A year ago, on this day, my heart was pumping more blood than usual. I had a plane to catch at midnight.
A yearning for Europe was filled in me through endless movies I watched, those that were based in picturesque places in different parts of this continent. London was the first European country I had visited. Though somehow, it couldn’t charm me as Sweden did.
After a 14-hour flight (with a layover) we reached Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The city was blessed with Freyr, the Norse god of rain when we arrived. The air had a chill and a bewitching peace.
When you come from a country like India; with swarming crowds, traffic confined roads, and an equally cluttered sky; you feel like entering a lightly stroked canvas, in Sweden. You can see the white of the canvas complementing the colors and shades in a way that it all turns out a masterstroke.
It was spine wracking cold, with winds so powerful that can blow you away, on top of that the rain. If you know what Indian weather and winters are like, you can understand what I was referring to.
As we rode towards our hotel in Normmalm, we felt like entering into a live painting. The trees aligned perfectly with the curving road and the overcast sky. And then, somehow it felt warm.
Such was the ambiance when we sat on the bus bound for our hotel while looking out for more. It seemed we got a special entry into this land. A place which we can have all for our own. A little piece of myself albeit in a foreign land. Untouched, unspoiled, filled with love.
After a short rest at our hotel, we ventured out to get some Stockholm dust under our feet. We soon found Klarakyrka Church which though closed, looked like a tall stubborn beauty amidst the sky, scattered with orange-hued hibiscus. This was a sign of impending sunset.
Soon, the clock went past 8 pm, but the sky was still awake. Though shops had started preparing for the night, leaving a few eateries for the nightcrawlers. After a lot of wandering, hunger took us to Mcdonald’s where the veggie burger made of beans and potato, tasted somewhat ‘new’.
We arrived in what was the onset of summer in Stockholm. Summer here means 16–18 hours of daylight. So, the sun stayed with us a bit longer than we were habitual of. It was a quarter to 9 and we finally bid goodbye to the sun.
“Night is dark and full of terrors” right? But I guess the red lady in Game of Thrones didn’t visit Sweden in summers. Anybody who witnessed the rise and fall of the sun here would say the fall is more dramatic and magical.
It is not dark, it is bright blue illuminated in the sky. Somehow behind the blue layer, a light bulb seemed to brighten the sky. I don’t know how to explain this, but it literally shocked my guts out. Such was the beauty.
The next day brought in a sky that was washed in sparkling wine. The sun had a sleepy presence and the wind was gushing with energy. As we walked towards the Vasabron bridge, we realized how artistically the city has been constructed around it. No matter which direction your lens hovers, you find a picturesque landscape emanating history.
Under the bridge flows, Lake Malaren which had a rather ferocious personality, one is gripped with awe and fear at the same time. When I reached its shore, it came across running, as if to hug me. No, not a casual hug but a tight cuddle.
We spent 7 days in the city, not one went without the sky showing us magic tricks.
The weather always takes up the front seat, whenever I am on a holiday. Somehow it is the spices to your food. And even when Swedes don’t do spices much, the weather here, especially the sky, is no short of an impressionist painting
While taking a stroll at night, whenever I gaze at the sky here in India, I could see Sweden’s peacock blue making a guest appearance for me, and that’s a magic door of memories.