I arrived in Sweden on the last day of Eurovision, something I hadn’t heard about until the day prior. Correspondingly, hostels had been upwards of $40 a night when I had looked, so I braved AirBnb for the first time and got lucky with a really sweet host who had an extremely comfortable couch. (Or maybe it was that I’d spent two out of the four previous nights sleeping in airports. Dunno.)

My first afternoon, I went out and found Swedish meatballs to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner and was introduced to lindoberries, the berries (that are not cranberries) common to many dishes in Sweden, it seems, which I fell in love with. My knee was hurting spectacularly after my stint of biking the previous day (again, not in a dehabilitating way, just in a way annoying enough to prevent me from dropping to my knees each time I wanted to take a photo of something cool) and it was extremely cold, but I was excited to explore nonetheless.

Skogskyrkogården is a cemetery and a UNESCO world heritage list. Normally when I look up things to see, I don’t rank them at all, but when I read about Skogskyrkogården I wrote down the name and wrote “imperative” next to it because I was so excited. It didn’t disappoint, and I got off the metro to find a huge park extending in every direction. The graves were prettily scattered everywhere, and there were an abundance of gorgeous daffodils. I saw my first hare as well as a Swedish squirrel, which was about as squirrelly as the German squirrel I had met in Frankfurt. Some of the graves had little statues of birds atop them that I initially thought were real.

I wandered around the Old Town in the evening, but ended up in a little cafe drinking coffee and people watching because it was really cold and I hadn’t slept the night before, making me even more susceptible to the scattering of rain. I had planned to go to bed early; however, my host and I ended up staying up late watching the Eurovision finals, which was a lot of fun.

One of my best friends can kind of be an airhead, and though we had skyped multiple times since I had booked my Stockholm to California ticket, it took me asking him where in the world he was and him replying “heading to Stockholm today” the day that I arrived for us to figure out that we actually were on the same flight and had a day in Stockholm we could spend together. Though we’re fantastic at driving each other up the wall (I love him to death, I swear) we had a lot of fun exploring the Stockholm Palace. I tried to drag him to the Rosendal Palace, but he decided that I walk too much and we turned around, ending up at the free Army Museum instead.

Though it was really chilly again, exploring the city was a lot of fun. I did feel like there were less things to see than I had found in other cities, and with another day I definitely would have gone out of town. I did love the rainbow flags everywhere and interesting post boxes, and we did pretty well (other than almost wandering into a church service.) We encountered a crazy duck who literally ate out of our hands (or rather, tried to snap off my friend’s fingers while I stood by and cackled until it leaped at me) and ended the day eating pie and sneakily drinking at a cosy cafe.