When Ben got up this morning, he had some unfortunate news. His work project remained a long way from being finished, leaving him to need another day of nonstop work. He concluded that I ought to go into the city on my own today, and he could join me tomorrow.
This revelation didn’t exactly surprise me, but I was still not very excited about the prospect of walking around Stockholm alone but I didn’t want to sit around the campground for another day either, so off I went, hoping I could straighten out a few of our problems while I was out.
An easy train ride dropped me right in the middle of the old town, where, despite the fact that it was well after 9:00, I had the place to myself. I wandered the quiet streets, checking out the trinkets in the closed up shops and watching restaurants unload their supply trucks. After spending so many consecutive weeks with Ben as my constant companion, it was odd to be alone with my thoughts. It took me a while to shake off the strange melancholy of being by myself and settle into the quiet wonder of seeing a new place for the first time.
I decided that I’d get our ferry tickets sorted out first. Two stops in two separate tourist information kiosks led me on a very long, indirect walk around the city while I attempted to locate that Tallink offices. A couple of bouts of bad directions aggravated the problem. Thankfully, once I found the office, the tickets were easy to book and my backup card worked just fine. With tickets in hand, I was off to sight-see for real.
By then, the sun had warmed the crisp blue day and the tourists had stormed the town. I joined right in with the camera wielding masses, trying to capture the blue skies and the glistening waterways set against picture perfect houses.
My slow walk led me to the Modern Art Museum, where I’d decided to spend my afternoon. The museum houses a wide collection of modern and post-modern art with works from artists including Andy Warhol, Matise, Picaso, and Munch. Each exhibit was well signed, giving a non-art person like me plenty of context for what I was looking at. The whole place was brightly lit and full of colorful and interesting art and relics of decades past, many talking about “Americans” as a strange other. I never know how much I’ll enjoy art mueseums given that I’ve got very little training in the finer details of painting and sculpting, but this was a particularly fun one and I was really glad I’d made the time to visit.
I headed back to the train through the Old Town which was now completely swamped with ice cream eating tourists and nearly as many street performers. I didn’t last very long, getting bumped and elbowed in the crowds before I snagged some lunch and hopped the train, headed back to see how Ben’s day was faring.
Back at camp, I found Ben just as I’d left him, working away. He took another break so I could call Capital One, where I managed to file a report on the fraud charges and request that a temporary card be sent to the hostel we’ve selected in Tallin. The whole process took another infuriating hour, but at least it is done. With this final call made, it seems that we’re well on our way to having solved the whole problem. Now, I’m looking forward to Tallin where we’ll sleep indoors and take it easy for a few days.