Scandinavia 2016: Day 5 – Onward to Stockholm!

In 2016 we are leading 4 high school summer trips. You can read all about our Global Innovators trips or get in touch to ask us any questions about the programs. Our 2016 Scandinavia trip “Getting Americans on the Bicycle” focuses on innovation, start-ups and community in cities around the world. During the trip, students take turns writing a daily blog post to describe their project process and exploration, follow along here. IMG_4465We bid a temporary farewell to “Home Sweet Malmo” and boarded an early Sunday morning train to Stockholm (Sweden’s Capital). For several students, including myself, it was our first time experiencing the rustic interiors of a classic European long distance train. What I expected was the enchanting journey advertised to me through movies like Before Sunrise or the Harry Potter series. Instead, we dragged our bags onto a toaster of a train and sat there…for five hours.Nevertheless, the train ride was a great way to introduce us to the never ending grasslands of Sweden. Though HOT,the air was undeniably clean, and the postcard worthy landscapes were definitely worth the trip.

Keeping up with the unpredictable theme of our cross country adventuIMG_4467re, we ended our train ride with an unexpected delay. But the surprises did not end there! Right when we left the station, the blistering heat from the train ride mutated into a brief rainfall. After dropping off our luggage, we had a refreshing afternoon Fika with a local engineer, Elizabeth, and her eighteen year old daughter, Christina. Over a full table of coffee, juice, and traditional Swedish buns, they educated us on Scandinavian culture and even taught us some local phrases.

We ended our day with dinner at Hermans, an outdoor garden cafe overlooking the Valdemarsviken Bay. Sweden is known for its meat-heavy cuisine, so we were surprised to find out that the restaurant was actually a vegetarian buffet. But after plates of pasta salads and grilled bell peppers, we found Herman’s fresh ingredients hard to resist. In fact, after such a long day of heavy travelling, we were grateful to be eating something so refreshingly healthy.

IMG_4473Compared with our previous stops in Malmo and Copenhagen, Stockholm’s geography is far less bike-friendly. Since the city is an archipelago, finding a way to improve biking between the different islands became our biggest challenge. This problem plays a big role in our project. So far, we have only visited cities that are flat and centered. Stockholm, with its steep slopes and scattered islands, is a better representation of the many American cities whose geography is not at all biker-friendly. We realized that in order to popularize cycling in these American cities, we would need to develop a more efficient transportation network- complimented by the more convenient biking infrastructures we found in Malmo and Copenhagen.