I couldn’t travel till the 23rd. I had promised to attend a party the previous evening and I did just that. I spent the day compiling the results from my project. Very early the next day, I was staring at the snow capped rooftops and the glassy lakes through the window on the upper deck of the SJ train. That had become my favorite seat choice for traveling around Sweden. With those seats came the opportunity to catch breath taking views of the city and country sides along the route. After 3 hours, I was in a bus on my way to my brother’s house in Uppsala.
Not long after arriving my brother’s house, we were out again. This time for some Christmas shopping. We decided to wait till the next morning to buy the turkey. There was no way the large stock of turkeys we saw could finish overnight. We were exhausted and in no mood to carry any more items that day. A decision we would regret as the turkeys were sold out by the next day.
When everyone had gone to bed, I sneaked to place my gifts under the Christmas tree. I had decided to help Santa with getting and delivering the gifts for that home. I remember the excitement in my niece’s eyes on Christmas day when she got to open her present from Santa. The day after Christmas we attended the service of Christmas lessons and carols at the Cathedral. I was fascinated by the lifelike statue. It took me a couple of minutes to believe it indeed was a statue. The next day, we were out again. Tourists taking in the city sights and shopping as we went along. We ended each tour day in a local restaurant to have dinner before heading home. By the 30th we were bored with the routine in Uppsala. So we packed a few things and by the next day we were in Stockholm. We checked into a hotel and stepped out to continue our all too familiar task of touring.
We decided to take a boat ride. The smell of the sea breeze in the winter morning air was an experience I will not be forgetting any time soon.
There was a tour guide showing us places of interest. There was music and yes, there were breakfast and lunch buffets. The boat ride ended around 4 pm and we proceeded to an ice skating ring. We were content with just watching other individuals skate. After visiting as many places in the city as we could, we returned to the hotel around 8 pm to get some rest. We were out again around 10 pm to grab a late dinner before heading to find a great spot to watch the new year fireworks. We followed the crowd and with the help of police officers stationed around to maintain order, we settled on a spot in front of a castle by the water front. A few minutes to midnight, a boat with it lights off, slowly made its way towards us and stopped right in front of the castle. At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks were let loose. Blaring from the boat and lighting up the night sky. Greeted with cheers, whistles and shouts of gott nytt år (happy new year)!
A few days later I was on the train, on my way back to Linkoping. The holidays were over but I probably smiled through out the journey as my mind was flooded with pleasant memories of my first Christmas in Sweden.