Saturday, September 12, 2015

Travelogue: Practical Experiences

It's starting to feel like I've been away for a long, long time. That's always a good sign: it means that I'm actually resting. I love looking at the days left before returning to the real world and realizing that I can sit in this one spot for a while longer.

We moved on to Stockholm on Wednesday. We had an early morning, followed by two flights and a couple of hours of wandering lost in the Stockholm public transport system before we arrived at our hotel. Planes might be fast, but I'm still hoping someone will invent a teleporter someday.

Still, the journey had some highlights, like seeing this gigantic bar of Toblerone in the duty free shop in Heathrow Airport:


I intended to knit while we traveled, but my brain would not allow it. Instead, I dozed. When I wasn't dozing, I read magazines: Runner's World, for when I return to real life and to the need to wear trousers that fit properly. Yes, I eat everything under the sun when I'm on vacation. No, I feel no guilt about it:


And my other magazine: Practical Sheep, Goats, and Alpacas. I saw it in a bookstore in Belfast, and just had to bring it home. It's full of information for those who tend herds of fibre-bearing animals. It many come in handy some day. After all, it doesn't say "Frivolous Sheep, Goats, and Alpacas," right?


Anyway, we arrived in Stockholm to Motel L, which is far more modern digs than we're accustomed to, but it's clean and comfortable, quiet and pleasant. It is all satisfyingly symmetrical, for a closet perfectionist like me:




We walked into Gamla Stan on Thursday, or the Old Town. It is as you would guess: old. We had no agenda, apart from exploring and enjoying the sunshine. I had bookmarked a couple of yarn shops on my phone, but wasn't particularly aiming for them. I was happy just to see what happened.

We came across lots of old, beautiful buildings. I just bought a copy of Knitting Architecture, by Tanis Gray, which I love because I'm often inspired by buildings when I'm knitting. The buildings here will be fodder for many projects to come, I think:






I loved the tight alleyways:


And I saw a shop filled with the most amazing handmade treats:


And we came across the most tightly packed shop of maritime collectables I'd ever seen. There was even a souvenir collection of letters from Swedish survivors of the Titanic. Given that the Titanic was built in Belfast, I thought that was a neat connection. I didn't buy a copy, but I might order it from them someday:


And, purely by chance, we chose a path that brought us to two yarn stores. First was Sticka, which was a beautiful little shop: light and airy with a selection of yarns from the area. I bought this skein of BC Garn yarn from Denmark, which is just south of Sweden. I loved the thick and thin spin of it, and I've already started daydreaming about stitches that will show them off.


The second shop was called Anntorps Vav. When I entered, there were three woman chatting in there. One was someone I assumed was the owner, who was working on a beautiful sweater with what looked like some multicoloured handspun yarn. The sweater looked like Elizabeth Zimmerman's Adult Surprise Jacket (has it really come to the point that I'm recognizing patterns just by the look of them?). The other two woman were older, and one spoke to me in Swedish. When she could see I couldn't understand, she mimicked knitting motions with her hands, and I exclaimed, "Yes! I knit!" She nodded in approval and smiled. It was a nice moment.

I walked away with a nameless yarn that was in a bin marked "Made in Sweden, 100% wool." The owner told me it was about 300m (about 320 yards), and it's a two-ply, coarse yarn in fingering weight. I think it will make a beautiful lace shawl, which should really hold its blocking. It was the only skein in this red colour. I tried to stay away from getting yet another red skein, but why resist?


The next day, we took a boat tour through the city, and I took tons of photos of even more beautiful buildings:





And then we left the central areas and entered the Ecopark:



And even managed to get a photo of a ubiquitous boat dog:


Today, we hung around in the area of the hotel. One of the most interesting things about Stockholm is that has the incredibly old juxtaposed next to the most incredibly modern, cutting edge stuff. The neighbourhood is an experiment in green architecture, with modern water recycling facilities, with roofs planted with grasses and fountains running with recycled water:


And shops filled with the latest fashions, and hip, modern toys for all ages. The best toy I saw was this one, naturally:


I also got to see a good friend of mine who I've known since before I finished university. We started out as "email penpals," and I'm amazed we've stayed in touch for this long. It was so, so nice to see him. It was lovely to just fall back into conversation, just as if we'd left off from one yesterday. It goes to show you how good friendships never wear out.

We fly back tomorrow. I'm looking forward to being home in our own surroundings, but I'm grateful to have had the chance for a change in scenery and to visit with so many of my friends. It'll be another long plane journey, but I'm feeling rested and content. I'll have plenty of things to daydream about during the trip: fun conversations, future projects... 

And of course, practical sheep. Always practical.

2 comments:

  1. Ao many things to feast my eyes on. I'm so happy that you're happy and enjoying yourself. I see the Practical magazine has an article about starter flocks...hint hint. Please tell me you got a snack from that one shop. A front window like that should not be denied.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't get one from that shop in particular, but I did get one the next day at another shop. I couldn't resist!

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