Madi arrived from America this Thursday. I picked her up from Arlanda myself, feeling kind of proud that I've gone from a touristy visitor to a local who can route my way to the airport and back no problem. I also felt happy that my friend would have someone meeting her right away, as opposed to the terrifying proposition of making it to T-Centralen alone, which is what I had to do for several visits to Sweden.
We spent the day walking around Old Town and then hanging out with Henri and Kristian, before calling it a night. The best part is that my boss called me and told me I could stay in Stockholm for the weekend, giving me a full four days to tourist around. We decided to make the most of it with Friday going to a hilltop park overlooking the city and barbequeing, and then Saturday going to Birka, the Viking island, via boat.
What could go wrong? Nothing, absolutely nothing, of course.
Except for of course the part where the end of the world happened. Storm clouds rolled in and we had
to say goodbye to the sun, probably forever. We tried to hold out for awhile against the storm.
It didn't work.
The rain poured in and we got SOAKED. We headed for a nearby pub. It was magical.
I guess if you're going to be wet and miserable, it's best to pair that with being drunk and cynical.
But once Friday was over, we started looking toward the best experience ever: BIRKA!!
Joacim has a boat, and though I'd never been on it before, I felt confident that it
would be amazing and beautiful and wonderful and relaxing.
At least I was right about that part.
The ride to Birka and Birka itself was really lovely and amazing.
We all had a great time, and Birka is a wonderful place.
It looks exactly like all the storybooks about Viking times.
Rolling green picturesque hills and a quiet solitude and a big high windy rock.
Probably the rock you stand on and curse out Odin at.
We didn't curse Odin, but we did have a picnic, and then some of us danced on
some super old Viking burial mounds. Oops.
Maybe that's what cursed us later on.
I told Joacim "Look Viking." Nailed it. Also, just for the record, Joacim is the best human ever.
I am so grateful for his friendship, and I was excited for my first boat trip in my life!! Other than
the whole Riga cruise which went slightly less horribly than this boat trip. More about that later...but
I love you Joacim.
This is a photo of the aforementioned dancing.
We are heathens, I know.
Birka has an old Viking settlement set-up to show what life was like back in Birka's heyday.
We of course went there and acted like a bunch of five year olds.
But it was great. Also, I managed to fit in a nap on the picnic rock before we went.
So I was totally ready to take on acting like a moron in some clay and stick buildings.
It's like the witch luring in Gretel. Oooooh creeeeeppppyyy.
I made a poultice from tar. Weehurrhurhrur.
Before I get to the good part of the story I want to give a shout out to Georg, who was (and always is) our chief organizer and get-togetherer and tour guide. He's a Swede who has a lot of pride in his country and knows a ton of history and is always willing and eager to share. But even more important than all that, he is a superb friend, has a great sense of humor, and somehow I always feel safe when I'm with him. Might have something to do with the fact that he is terrifying and huge and can scare off any predator up to and including polar bears. Either way, I love you Georg. Thank you for making everyone's summer so special.
The sun was setting when we left, and I was looking forward to a nice cool refreshing boat ride home.
But thanks to the choppy water and my asshole physique, I got hellaciously seasick.
It was all I could do to huddle in the back of the boat trying not to get drenched and say to myself,
don't puke don't puke don't puke.
I didn't puke. At the time, I thought barfing over the boat sober while a bunch of drunk people laughed at me would have been the worst thing to happen. As it turned out, that wasn't the worst that could've happened and I would have been really happy to have puked if it meant not going through the ordeal we DID have to go through.
The propeller hit a rock. And got busted.
Or Odin sent a bunch of Viking warrior zombies after us,
probably the ones we awakened by dancing on their burial mound.
And they stuck their swords in the propeller.
Just as the sun was going down and we were getting cold and everyone had to pee.
We were stranded out on the lake.
Our survival plan included me trying to pee in a bucket (I had stage fright, couldn't do it)
everyone manning up and taking a turn at rowing with the two oars we had,
and docking in someone's backyard and knocking on his door to ask for help at 10pm.
He was not thrilled, but he did help us and let us keep the boat docked.
And then we stood around and got eaten by mosquitoes until we all died.