes us choose between the two syndromes… But perhaps nature is bigger than our concepts and it is possible for the lady to be a hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, feminine, aggressive, warm, castrating person all-in-one. Of course which of these she is at any particular moment would not be random or capricious—it would depend on who she is with, when, how, and much, much more. But each of these aspects of herself may be a quite genuine and real aspect of her total being.” – Walter Mischel


The Friday night before departing, my Irish roommate Shannon decided to throw a going away party since both Cami and I would be gone over break, and well because she loves parties. I was sick and had woken up at 5:30am that morning because I had my Norwegian final that day which determined my entire grade—happy to say I have since passed! Needless to say, I was less than excited to host another party but I figured I’m young and it’s break so it’ll be a-okay.

The party didn’t end until quite late, and thus I didn’t fall asleep until a little past 4am whilst my alarm remained firmly at 8:30am because I had a mountain of laundry to get done before my 1:30pm departure for my 10 day long spring break trip. Way back in Poland, a few of us signed up to do an ESN (Erasmus Student Network) trip to Saint Petersburg. It starts in Stockholm followed by a cruise to Helsinki, Finland for a day. Then we proceeded to take another ferry to Russia for four days ending in a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia for one day and back to Stockholm to take the train back home. Our group was as follows: Nick (New Zealand), Sam (Australia), Vince (Netherlands), and Cami (Argentina).

I wanted to see Stockholm more since I’d be there so I planned accordingly to arrive there 3 days early with Nick. Hence my trip would be 10 long days of nonstop traveling. Since it is as such, I decided to break my blog post up in parts that way I could write everything my heart desires without feeling like it is too much all in one post. So here is my post for Stockholm, the first leg of my Spring break adventure. I hope you enjoy!

Day 1:

I met up with Nick at his apartment after rushing to pack everything in about 15 minutes because, of course, I spent my time cooking instead of preparing for such a long trip. We easily made our way to the train station, and sat outside in the sun waiting to board. For some odd reason, 2nd class was the same price as coach when I purchased my ticket. I forgot I bought the better option so I was happily surprised to find a large, comfy seat awaiting me on the train.

The terrorist attack had just occurred on that Thursday and all the trains were canceled on Friday for that reason. The train we were on was the first train to run since that happened, so it was extremely full of passengers who had originally planned to travel out the day before. I just wanted to sleep in the beginning so when a nice elderly woman sat next to me, I remained quiet and slept for the next two hours. When I awoke, I began to read. I looked outside the window of the train, thinking how I couldn’t believe I was there, traveling and living abroad. I’m so lucky, I thought.

I really needed to use the restroom so I had to ask the woman to get up. We didn’t realize that we both knew English for a while so it was awkward moving about. It wasn’t until I came back that she asked if I knew English and I said yes, also that “Jeg også snakker lit norsk” (I also speak a little Norwegian). Turns out she is Norwegian but married a Swedish man and lived in Sweden much of her life. She got her Ph.D. in German and was a professor at the University of Stockholm. We talked about languages and she at one point apologized for lecturing me. I told her not to be sorry, that I was genuinely interested in the matter. She spent the entire train ride reading the largest German newspaper I’ve ever seen. (Keep in mind the train ride is 5 hours, so that was 5 hours of reading a newspaper!). She was extremely kind and I could tell she’s lived an interesting life.

Soon we stopped talking and both went back to reading. After a while I stopped to eat my dinner. I had packed an assortment of food to be sure I wouldn’t get hungry and I wouldn’t have to buy anything; something I always do when I travel. This time I had brought lomper (Norwegian potato tortillas of sort), a banana, an apple, a cucumber, a carrot, an entire yellow bell pepper, and two hard boiled eggs (I know that’s a lot). After I gorged myself and after I cleaned up, the lady spoke up and asked if I had enjoyed my meal with a smile on her face. I laughed, understanding that I am probably the first person she’s ever seen do that on the train.

When the train arrived in Stockholm, Nick and I met up to walk to our hostel. I thought I’d be able to find it without a map, since it was the same hostel I stayed at a week previously. Sadly, I got us rather lost and since, out of the two of us, I am the better one at talking to strangers, I had to ask two nice girls who directed us back in the right direction. We ended the night with a beer and a walk through town before heading to bed. The atmosphere in Stockholm was rather somber, given the attack had just occurred.

One of the memorials for the terrorist attack that occurred in Stockholm just before I came there.

Day 2:

Luckily Nick and I both woke up naturally around 8:30am, because we had forgot to discuss the night before when we wanted to be up and ready. We both showered then went downstairs to eat the food we brought for breakfast. Lomper and peanut butter never tasted better.

We wanted to do the entire trip as cheaply as possible, which meant food shopping instead of eating out. After a quick stop at the market, we went back to the hostel to empty our backpacks so that we could bring all our food with us for the day ahead. We explored a lot of the city that day, including Old Town, the castle, the water, etc. What was really exciting was we came across the famous, annual march to the stadium that the Swedish people do every year on the day of the first football game. There is about 10,000 people that walk the hour and half journey over city roads and onto an interstate overpass. People are drinking, loud music is being played, and chants are being screamed every few seconds. I was having so much fun that I got Nick to walk the entire length with me! Again, I felt lucky that we somehow came to Stockholm when this was happening.

This is at one point during the march to the stadium while we were still in the streets of the city. The amount of Swedish people going wild for soccer was outstanding.

