Tag Archives: control

Erasmus break in Stokholm, Sweden

I went to Sweden 2 years ago to do my Erasmus back there. Sweden was quite of a dream for me, I always wanted to go to Scandinavia and so when I had the opportunity to go there for my studies, I took this opportunity.

I lived in a small city north from Uppsala called Falun. However I’m going to talk about the capital city of Sweden: Stockholm. So far it’s my favorite capital! What is great about Stockholm is that it is a sort of archipelago, you have water everywhere and it’s very clean! You can have a look at it and you won’t find any trashes inside. The other positive aspect of Stockholm is that the city is “small” you can basically walk everywhere and avoid the subway (which is expensive, because let’s admit it, Sweden is bloody expensive especially alcohol!). So when I was in Stockholm I’ve never been in the subway BUT you should give a look over there, the walls inside are painted and are beautiful. Now, what shall you do in Stockholm? Well, my favorite part was Gamla Stan (the old town) a little island with paved streets and little cute shops (this little island was the heart of Stockholm in the early days). You can have a nice walk everywhere in this island; however beware of the tourists in summer, since the streets are really narrow you can barely walk there. Another great thing I’ve found in Gamla Stan is Aifur; a Viking restaurant where you can drink mead, eat a Viking meal on a large wooden table, listening to live music. The food/drinks are quite expensive but are delicious (they even have a vegetarian/vegan option) and the atmosphere there is incredible. You won’t find anything similar elsewhere. (If you don’t want to wait too long at the entrance you should book it before coming!).

What you can also do is going to the castle and watch the changing of the guard (not as impressive as the British one but still nice to see)

Stockholm has a lot of museum as well; the most famous could the vasamuseet: where you can visit a ship. You will find it in Djugården. In this island you can have a nice walk as well if the weather allows it or just go to ABBA’s museum (no kidding it exists). If you’re in a party mood I’m sure you will find plenty of places to go but be careful because most of the club won’t allow you do go in if you’re under 20 (which was my case when I was there so I cannot give any advices regarding clubs). Same for alcohol! In Sweden you can only buy alcohol in a shop called Systembolaget, there you will find plenty of alcohol but it’s quite expensive, and moreover if you are under 20 you won’t be able to buy anything from there (they control ID cards). However, somehow in some bars you can get any drinks you want although you’re younger than 20 (I still don’t get it –anyway-). To conclude: if you have the chance to go to Stockholm, just take it!

By Lucile Rouet, from France

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From the ancient Persia to Islamic republic of Iran: The land of Mystery

cimg4024This is an edited version of “From the ancient Persia to Islamic republic of Iran: The land of Mystery” for First Exploration. It was first published on the blog Hitchhiking World Traveler.

You can not find hitchhiking in Farsi’s vocabulary (official language in Iran). Hitchhiking is a concept that most of Iranians don’t knows about.

I think the most difficult part of traveling through Iran was the language barrier. Few locals spoke English and the hitchhiking concept remains unknown. With the public transportation ridiculously cheap, thumbing up in Iran seems like a dumb thing you would do. Though, I traveled through this big country (the 18th largest country in the world) solely by hitchhiking, which makes me understand more about the local population and this mysterious country.

Iranian hospitality

Known as Persia until 1935, ever since the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran became the Islamic Republic of Iran, with media’s splash and the Iran-Iraq war. Millions of terrorist attack happened in the Middle East and around the world. It makes Iran a fearful country to visit for most of the people around the world.When I tell people I have traveled in Iran, people look at me incredulously and admirably like I am a soldier who have survived the world war II.

However Iran is not a dangerous country to visit, there are police check points everywhere. If you are traveling on the road, roughly every 50 to 100 kilometer there is one of them. They stop cars, check their ID and ask them where are they going. I was checked by Iranian polices quite a few times. Though, you are more likely impressed by the hospitality and curiosity from the locals around you.

During my one month of traveling through Iran, I have never used in my tent. Each single night, I slept in local’s house, even if it is forbidden for locals to host a foreigner.

It happened to me very often that the driver who gave me a ride would invite me to have lunch or dinner or something to eat in his house, so I would meet his family (like his wife, children, parents, siblings and neighbors), and then he would insist that I stay overnight.

I have to say Iranian are extremely curious about foreigners, but because of the islamic regime, it is definitely not a top tourist destination for most of the people in the world. Iran is also a close country that most of the countries would need a visa to visit it which is still quite tricky to apply for. That notably is there are very few tourists and travelers.

Many times when I met local Iranians, they usually told me that I was the first foreigner they have ever met in their life. However meeting the Iranians gave me desire to apply for the VISA. Needless to say, there are tons of stuff you can visit in this amazing country.

By Sirus Lin, from Taiwan