Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden, was my next pit stop in my three week long European backpackathon. First thing first, Finnish Lapland and Stockholm are not very well connected with public transport. So it took me two trains and two buses and about 20 hours to cover the distance. Rovaniemi doesn’t have a train running to Sweden; the route which I followed was an hour and a half long train to Kemi and then a bus from there to Tornio LAS still in Finland. Here I had my heart in mouth, because there was only one bus connecting this Tornio to Lulea in Sweden and it was slated to leave Lulea at 12:30 PM and my delayed bus was to reach there at 1:00 PM. Tornio has two bus stations – LAS on Finland side and Haparanda on Sweden side. As I arrived at Tornio LAS, I ran to cover half mile distance to Haparanda in hope that the bus might have gotten delayed and I might still be able to catch it. Just to realize on arriving there, that I had travelled in time and there was still half an hour to my bus. Actually, as you step in to Haparanda, the time zone changes; It is pretty interesting, if you have your phone set to auto change time y detecting time zones, you can just take a couple of steps and can see yourself travelling in time. From Haparanda it was another bus and then an over 12 hours’ train to Stockholm.
Stockholm for me was a daytrip, where I took the very conventional way to see a city in very little time, which I highly recommend. I took one of the free walking tours and since I had more time at hand, I took another. My morning tour was the City Tour which started from Sergels Torg and through the central city area went with the stories around the Stockholm syndrome and Nobel crossing Norrmalmstrog and Brezelii Park to culminate at the Kungstradgarden from where one gets a very good view of the royal palace.
My second free tour was the old town tour. This one was by far more interesting than the morning one as we walked through the old allies of Stockholm, among them the Sun Alley and the Alley to Hell. We heard the chilling story of Stockholm Bloodbath and busted a lot of Viking myths. Old town is definitely way more charming than the current commercial city.
If travelling in Stockholm, best way it to be part of such a tour group where you have a guide who is full of local legends because in absence of those stories, most of those alleys and buildings and gardens and palaces are just not complete.
Rest of the evening I spent walking about the streets of Stockholm and peeking in to the home brand H&M stores. I had a night train out of Stockholm.
10:00 AM – Rovaniemi (Finland) – Train IC54 to Kemi (Finland) at 11:33 AM
12:05 PM – Kemi (Finland) – Bus NM to Tornio LAS (Finland) at 12:40 PM
12:30 PM (Time Zone Change) – Haparanda Tornio (Sweden) – Buss 100 to Lulea BussStation (Sweden) at 2:50 PM
5:10 PM – Lulea C (Sweden) – Train 91 to Stockholm C (Sweden) at 6:30 AM