When I came back to the hostel after finishing my dinner and reading by the water, Nick was just lying in bed. I laid down and slept for a half hour and then awoke with the plan to go down to the bar, get a beer, and read my book. Nick didn’t want to leave and said he “might” join later which in Nick language means he won’t come. This almost stopped me from going because I felt weird about sitting by myself drinking. But thankfully I didn’t let him hold me back and I got the courage to go sit at the bar by myself. There was a beer pong competition going on but I had already missed the beginning so I couldn’t join. At first I felt weird sitting at the bar drinking alone but then me and this girl next to me smiled at me just before she asked if I was traveling alone. Her name was Hanna, a masters student traveling alone from Germany. I told her I had an antisocial friend so I was mostly on my own too (sorry Nick!). We talked for a while before Émilie, a French Canadian interning in Spain, also joined the conversation. Throughout the night and over a couple of beers we chatted and got to know one another. It was cool to see the conversation turn from general items to deep and controversial topics by the end. I really loved Émilie—our views coincided on many occasions. I left for bed that night with two new friends with whom I would have never met if I didn’t push myself outside my comfort zone.

Day 3:

My goal on this day was to go to Djur (Deer) Garden. Both my Swedish soul sister I met on my trip the week before and the elderly woman on the train told me it was a beautiful place, so I was keen to experience it. When we got there, Nick couldn’t just sit and chill (he always like to keep moving), and I am more the type of person who enjoys to sit in silence at one stop for an extended period of time. After a little I suggested that perhaps we go our separate ways, in which he promptly agreed. It was the best thing we could have done.

I first came upon this cool maze that was rather meditative, before truly entering Deer Garden. The Garden is a massive preserve in which the King used to go hunting for deer in back in the day. I still can’t believe this vast nature lies within the city. While I didn’t see any deer (until the end), I also didn’t see any other people. Plus, I got to share my lunch in a beautifully peaceful spot with a little friend who joined me. Just on Sunday the weather was warm and beautiful; I didn’t even need a jacket. That day however, it was colder, cloudy and rainy. But I was happy about that. I love that kind of weather still and it only means that there aren’t hordes of people wandering around, hence why I didn’t see anyone the whole few hours I spent in the forest. It was just me, the birds, and the wind. I needed this.

Sounds weird, but it brought me back my sense of independence. All of Stockholm did actually. Without hesitating I was able to ask strangers where to go at times, I navigated everywhere, I went off on my own to read and eat dinner at a park by the water, sat at the bar alone until I met two kind strangers whom I chatted with all night, and spent the entire 3rd day on my own. I guess what this trip so far had done is remind me who I am, in a way. I wrote previously about how I felt lost in my identity, trapped in feeling dependent on others and unable to adventure out on my own. Well there I was, doing just that. A goal I wanted to make for myself for my remaining 3 months was to do this when I am back in Oslo. Nothing should stop me from exploring on my own, and I am happy to report that nothing has since.

Now, I did see a small heard of deer on my way back out of the Djur Garden. There were about 8 young deer, two of which were bucks. It made me wonder what it must have been like in the 16th and 17th century to be in here hunting deer for leisure.

One of the trails in Djur Garden.



After I left the garden, I continued to explore a little longer, even though my body was exhausted from walking so far—about 30km by days end. I ended up finding the National Library which is super unique! I always love finding the libraries where I go.

I went back to the hostel, napped, got coffee, and while drinking my cup, my friend Vince (Netherlands) finally showed up to join Nick and I. We treated ourselves to a dinner out at this nice Indian restaurant, in which we decided to share three different curries. Then we spent the night walking through Old Town again for Vince hadn’t seen it. I was excited for the next day when our spring break trip truly began.

Day 4: Tuesday in Stockholm

 In the morning, I ate my breakfast while the guys played ping pong. Our friend Sam came by bus early in the morning so now it was the four of us. My roommate Cami would come shortly and then we would have the entire crew.

For our final day in Stockholm, I got them to agree to go to Skiddardvik lookout point which was about an hour-long walk away. Vince and I had all our stuff with us because we planned to explore right up until we had to get on the boat. Nick and Sam bought a locker at the hostel so they planned on meeting up with Cami when she came in on her train and then getting their stuff before going to the boat.

The lookout point was beautiful but it was really cold and windy that high up. It would be such a great spot when it’s sunny and warm with a nice cold beer and good company. After that we went walking through Söder, which is the hipster part of town. We stopped at a coffee shop and spent a while there just chatting and relaxing. Figures, though, it was probably the only shop without a bathroom and I foresaw that as a major issue down the road.

The guys then had to leave to head back, so Vince and I were left alone to keep exploring. It was nice to be able to talk with Vince, he is definitely one of my favorite people I’ve met in Oslo. We have many similarities, although we disagree a lot, and he has a highly unique insight on the world that I enjoy to see through his eyes. We walked along the water and through some gardens chatting about our social lives in both my sorority and mostly what he calls a fraternity but is different than what Americans consider a frat. It is some strange Dutch concept of a fraternity, but falls under its own category.

As we continued our walk, we both had to pee so bad that it was becoming desperate. Finally, we just went in another coffee shop and got a second cup of coffee just to be able to use the restroom—such a good decision. The coffee shop was French themed and Vince told me about for much of his life him and his family travel there each year. It was cool to listen to. Following that, we found a supermarket to buy food for lunch and the following days on the boat. We were so hungry that we also purchased 3 donuts to share before we stopped to eat lunch.

After scarfing down the donuts, we continued walking in the direction of where the boat to Helsinki would be departing. We were walking through a really nice part of town that felt very different compared to the rest of the city. We then found a nice courtyard to eat lunch with these cute elephant statues. Before we knew it, on our walk we somehow ran into the rest of the crew, so united we continued to the boat. Basically, we checked in, boarded, and the rest is saved for part 2! To be continued….

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