Stockholm is the urban jewel in the wonderous Scandinavian crown polished with outstandingly beautiful buildings perched atop of idyllic islands forming an extraordinary archipelago rich with history, culture and naturally stunning scenery. The unique layout ofthe Swedish capital gifts the city a charming atmosphere that blends its aqueous roots with its absorbing modernisation. Island hopping across the water from district to district is a fast way to travel through history, from the charismatically alluring old town to the modern shopping centres whilst still feeling at one with the much-adored Swedish nature. The archipelago is made up of over a thousand islands which gives Stockholm a relaxed vibe which is rare to come across in a big city and the combination is impossible to not adore.
That is unless you are driving an old, unreliable Volkswagen Campervan without working indicators containing your parents and girlfriend fresh from the airport across the busy bridges to an Air Bnb which is impossible to find on a uselessly out of date map. Which of course, I was. I’ve had my fair share of bad drives and navigational errors, but none have been as bad as the train wreck of journey that was my chauffeuring experience in Stockholm.
As the motorway drew to an end on approach to the city the queues began as half of Sweden’s-traffic was funnelled into a bottleneck and forced to pick a lane. A complete lack of information from apple maps made choosing a lane a game of complete luck and as I indecisively weaved across the tarmac like a coin on ‘tipping point’ we were eventually pushed over in the wrong lane and failed to leave the carnage. As we crawled past the desired exit the voice from the navigating system politely requested that I bear right.
The recalculated route took us on a sightseeing experience as we slowly meandered between the islands, crossing over bridges and forcing our way across lanes, using Georgie’s arms as indicators. To preserve the picturesque layout of the city the main roads are hidden away, beneath the land, and so to arrive at our destination we were required to descend down into the dark and confusing tunnel system, where my data requiring satnav exceeded its usual standard of remarkable inadequacy. Somehow, the route took us under a whole island, beneath our temporary home,and we popped out the other side further than we had been after an hour of Slowly queuing to get to the tunnel. At the resurfacing roundabout we circled back and headed back into the confusing abyss. Once again, we arose to another frustrating realisation that we had driven under the entire district. The second lap offered a glimpse of hope as we progressed to the next stage having successfully taken the right exit from the tunnel, only to be disastrously sent back down to Europe’s closest depth to Hell as the following roundabout led us back to the pits.The magic rule of third time lucky came into play as on that third circumnavigation of the Earth’s core we climbed from the labyrinthine tunnel system, beat the roundabout and sprawled out into the daylight of the busy city, just a few minutes away from the sanctuary of the apartment.
With all three passengers questioning my navigational ability, love for road trips and my sanity, we had finally made it and were free to relax in all the splendour Stockholm had to offer.