One thing that made me decide to stay in Falun is the mine they have here which is supposed to be real interesting to go down into. After visiting other UNESCO World Heritage sites like Sigiriya and Galle (Sri Lanka), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Cordoba (Spain), Venice, Verona and Cinque Terre (Italy); I thought it would be worth a day trip. It’s not as beautiful as the aforementioned places, but then again, what did I expect… it IS a deep dark mining cave! What made it astonishingly interesting was how the mine itself evolutionized the Swedish (and even man, in some some ways). Because of this mine (mid-13th century), the first hospital in Sweden was set up, the first technology university started (19th century) and other important technological advancements that was recognised in Europe.
Traveling alone is certainly interesting. First I was kinda depressed and felt slightly homesick. Then after 24 hours I snapped outta it and started basking my solitude. I don’t have to talk to anyone or listen to anyone but my own thoughts. I move around and wander at my own ease. I literally stop to smell the flowers (heaps of bright ones everywhere here!) I realise how i’m such a late sleeper and riser. In KL I sleep around midnight and wake up early (cos I keep to Clem’s time!) but alone out here, I like mucking around with my photos and writing till really late.
Also, it could be the weird lighting I’m not used to in this part of the world. It’s fairly bright at 1:30am and I wish this room had blackout curtains… I went to bed at 1:30am last night, had all sorts of weird dreams, then woke up thinking it must be 8am. Checked my time and… it was 3:30am?! I felt like I’d slept all night already, cos the light was just effing with my head. I wonder how the Swedes do this. If I lived here, I’d be up and awake and partying all summer, and hibernating all winter. Which is probably what they do. I was just thinking how if I traveled further up North, I could have watched the midnight sun. But… the thought of so much cold deterred me.
Back to my adventures here! I’m quite proud of myself for being able to find my way around neighbourhoods and counties whose names are as long as seven syllables at times. Yesterday, the bus I was in drove by a huge warehouse with a gigantic name plastered across it. The name was SO long, I couldn’t even finish pronouncing it in my head before we completely passed by -_-
Today, I went to visit the artist Carl Larsson’s home. He lived from 1853 to 1919 and led a sad and impoverished life till he met his wife Karin. From there he managed to make a living out of being an artist, and built a beautiful home from a tiny one his father-in-law presented to the couple. Carl and Karin had seven children, and at present day, 240 descendants. It’s endearing how his very descendants now preserve his old house (some live in it), manage the store and the tours to educate visitors who visit the home every summer.
A week before i was to be in Sweden, i got an email from Tianna saying she can’t join me as planned so i would have to go it alone. At first i was slightly deflated about it, then i bounced back realizing it’s a great reason for me to finally see what truly traveling alone would be like. I didn’t plan out what i was going to do for 8 days in Sweden yet… because i thought she’d be doing that all(!) so i searched around online and asked some Swedes we met in Brussels about where was nice to visit. I initially wanted to visit a summer island called Fårö but it was fully-booked out since i was trying it on such short notice. There were some really gorgeous romantic places to stay, and i almost lost the plot and booked it, till i realized that would be a SILLY thing to do cos i’d be there alone and miss Clem even more! Nevertheless, i was determined to get out of Stockholm and see some Swedish countryside, so i settled on Falun (capital of Dalarna county), situated in central Sweden.
I was so enthusiastic to catch my train in the morning that I arrived…. Two hours early -_- Who arrives that early for their train? Me. -_- So I just sat on this bench in front of a Burger King, which I decided to buy for the train journey. My BK meal was 55 kronas (RM27) and it’s one of the best fast food meals i’ve had. The chips are hot, soft and salty to just the right degree; and my chicken burger is crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside. Why can’t BK be like this in Malaysia!?
I’m so glad I decided to take an evening flight to Sweden… after having barely enough sleep and drinking for four days, my whole body just felt like schmush yesterday. Nadine at YENN B&B was really nice to let us stay in our room as long as we liked, as she had noone else checking in. Seeing my flight was at 6pm from Brussels, we ate, packed and showered before laying in bed for an additional hour. Felt so great to just LIE DOWN. I haven’t done ANY laundry my whole time in Belgium and am dying to wash my horrible clothes asap in Sweden.
I left Y at the train station in Leuven, as we both took our separate trains. I can’t believe our holiday was over so fast! Yet… it did feel like we did heaps and heaps. Without her around, it felt so weird cos it was so… QUIET. Suddenly there’s no one shouting at trains roar past, talking to herself or the sky or her phone, and no stream of her thoughts pushing my own out of my head. Also, I feel like I have to depend on myself a little bit better cos I’m always counting on her to get things right :p For instance, I checked my boarding pass a few times before plonking myself down at Gate A37. It was completely empty and I thought it’s just cos I’m an hour and a half early. (Yes, this is what missing a ferry does to you. It gets you paranoid!) Then I thought, hmm better check my boarding pass again, and I saw A47. Not A37. Seriously, the only reason I checked it is cos I envisioned myself missing my flight cos I waited at the wrong gate!
Caught my SAS flight, saw some people with Rockwerchter bands on their wrists, all flying to Sweden. Kinda crazy, that people all over Europe traveled to Leuven just for the fest! I didn’t have my passport checked at all, cos I arrived from another EU country (according to Y). There were many policemen and Alsatians sniffing everyone who went by – for drugs I suppose! A group of travelers were stopped cos they had no bags with them, but they indignantly told the police that they lost all their luggage.
When I got out of Stockholm airport, I took a bus (100 kronas/rm50) to Stockholm Central Station, where I took a Metro for 2 stops (rm22 ouch!), and then walked 800 metres to my hostel. Hostel overlooks the waterfront in Gala Stan, so it’s a pretty nice area. In fact, maybe it’s because everything in Stockholm so far looks like a ‘nice area’.
Everything is as I imagined it would be, after my visit to Copenhagen in 2010. The feeling of being in a model city is the same, and it’s extremely clean. I love people-watching here – all the girls got style. Men too, of course. And the items for sale behind window displays are so alluring! I saw some precious lamps in the shape of animals, and lots of other home deco stuff I’m dying to check out. Had my big luggage bag on me then so I couldn’t stop to admire too much.
I couldn’t help thinking, SO CUTE! With everything I saw. Pastel buildings, chic bars, mint steeples.
Checked in, was so tired I almost passed out in bed but forced myself to eat some cup noodles cos all I had all day was a croissant.