Sweden not on Fort Wayne traveler’s bucket list, but proved worth the trip | Living & More Latest News Here
It was 3 a.m. on my first night in Stockholm in mid-June when I awoke to the sun shining through the curtains.
I was warned that during the summer months in Sweden, the sun is almost always out. But that warning fell on deaf ears as I did not pack an eye mask. Instead of lying in bed awake, I decided to explore Stockholm.
It was glorious to walk around in the early morning. It was bright and empty, very quiet. The shops, museums and night spots were all closed. I was able to take time and enjoy the Swedish capital’s beauty without all of its hustle and bustle.
I noticed the lush and full trees and clean waterfronts. There was hardly any litter on the ground. I felt safe, even though I walked alone.
I walked past the Royal Palace as an alert royal guard looked on. The city’s islands were without crowds. I walked the island of Skeppsholmen, where I could see Gröna Lund, an amusement park located on the seaward side of Djurgården Island. Instead of listening to yells and screams, I listened to birds and watched them fly around the closed amusement park.
Even when people emerged onto the streets to start their day a few hours later, I sat relaxed at the popular Skeppsbro Bageri, a coffee shop that makes its own pastries. Later that morning, I took the Red Sightseeing bus tour. The roof was off of the two-decker bus. I sat on the top deck enjoying the cool breeze and sunny skies, and as we went by, I looked at many of the city’s popular attractions.
I walked up the Stockholm City Hall tower. The winding stone stairway climb isn’t for everyone. The stairway is narrow, and it could cause discomfort for people who are claustrophobic or for people who struggle using stairs. But the top offers a beautiful, panoramic view of downtown Stockholm.
Close by is the dock for the boat ride to Drottningholm Palace. It is a 60-minute journey to the island of Lovön. As I approached the island, I could see the well-preserved royal castle that was built in the 17th century. Its green roof, light gold façade and beautiful landscape grabbed the attention of every tourist on the boat. People continued to take pictures from different angles as the boat turned to dock.
Inside the castle, there is history in each of its rooms with stunning wallpaper, beautiful artwork on its ceilings, and well-preserved objects on display.
After spending a few days in Stockholm, I took a 55-minute domestic flight to Visby, on the island of Gotland. Visby is a former Viking site that was once protected by a city wall. I saw people sit on what remains of the wall to watch the very late evening summer sun set. I saw a few people with their picnic baskets, blankets and bottles of white wine. Visby has narrow cobbled lanes, cottages, ruined Gothic churches and a colorful Visby sign in the heart of its downtown.
Sweden was never on my bucket list, but the reasonably priced trip was too good to pass up, considering the jump in airfare prices. I booked using the popular travel app Kayak. I used from “Fort Wayne” to “anywhere.” I adjusted the date to a period within the next month. Kayak showed a world map with prices next to popular destinations. A round-trip flight to Stockholm on American Airlines was less than half the cost of other European destinations.
The risks of something going terribly wrong with travel can happen, and with this trip, something almost did. My domestic flight in Sweden was on SAS, a Scandinavian airline. It filed for bankruptcy protection at the beginning of July and it canceled a lot of flights. I could have been stuck on Visby.
But travel risks are calculable, like many things. An example: The chance of throwing a six with a normal single die is 1 in 6. Each time I roll the die by going on a trip, there is a risk that something will go wrong. But travel has definitely enhanced my ability to think on my feet. When something does go wrong, I’m confident that my travel will still be successful and that I won’t be discouraged from traveling again.
David Placher is a Fort Wayne writer, photographer and world traveler who values experiences over things. He is always searching for cheap-fare flights and inexpensive hotel bookings. When Placher isn’t traveling, he is drafting and reviewing technology and information security contracts for a living. His travel stories will appear on occasion in The Journal Gazette.