I went to Stockholm…by myself

It’s true, I did.

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Not last weekend but the weekend before, I went to Stockholm alone. I was supposed to go one weekend before leaving Copenhagen because I have a Eurail pass, but one of my friends lost her Eurail pass and the other trip I was trying to plan just wasn’t coming together. So, I decided to go.

It was Thursday night and I had a ton of stuff due on Monday that I wasn’t looking forward to doing. Instead of doing work I was obviously procrastinating and that meant checking the weather in Stockholm – it was snowing! That made me so excited, as it hadn’t started snowing in Copenhagen, so I began to consult one of my best friends on if I should go or not.

I went back and forth but finally decided to go by myself. I booked a nice little hotel a bit north of the center of the city and decided to hop on an 8AM train the next morning.

I was so excited I could barely sleep that night! Ever since meeting a bunch of young girls from various places in Granada, Spain that had been traveling by alone (some for almost a year!), I had been intrigued by the concept. Could I do it? Would I get lonely? How would I eat dinner? I guess I’d find out in Stockholm.

The train ride through Sweden was one of the most beautiful I have ever been on. It had been snowing for maybe a day or two so the whole countryside was just covered in snow. As soon as we got to the snowy part I could not stop smiling. As a California girl, I rarely see snow. I’ve been to Tahoe many times, but it’s always in the middle of the winter and I’ve hardly ever experienced fresh snow. I was like a little kid in a candy store.


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I arrived in Stockholm at around 2 PM and had to make my way to my hotel. I would like to thank the universe for iPhones right now because even though I don’t have 3G that little thing still knows where I am on the Maps app and I thank it for that. I trudged through the fresh snow, stopping to take a picture of just about anything covered in it. They even had a farmer’s market in the snow!

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After checking into my perfect hotel and relaxing for a bit, I set out for a walk. I wanted to get a little shopping done, but I just found myself getting lost in the Winter Wonderland that they call Stockholm and wandering around the water until I couldn’t go any further/my feet were about to go numb. Then, of course, I got some coffee and a pastry.

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I ended the night with a movie and take out, as I wasn’t quite ready to handle eating dinner on my own quite yet…

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The next day I decided to explore Old Town, so I woke up at a reasonable hour and checked out of my hotel. I hadn’t done too much research the night before (hey, it was an impromptu trip!), so I wasn’t sure what to see, but I was still amazed by the Old Town of Stockholm. It was so quaint and you could just get lost in the little cobblestone streets. I stumbled upon the Royal Palace guards doing some sort of weird thing, a lovely Christmas market and of course a delicious lunch.

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Funny story about lunch – I knew I wanted Swedish meatballs. I mean, come on, I’ve only ever had the Ikea ones so I had to get the real thing when I was actually there. I wandered around Old Town comparing prices and trying to find the best place to go. I had my eye on a cute little cafe, but it seemed too crowded and I was intimidated. So, I saw a touristy spot up the street and they had pretty cheap meatballs! I walked back and forth between the two until I decided on the touristy one. I then realized that they only had meatballs on the Kids’ Menu…hmm…oh well, I went in anyways and sat down alone. The restaurant had white and red checkered table clothes and everyone was looking at me as I sat down at my table for one. I was immediately turned off. The waitress handed me a menu and I looked over it only to find overpriced pizzas and reindeer dishes….Nej tak (no thanks in Danish). What should I do??? This is not what I wanted my last meal in Stockholm to be. I had to have Swedish meatballs, but what do I do? I think I stared at the menu for 15 minutes contemplating if I should just order the cheapest pizza or bolt out the door. But I was sitting by the wall! What would I say to these Swedish people? I hated the awkwardness of it all. Finally, when my waitress was out of site, I grabbed my coat and camera and bolted out the door. I just knew I wasn’t going to be happy eating there. It was an inner struggle of if I wanted to go through a few awkward seconds or be mad at myself for eating at a stupid faux Italian restaurant for the rest of my life. I wandered on down to the cute little cafe and had a delicious meal of Swedish meatballs, potatoes and a latte… they even gave me a free Swedish pastry because they forgot about my order… Oh well. I was happy and full.

It was barely a 24 hour trip, but it was wonderful. Traveling by myself was an amazing experience and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. No, I didn’t experience the Stockholm nightlife or even pay to see any of the sights, but I saw Stockholm on my own terms. I didn’t have to wait for anyone else to wake up or agree on where we were going to go that day, I just went. I will say that it was a bit lonely, but I was totally fine wandering around by myself and reading a book on my iPhone at lunch. It was almost reassuring knowing that I can travel alone. I think that my study abroad experience has taught me a lot about independence and that I can’t rely on other people for my happiness, and I think that sometimes you just need to do things by yourself. You don’t always need a buddy to make the experience. Sure, it might help, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time by yourself.

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Traveling alone is something that everyone should do. It was funny, though… when I got back and people asked me about my trip this is usually how it went…

Them: Hey! How was Stockholm?

Me: Oh, it was great! It’s so beautiful…kind of like a bigger, more city-like version of Copenhagen. And covered in snow.

Them: Nice. Who did you go with?

Me: Myself.

Them: Woah…good for you.

Good for me? Thanks? I never really knew how to respond. It was almost like people were admitting that they would NEVER travel somewhere completely by themselves and I was doing something so amazing by traveling alone. Whatever, I had fun and it’s a trip that I will never forget.

Now it’s time for a week of Mom… and my last week in Copenhagen. *starts crying uncontrollably.

– Z

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5 thoughts on “I went to Stockholm…by myself

  1. Chanced upon this because I’m looking for tips myself on travelling alone in Stockholm at the end of this year (and I’m a small female too!) and your post just made me very very excited about it 🙂 Fearful still, but excited!

  2. I stumbled upon this after booking my first solo trip to stockholm myself. Really good post, I’m pretty nervous to travel on my own for the first time, but still looking forward!

  3. I have been to Stockholm multiple times (but always with a friend) and am moving across next year, however stumbling across your blogpost has made me feel x100 better about going for my very first solo trip there in three weeks time! So excited!

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for this blog post. I’ve travelled once before on my own to Budapest and had an amazing time. I’m looking to go to Stockholm for the first time and by myself. This post was encouraging because I don’t know much about the city. Any tips and recommendations? xx

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