Across the Atlantic, day six. Current location: Ihrlerstein, Germany, and so it has begun.
During our stay at our hostel in Sweden there arrived a couple from Spain and Chile, without a word of English to their advantage in this not so familiar country. I was the only person they had met all day that spoke Spanish and that could help them contact their daughter whom they were trying to visit. Over the next two days I became their link, and my mom told me she thought it was a sign that we were meant to be exactly where we are, which of course I was into hearing. And so it goes, this time in Europe, one moment of splendor after another, exactly as it’s meant to be.
I would say that by far the best part of this adventure has been all the people we have met. I can hardly remember the sites or the restaurants that have filled the time, and our bellies. It’s the people that have become the main attractions. We arrived in Sweden the morning of the 19th, Stockholm more specifically. We stayed in a small hostel in the old town quarters, Gamla Stan, and spent the next two days with no real agenda other than to just relax and take things as they come. I have come to like traveling this way, without much of a plan and definitely no itinerary or ”must see/do” list, as I find it keeps me from actually looking at my immediate surroundings or encounters. Our first day was spent getting familiar with our neighborhood, aimlessly strolling and looking for anything that might catch our eye. We had an idea of certain sites that we might want to visit, but as it turned out, most of those plans fell by the wayside as we got drawn in to Stockholm, as it is live. So for two days we got lost amidst the narrow streets, and sat in one cafe after another, and chatted with locals and people from all over the world, Brazil, Poland, Argentina, Italy, etc, and at night we went to events that we never could have found without actually taking a look around. Our chance encounters brought us to a Swedish folk music performance of Bach’s music, and evening after evening at a local Irish pub that advertised live music jam sessions every night. So we went back every single night, down the winding staircase at the back of the pub to a musical cave where we got to listen to free blues, jazz, and folk jams, and we got to sing along to Hendrix tunes, and I got to dance with a drunk, old, Swedish man, and where we totally felt at home. Everyone in Stockholm speaks English, like all the time, seemingly even to each other a lot of the time, which made for making friends most effortless, and everyone was so approaching, and welcoming, and truly engaging. I’m truly not particularly outgoing, and one need not be to meet people in such a way. I think the secret to such positive interactions is to greet every person you meet with a smily disposition and an acknowledgement of their presence, whether it be eye contact or just a friendly nod–language barriers are irrelevant, as are any of our preconceived differences, when we find ourselves in the same place at the same time.
Although we kept touristic sight seeing to a minimum, we didn’t miss the beauty of the city itself as the snow fell, just as Spring was beginning. I hear it’s even more wonderful when the sun in shining and the weather is warm, and you can float atop the city in a hot air balloon. So I suppose I will have to return some day, but for now, Germany is my new home, and I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else than with my family here. Namaste friends of the world.