Updated on January 22, 2017
We heard that accommodations would not be easy to find in Stockholm. We also thought it would be a smart idea to learn the city and neighborhoods of Stockholm before blindly renting an apartment. As we thought about where we should stay upon arriving in Sweden, JoEllen and I remembered our positive experiences that we had while staying at AirBNBs when we visited cities like Ronda (Spain), Charleston (NC), Atlanta (GA), and Asheville (NC). Though these were all short trips, we loved the personal touch that AirBNB provides. When you book a place to stay through AirBNB, you also have a host who will help you settle in, give you recommendations of places to see or eat, and help you in case of an emergency. Because of this we, decided that an AirBNB would be a prefect place to stay while we looked for a permanent home. We logged on and found a great option for a reasonable price. If you have never used AirBNB, it is an incredible alternative to hotels; it is cheaper, more convenient, and more charming. If you are interested, try it out with a $35 voucher.
Upon arriving in Stockholm our AirBNB our host, Tomas, greeted us, and showed us around the flat. We were very happy with the decision. The flat was one large room with everything we needed. We also have a bathroom, which JoEllen and I will have to get used to sharing. Here is the listing of the flat on AirBNB. We have the AirBNB booked for a month, however, Tomas was kind enough to tell us that if we find a permanent solution, we can leave at any time with a refund of the remaining time.
After unloading some belongings, Tomas dropped us off at the tunnelbana (subway) station for our first afternoon of sightseeing in Stockholm. Our first stop was Gamla Stan (Old Town), where we walked around like tourists, taking in all the sights and smells. We wandered into a nice old church, made our way into a fantasy bookstore (which I obviously thought was incredible), and stopped in to a bar for a beer. Eventually, we made our way to the edge of the Baltic Sea. Right as we got there, the sun came out, which was a real treat. We chatted a bit with a local who recommended that we eat around the corner at an Italian restaurant that makes its own pasta and grows its own herbs. JoEllen, who ALWAYS orders the better meal, admitted that my steak and mushroom pasta was better than her dish. Being jet-lagged, we headed home after dinner.
Upon returning home, we learned that the oldest daughter of the AirBNB family was turning 16; the extended family was over to celebrate. We were invited upstairs to enjoy some strawberries (jordgubbar) and cream. They were delicious. I then met the son of the host who is a student at the school I will be teaching at (small world). We were also fortunate enough to hear Sweden’s version of “Happy Birthday.” It was crazy! The song kept going on and on and the family was really into it. It ended with some kind of shouting and grunting over and over. It was a fantastic and authentic way to end our first day. I later found out that the birthday song, “Ja må hon leva,” is about hoping someone lives to be 100 so that then you can shoot them, push them in a wheelbarrow, and drown them in a lake… Awesome!
JoEllen and I are very thankful for AirBNB. If we had not have had Tomas and his family to greet us, welcome us, and give us pointers on how to get around, we would have felt much more alone in an unknown city. It was nice to come home to a place that was full of character and kindness. Thank you, Tomas and family!