Three Days of Exhaustion, Exploration, and the Unexpected

Have you ever been so tired that you feel like you're moving through molasses? Well that was our morning today as we sleepily took on Stockholm. 

First, let's rewind a bit. Before departing Copenhagen we managed to squeeze in a canal tour, the highlight of which in my opinion was seeing a new style of minimalist cheap living because everyone wants to live in an old shipping container floating on the water?

Copenhagen Canal Tour

But you also got some pretty nice views of Copenhagen that you can't get from the land.

New Harbour Nyhavn

We then decided to head back to Christiania to climb the tower of Church of Our Saviour. I've climbed a lot of towers for a lot of city views, but this was unique because the half way up the tower, the steps are on the outside. And instead of having a viewing platform, the path just gets narrower and narrower until you physical can't move further up because the railing and the tower merge into one. And like Christiansborg Palace the previous day, you got some beautiful views of the city even on a sligthly dreary day.

Church of Our Saviour Tower
Church of Our Saviour Tower View

It was then time to get our stuff and head to the ferry terminal to check-in and board for our journey to Oslo, Norway. It's more like a cruise ship with bars and restaurants, a club, casino, and spa. The only people enjoying the dance floor in the club were a couple kids, so we decided to break into our bottles of wine in our room and chat the night away. 

Ferry Ride from Copenhagen to Oslo

The next morning we woke up and watch the beautiful fall foliage pass by as we made our way into the Oslo dock. After a quick coffee and dropping our bags off in the train station's luggage lockers, we made our way to the Oslo Opera House, which is designed to look like an iceberg rising out of the water and has a slanted roof which you can walk up.

We strolled through Akershus Fortress, which on a crisp fall day is well worth it, even if you have no interest in military fortresses. 

Akershus Fortress in the Fall

We made our way to the Nobel Peace Centre, a museum dedicated to the sole Nobel Prize that is awarded outside of Sweden to spend about an hour exploring the history of the prize itself, the numerous laureates, and broader peace-building efforts before scarfing down some delicious Thai food for lunch. 

With a free afternoon, we parted ways and I spent most of the day relaxing in the Gardens of the Royal Palace. 

Oslo Royal Palace Gardens

Soon, I made my way to the pier at Aker Brygge to watch the sunset.

Oslo Sunset

Once the bitter cold wind started to get to me, I made my way back to the train station where we would reconvene for our overnight bus to Stockholm. This is where things started to get tiring and interesting. 

Given the cold and now rainy weather, and none of us wanting to spend money on food or drinks at a bar, we ended up waiting in the train station, which is directly next to the bus station, longer than is ideal. Once it was time to head to the bus station, there was a man there yelling and causing a scene. Though it made us uncomfortable, we quickly realised it had to be connected to some kind of panic attack and we tried to empathise with him. 

The bus pulled in and we got in line to board only to discover him and his family (who were doing an amazing job trying to keep him calm) were on the same bus as us. The first couple hours nothing happened, and I slept peacefully. Then he started yelling again and his very patient family tried to keep him quiet and calm but with little success. So we each only managed to get a couple hours of less than sound sleep.

And the exhaustion really kicked in as we pulled in Stockholm and we had to wait a bit, sipping coffee all the while, for our hostel reception to open so we could drop our bags off before setting off into the city.

It was a struggle walking 20 minutes to the City Hall - the location of the Nobel Prize Banquet - for the first morning tour. It was even more of a struggle to walk around Old City to see the Parliament Building, Royal Palace, and other sites on the island. And Rupa falling asleep in a chair of the Nobel Museum was the epitome of the struggle.

Don't get me wrong, we loved seeing the city. City Hall was beautiful, the fall leaves were stunning, seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Palace was fun, and the Nobel Museum was interesting. I really loved getting to see Pearl S. Buck, the 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature Laureate and my first cousin three times removed included in the museum, even if it was brief and seemingly insignificant. But despite these great sites and activities, doing anything when you're as tired as the three of us were is a challenge.

So we made our way back to the hostel, weary eyed and satisfied with our first morning in Stockholm, to relax until check-in. But a wonderful surprise came when they were able to let us check-in early. 

Naps, naps, and naps galore. 

This evening, well-rested but starving, Rupa and I headed out to find some traditional Swedish food while Carol stayed back to relax a little longer. As delicious as my food was, Carol might have had the better night as she met an Indonesian family at the hostel who shared their home-cooked meal with her. 

And now, it is bed time.