A Sparse Metropolis

Stockholm is a sparse metropolis. The amount of nature mingled with the urban environs, modern and historied is incredible. I can’t imagine any other place where I can go from walking on a paved road surrounded by buildings to a wooded lake edge. So, when I went to swim in a lake in the middle of the city, it wasn’t like being in nature, it was being in nature.

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It’s been a while since I posted. Summer has come around and I had a sweat in Stockholm. The warmth in the air, the lush greenery and an almost (so close) 24 hour sunlight day makes for an interesting experience in itself when placed in contrast with the bleak grey, frozen hell this place can be.

So, we did a barbecue on one sunny day and had a bonfire later. Walking back home, doing groceries, the joy of watching the sheep and the cows in the fields. I remember the day I felt it was summer. As usual I put on my coat and walked out of my apartment. It was windy as usual except the air felt warm, the day before it would have been a chilly pinching sensation. The temperamental nature of the weather here is astounding, days can go from sunny, to rainy, even snowy at a whim.

 

But as the semester wound down, the warm days kept on coming. I finally got around to running in the trails and woods behind Lappis, something I have been thinking and talking about for a while. I found some more interesting places (see: Something prompted this!).

Stockholm is a sparse metropolis. The amount of nature mingled with the urban environs, modern and historied is incredible. I can’t imagine any other place where I can go from walking on a paved road surrounded by buildings to a wooded lake edge. So, when I went to swim in a lake in the middle of the city, it wasn’t like being in nature, it was being in nature.

 

Its not just the nature though, This feeling which I can only describe as being the opposite of feeling crowded is as pervasive as its incredible. The place has largely left me untouched, it has been the experiences I have sought out that have come to impress me. I went slack lining in the park, where I meet several new people, some of them strangers who wanted to join and a elderly gentleman who congratulated us on our efforts. I felt very pleased with the warmth and welcoming demeanor. I went to a gay bar and found it to be pretty much a normal bar, a couple of winks here and a few girls making out, notwithstanding.

The restaurants, clubs, museums one visits here appear to me as cozy boxes embedded in the pastel colored buildings that stand soberly, orderly. The openness that this place has never seems to stop amazing. For the last couple of days I have been riding around a borrowed bicycle. I have crossed the length of the city, gotten lost (even with GPS :/) and just enjoyed the freedom that this place promises (you do need a job, which I currently do).

 

So I rode around and saw the blue hued midnight skies and went for a sunny morning ride to work. While the regular folks go around in their cars on bland grey highways, the cyclists get to enjoy some spectacular views, filled with lakes, flowers. As the cool wind blows and the sun keeps you warm, it is easy to get lost in this dream. I get lost all the time and its worth it because every sight is priceless. The pictures I take don’t tell it well, the best parts I was too busy enjoying myself.

In my opinion, this is a city not of dreams but one where people make choices, where things don’t come to you, rather you have to seek your way out. This ethos has caused me much anguish but still there is much to be appreciated.

Left alone to my own devices but inevitably, still a part of this beautiful city, I am loving it here.

 

Fortress of Solitude

Stockholm can feel like a toy town at times, with its empty streets, transport that runs like clockwork and a majestic, aged feel about it. This was so different from the crowded urban jungles cities are. Yet here I was a few months later holed up inside a small room. I couldn’t help noticing the contrast.

A ‘Fortress of Solitude’ is what my colleague called the 25 day self imposed, exam induced hibernation. My travel plans dashed, I resigned myself to a quiet Christmas and New Year, knowing fully well that the weather in Stockholm is conducive to a passive existence that I am prone to. I lost track of day-night cycles and life flowed along without boundaries, a blur of existence. Day after day I stared outside my window at the snow and wondered how it could have been. At night I heard the plastic I had placed on the vent crinkle, thankful of the warmth I had as the lakes froze,

I did attempt to spend this precious resource, time, prudently on things like learning programming and preparing for the exam. The inevitable did happen and the process wasn’t as efficient as one might hope. Countless youtube videos were consumed. Unfortunately my attempt to do something useful kept me from the things I would have loved to do instead. So, the books and anime went untouched as I slipped and skidded in my attempt to do something useful. Could it be that I tried too hard, might have I instead written a poem? Progressed on the long abandoned book? I feel a pang of regret but the milk has spilled, the days have long passed.

I came here with the urge to make something of myself, to learn new things and do things that amaze me. That enthusiasm has fallen flat on its face. I thought about the hard journey ahead, a sinking feeling came to mind. I have never been a rushed person and it struck me that I might have been a little too hasty this time around. The idea that I might have jumped into a quagmire of my own making felt very real. Could I have given up on those small pleasures of life, the little things that go unnoticed till you are deprived of them? I recalled the wondrous sights I had seen when I arrived here and how enamored I was at the beauty. I was taken by how different and storied the surroundings seem,

This was an open city full of greenery and hidden pathways. Often I had wandered and stumbled upon fabulous things.  I have walked and come across castles and hidden wooden doors. Stockholm can feel like a toy town at times, with its empty streets, transport that runs like clockwork and a majestic, aged feel about it.

