There are firsts for everything and I took the first bold step I needed to venture out. As the title goes, I went for my first solo trip. There are two places that I’ve gone to alone so far, but I will cover them in different posts.
This post will be on the very first day trip I took to Linköping in Sweden. You might not even have heard of it before so it’s okay. And people ask, why Linköping? That little town is just like the small town I’m in now and there’s nothing much to do. It’s not big or special. Why so random? Why Linköping?
I’m not that random when it comes to spending money. There’s a reason I chose Linköping. Have you heard or read the Malin Fors series? It’s a series of books under the crime genre, written by Mons Kallentoft. It follows the female detective Malin Fors as she solves cases against time as well as battles with her own issues. It’s a Swedish crime novel that I happened to pick up off the shelves a few years ago in Singapore, and the rest is history. I became hooked and I’ve read all the books in the series. There’s another book that’s yet to be translated into English, so I’m waiting for that.
And yes, you guessed it – the book’s setting is in Linköping.
So of course I had to see the actual place for myself. It’s my favourite book series and I couldn’t miss out on seeing the actual place for myself when I’m so near it. Since nobody else was interested in Linköping I set off on a solo trip on 10 February, 2017.
At first, I was scared and excited all at the same time – filled with trepidation because it hit me that I was all on my own and nobody really knew that I was going on a day trip, and exhilaration because I was finally being free and doing something I really wanted to do. I felt independent and empowered. There was a rough plan ahead, and I make all the decisions. It was a self-discovery process.
This place was massive. I didn’t know a city park was this big. The kind of parks I imagined in my mind were the small, can-look-over-the-whole-park-from-one-point kind of open-air park that you can find in Singapore. I thought that it was a small park for me to see.
I was not expecting such a big park with fields of snow, streams, hills and bridges. That day happened to be particularly snowy and the entire park was just white and cold. Also not the kind of park I imagined because in Singapore, it’s all green.
I spent an hour or two there. I simply wandered through the thick snow and watched a few people push their babies slowly, enjoying the little sunshine available during the day. The playground was empty and void of kids screaming and running around. It was such a tranquil place.
But the second stop I went to was even more peaceful. Gamla Stan Linköping is basically Linköping Old Town, where the buildings are old and preserved. It’s also known as Linköping Open-Air Museum. They have it in Stockholm as well, which also visited.
It was quaint, quiet and beautiful. When I went there in the afternoon it was snowing really heavily and I was the lone soul trudging in thick snow and freezing my fingers taking photos. Most people were indoors because these houses had shops, cafes and people in it. I imagine that a lot of people enjoy this place in summer, but since it was a bitterly cold and snowy day, there were few people to be seen. I was pretty much left all alone and to my own devices, which included finding my way around and keeping track of time.
It took my breath away. Upon emerging from the woods I faced a field so vast it stretched beyond my line of sight and seemed to disappear into more trees and snow. The sky and the snow were the same colour. So far and empty was this field that I simply wanted to walk towards it and walk on and on and on.
I saw a small boy no older than six years old tend to a few goats on the farm. He was alone with three to four goats who pranced around him and simply walked around. I wonder where everyone went. It was like a ghost town.
Train tracks that were no longer used and covered in snow; fences that did not protect or keep in (or out) anything or anyone, abandoned playgrounds and houses, and a road that led on and on till God knows where. I couldn’t finish walking that road because I had to go back and catch my bus, but my curiosity was piqued. I followed it as far as I could. Who knows what amazing place I could have discovered?