We’ve finally arrived in Stockholm. It feels like I’ve had this trip on my calendar forever and I’m excited it is finally here. This is my friend Rosie’s first trip out of the country and she called me to see if I would join. Being noncommittal I told her maybe I’d take a trip to Europe. If she found a flight for $500 I would consider it and if she found one for $400 I wouldn’t be able to say no. Lucky for her there’s a fare war going on with routes to Europe right now and some fares are insanely low. She shot me back a flight from Washington, DC to Stockholm for $390 roundtrip per person so I went ahead and booked our flights. It’s sort of fun traveling with Rosie for her first trip abroad because it’s reminding me of all the funny things I experienced on my first trip abroad. Struggling with overpacking (who doesn’t still struggle with that?), wondering how to get places and how to get money, and figuring out how to use her phone. There’s a lot to think about when you travel abroad! And that doesn’t even consider hiccups. We boarded our flight at Dulles and could tell things were moving slowly. We missed our takeoff time, and then when we finally pushed back from the gate we sat on the tarmac for two hours. A storm was rolling through DC and the air space had just been closed. Considering our layover in Iceland was only an hour and a half, we figured we’d miss our flight. Then the captain said he could make up an hour in the air. We landed at Reykjavik (one of the prettiest landings I’ve ever seen thanks to the midnight sun) with 10 minutes to spare before our next flight took off. It’s a shame we didn’t have time to explore Iceland for a few hours because I had seen some really cool things at https://www.carsiceland.com/post/best-things-do-in-iceland. We literally sprinted off the plane, along with every other passenger, all in hopes of making an unlikely connecting flight. Turns out, we were all racing for naught. They had held the flights, probably because so many of us were connecting. I guess having everyone run through the airport got us to board quickly? Three hours later we landed in Stockholm. It wasn’t too hard navigating the Arlanda Express and bus to our hostel. We are staying at the af Chapman, an old navy training ship that has been used as a youth hostel since 1949. From the ship, we have stunning views of Gamla Stan, the old town, across the water. After eating a traditional Swedish buffet-style breakfast, we took the tunnelbana, Stockholm’s metro, to Gamla Stan to meet Marah and Robin. Marah is an instagram friend turned real life travel buddy. She takes some really dreamy photos of Stockholm, you should check them out. Marah and Robin took us all over town! We wandered Gamla Stan, the old town that felt like a fairy tale, and Sodermalm, the hipster, shopping island with lots of good food. They took us to a few good vantage points for amazing views of the city. Showed us some hidden gems. Taught us all about fika the Swedish coffee break tradition. And debated the qualities of the kanderbulle (Swedish cinnamon bun) versus the kardemumma (cardamom bun). Hint: It’s tough to decide which one is tastier, so you should probably just try both! But most importantly they kept us awake and on our feet all day so we could properly adjust to the new time zone. They were wonderful local guides and kind to offer themselves up for the job! At the end of the afternoon they dropped us off at Meatballs for the People with clear instructions for Rosie to try the traditional Swedish meatball. Lucky for me and the other vegetarians out there, the restaurant can substitute spicy falafel balls with most of the plates. Now we are absolutely beat and trying to stay up a little later before falling asleep.