Day 46 – Friday 9th of August – Stockholm (0km)
Crooford Place is the name of the hostel I was staying in, and it was the best hostel I had found on this trip. It was the last floor in a building that used to be a hospital, the other floors having been taken by an IT college from Stockholm University and a secondary school, so the place and the facilities it offered were more or less in line with many other hostels, what made my stay there so enjoyable was the people I met there.
Andrew, the Canadian guy I mentioned on the last post, was really nice and before I left in the morning to explore the city, we agreed to meet at the hostel later that evening and go for a beer. I did some food shopping for the next few days and then took the underground to the docks to find out where the ferry terminal was and what I had to do to get my motorbike on board. The previous night I had bought a ticket online for Sunday, but all I got was a reference number, no instructions whatsoever, so I wanted to get that sorted out as the ferry was leaving at 7 am and boarding was at 6 am and I did not want to be riding around so early without knowing where I had to go. Once I had got all the information from a very nice lady at the terminal, I headed to Gamla Stan, the island where the old part of town is, and spent the whole morning walking around and taking pictures, getting lost in its streets.
After that, I crossed into a smaller island that used to be the base of the navy and today has been reconverted for city use.
On the other side of the island there lots of historical ships that had been bought and restored by private owners and were part of a conservation society.
The day was quite cloudy and it drizzled from time to time, so by mid-afternoon I decided to get back to the hostel and see if I could get the laundry done. The day before I had met Andrés, a Colombian guy who was part of the staff. He had originally gone to Spain, where he had worked at Sony for several years until the crisis hit and he was made redundant. I was very surprised to find out that he had been living in Santa Coloma, where I had lived for many years before leaving my parent’s home, and that he was able to speak very good Catalan. He was a really nice guy and told me that there was a laundry about ten streets from there that cost 150 kr, but he would do my laundry in the washing machine they had in the staff living quarters.
While the laundry was getting done, Andrew came back to the hostel and told me that he had recruited more people to go out that night, some British girls that had just finished highschool and where travelling around Northern Europe. Back in the room we shared with four other people it had stopped raining and the sun had come out, and we saw that there was a ladder right outside our window, so we decided to explore where that lead. I was no longer in Russia, where Health and Safety is virtually non-existent, but in the extensive set of rules we had been told when we got to the hostel there was nothing against climbing to the roof, so we went for it. The ladder went up a couple of meters and then connected to a narrow metal walkway that went up to the roof pinnacle. The sun was hiding behind the buildings and we had a beautiful view of the whole city, we just sat down for a while and enjoyed the moment.
Back into the hostel, we chatted to other hosts and met a 17-year old boy from London who was on an Interrail trip, a French jewellery designer, a couple of Italians, a couple of Dutchmen, the girls from London, and two Russian girls, all really nice and easy-going people, the kind that make the hostelling experience so nice.
At night we took the underground and went on a mission to find a bar with cheap beer, no easy task in Stockholm, but in the end we managed to find a decent place where we stayed until they closed down, a bit too early, as we were having good fun. We decided to walk back to the hostel to save the underground ticket, one of the girls had a sore foot, but she had had enough beer to decide that walking back was a good idea.