We have finally arrived in Stockholm, Sweden! The first of the two flights we had planned for the day, from Omaha to Newark, seemed like a quick one and easy to handle. Once in Newark, we relaxed and refueled for the eight-hour flight we knew would have some effects on our little fragile bodies!
As soon as we got off the plane and grabbed our luggage, we were met by our wonderful tour guide Dave. He is from the Seattle area and you know there had to be a little bit of cheering by two of our very own when he mentioned that! Dave guided us out of the airport and into the parking lot where our bus driver stood waiting next to our beauty of a bus made by Mercedes. Yes, that's right Husker fans, Mercedes! We were pleasantly surprised and very excited to be cruisin' around Stockholm in that bus!
All of a sudden in a matter of seconds, everyone got a shot of adrenaline and was ready to go. There were a lot of things that all of us noticed that may have been out of the ordinary as one could say: unusual signs, odd looking police cars, smaller roads, cute little houses etc. The best part of that was watching the reactions of some of the people who had never been out of the country.
Since check-in wasn't until noon and it was only 9 a.m., we wasted no time exploring. Our first adventure on the itinerary included a bus tour around the city of Stockholm. This city is full of historic surprises and is absolutely beautiful. I am not sure what I was expecting from this wonderful city, but I quickly learned that even though they possess a totally different culture than all of us, the transition from home to here wasn't going to be all that difficult.
We continued to drive around the city, visiting the so-called 'newer' parts as well as the 'older'. We went up to viewing areas where we stood on the edges and overlooked the entire city! It was magnificent and I hope all of you get the chance to see just how great it was when we bring back all of our pictures. Some of the more significant sites we saw included the Royal Building, which also had a royal wedding there last year, beautiful homes for the ambassadors of many different countries along the shoreline, a historical yacht that had been turned into a hotel and restaurant, and student housing are just to name a few.
Some other very important places we saw included McDonalds, Subway, Sushi places, and shopping areas! It was a relief knowing that if some of the foods we had to try were a bit troublesome to eat, then we always had a fall back no matter what.
After the long tour of the city, we were finally able to check into the hotel. This was very exciting for all of us because at this point it seemed like we hadn't showered or seen a bed in days! We were all so paranoid about the way we smelled, so I know it was probably a highlight for many to finally be able to feel clean again.
The hotel is beautiful and our rooms are great. They include all of the necessities, including free WiFi. I was lucky enough to be rooming with little "B", (aka Brandi Jeffery). I'm going to see how many words I can get out of her this trip! She is absolutely adorable.
After we cleaned ourselves off and got a good power nap, the players and staff all broke up into groups and explored the city on our own. We grabbed a bite to eat - since it was 2 p.m. However, to many of us, it seemed like it was time for bed. We recharged our batteries and had just enough energy to walk around and check out the markets, pedestrian streets and other familiar stores such as H&M and Aldo. Some stayed back and shopped while others returned to the hotel to get the much needed rest. The rest of the time was for ourselves to do what we wanted.
Many chose to get in a nap even though we were told to try and stay up during the day so we could adjust quickly to the time difference. That clearly didn't work for many of us. I needed my beauty sleep, so I could write out this blog for all of you. I very much enjoyed "reliving" the adventure we had today. It was a long day, but so worth it. I cannot wait to experience what more we have planned for this wonderful trip. I know it won't be anything less than perfect.
Lastly but most importantly, I would really like to thank the Fastbreakers and everyone else who contributed to making this trip of a lifetime even possible. There are not enough words to express how appreciative and grateful we are to have an opportunity such as this to explore a new culture and broaden our horizons. Thank you all for your continued support to this program and giving us an adventure where we will create countless memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Go Big Red!