Bored Shipless In Stockholm

I have been bored shipless ever since I waved goodbye to the cruise ship that brought me to Stockholm yesterday. Having arrived from St Petersburg, this city seems sparse of interesting history and stunning palaces and gems such as those the Tsars left behind in Russia.

Apart from learning about Sten Sture’s victory over King Christian 1 in 1471 at the Battle of Brunkeberg, and his eventual demise at the hands of King Christian II forty nine years later, Stockholm’s history didn’t have interesting characters such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Rasputin. Many of Sten Sture’s supporters, nobles and burghers of Stockholm were beheaded in the Stockholm Bloodbath, that deserves a mention, I suppose.

Stockholm, although beautiful and scenic, does not hold my attention for long enough. Gamla Stan was especially beautiful after nine pm when the crowds thinned and the evening light became alluring. Infinitely more inviting without the lime scooters and rumbustious heavy set Americans, many of whom think they own the streets.

To me, Sweden is made famous by her iconic brands such as Saab, Volvo, Ikea, Ericsson, Spotify, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, Bjorn Borg, ABBA and also for the Nobel Prize. Alfred Nobel was a brilliant inventor; he would have died with a reputation as a terrible urghhling. He was very much alive when he read his own obituary in a French newspaper; the headlines read “the merchant of death” is dead! There would have been nothing noble about Nobel, whose wealth was accumulated from selling his destructive invention, the dynamite. His premature obituary was the catalyst for him to change his will; his fortune would be used instead to create prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The prize for economics was added later.

My second day here was spent like a homeless vagabond, as described by a fellow traveller. Shipless, and even after a late hotel checkout, I had twelve hours to kill in Gamla Stan. That meant a lot of walking and standing, aimlessly. It was a surprisingly warm day, I may have been described as bored but at least I got to do something I hadn’t done since I was a uni student in 1980. I slept on a green patch of lawn in a park, without a worry on my mind nor a furrow of my brows. What a carefree life it is to not have a task to do or a responsibility to shoulder.

Urghhling, an American couple grunted as they walked past me, were they describing me with my unkempt Rasputin hair and sweat-infused, once-cherished Boss shirt or were they talking about POTUS. Their President this morning unilaterally imposed trade restrictions on the Chinese company Huawei, I wonder how they felt about that. Urghhling indeed.

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