This was so different from the crowded urban jungles cities are. Yet here I was a few months later holed up inside a small room. I couldn’t help noticing the contrast. I felt restricted and as I pondered more, I felt the extent to which my life had been altered. I always knew what I was getting into, but the physical manifestation of constraint hits hard.

I wondered at the remarkable change in perspective I have undergone during this time. As I boarded the bus to the university after several days, I felt a sense of return. In contrast to how everything had felt new and wondrous half a year ago, I felt the comfort of a known landscape, a feeling similar to how one looks at home.The striking sensation to me was how much I still appreciated the wind, the quiet calm of this city and that beautiful, intriguing things stay that way though I might encounter them time and time again. I had planned to post this collection of pictures a while ago but I see things differently now.

As I had grow accustomed to my life here, the murky restlessness returns. It is an important force that drives to me to strive for better but too much of it and the doors to perpetual frustration swing wide open. I feel like an important lesson has been learnt. I have come full circle. Starting from a place where I was content to let things happen as they would, to a burning desire to lead my destiny and now finally the realisation that good things don’t happen overnight. In the meantime, I suppose its ok to have some fun!

I missed a lot of people this winter and I was missed by a lot of people too. Thank you for all the love you have showered me with!

Something prompted this!

I recently shifted to Stockholm for my Masters, pursue dreams and enjoy some first world living. So there is a huge amount of ‘major step in life’ enthusiasm going around (in my head). Now it seems, the epic beauty of this place was enough to push me off the edge and I have managed to click around a 100 photos in 3 days. Believe me, its an effort of staggering scale for me.

As you might have already read, I have been putting off this effort for 7 years now. Acknowledging this fact makes me feel really, really, old :\ but anyway, here is the thing.

I recently shifted to Stockholm for my Masters, pursue dreams and enjoy some first world living. So there is a huge amount of ‘major step in life’ enthusiasm going around (in my head). Now it seems, the epic beauty of this place was enough to push me off the edge and I have managed to click around a 100 photos in 3 days. Believe me, its an effort of staggering scale for me. These photos sit sadly in my hard disk but then I came up with the brilliant idea of posting them online :D So here goes nothing, YAY! -.-

I went around clicking photos of the area I stay in. Its called Lappkärrsberget, fondly refered to as Lappis (very cute)

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One of my first clicks, I was very taken by the streets and the lampposts that, as a friend suggested, might have been completely in place at Hogwarts. Everywhere I looked there were shades of red, gray and cream, all nestled in lots and lots of green. This combined with the cold air flowing through my hair was enough to put me in an adventurous mood.

I had 3 days to kill before the registration day, so I decided to move around a little and delight in getting the feel of the area nearby. I soon stumbled upon a trail behind my block and it led to a fantastic discovery :D I found this solitary bench. Notice the message carved on it, it says

THE FRIENDLY BENCH

Rule1: If you want a new friend, have a seat

Rule2: If you see someone sitting here, say hello!

Rule3: Make a new friend

I sat for a while, reading my book. Sadly there were no passersby.

Moving along, I saw something amazing, could it actually be and behold, a lake! A huge one at that. I decided to walk along and found a cozy spot some 3 kilometers ahead where I finally took a selfie!

Fun fact: I heard that the lake water is drinking quality water, that is just amazing to me :p

It struck me that all of this natural beauty, which happens to the most profound I have experienced yet, was hardly 100 meters away from the roads and buildings. Indeed it was possible to hear the traffic at some spots and occasionally peeks of multi stories were visible through the trees.

Today I followed another, more ‘foresty’ trail. I was sure I heard a bear..

Fortunately for me though, it turned out to be a relatively short walk till I arrived at the other end of Lappis, and the bear, was actually a speed boat out in the lake. Next time, I will venture with a more steadfast mental state. As I came out of the shrubbery, much to the surprise of an elderly couple cycling up the road, I heard music and merry sounds. It seems the locals were taking full advantage of the warm sun out today, at the beach.

This was all about my explorations of Lappis so far! I do have an interesting snippet of information. Waves of mystic lights have been reported in the sky at ungodly hours by the denizens, but it is rumored that only the most patient and hardy lot, willing to face down the challenges of nature and achieve inner strength can be blessed with these visions! Seriously though, I really need to get my ass out of bed at 2 AM to see the Aurora XD

As a final thought, why so many grills everywhere? They are everrrywhere!

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