Stockholm – Karlstad

So from the heat of Dubai to the sweet European Summer… Very different. I arrived in Stockholm airport and caught the express train to the city. I booked in to Queens Hotel for 2 nights to explore Stockholm and relax a little. Unfortunately there was a rocky start when the elevator was broken… Had to walk up all the stairs to my room with all my luggage, not fun. Afterwards, my form of relaxing went in to shopping. The stores were amazing, such good quality and so cheap. It was also really lovely just walking around the city with it’s old architecture.

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Day 2: I went to collect my VISA card in Solna, after a $60AU taxi ride and a bit of confusion about me leaving the country before uni, it was all sorted. Decided to catch the train home from there, Taxi’s are a joke. Found myself a supermarket and was amazed by all the different foods. Completed my day with a walk throughout the city and parks. The sun doesn’t set till around 10 and its too hot in the hotel to sleep. Sweden I’m sure does heating very well, there is no need usually for air conditioning though. Complete opposite to Dubai.

Day 3: Left on the speed train to karlstad. My host family were kind enough to pick me up from the train station and show me around town, buy me a bus card, set me up in the accommodation and then drop me at IKEA. I would have been so stuffed if I had to do all of that alone. Very grateful to have signed up for that. My apartment on college is unnecessarily huge, 3 times what it was in Wollongong. There is about 10 rooms with there own bathrooms and then a huge share kitchen and living area shared between the 10. That evening it all hit me just how far away from home I was. I felt very alone. Homesickness had struck without warning. Cried all evening. I knew it would get better once people started to arrive on campus. I also had my Contiki trip to look forward to.

Day 4: Was still upset, but my host family were once again to the rescue and were nice enough to show me their home and take me out on their boat to an island to relax for the day. We went out on Lake Vänern (the big one you can see on the map). I actually can say now I got sunburnt in Sweden. We talked a lot about Sweden and they even tried to teach me some of the Language. Very happy to have met them. Got home and Skyped with Jono and my Family. Both having to convince me to stay and not become overwhelmed with the homesickness. I wanted to come home before it had even begun. Exchange Students tend to leave out the story of being homesick I think, because the fun stuff soon outweighs it, that’s the theory anyway.

Day 5: I leave on the speed train for Gothenburg. I’m staying in a hotel tonight and then catching an early plane to Berlin in the morning to begin the Contiki tour. Hopefully being around people will cheer me up.

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