Fleeting Stockholm

Travel is a momentary exercise. One of the best elements of travel is the moments, the individual sights, sounds and smells so separate from what you perceive to be ordinary, moments that elicit reactions so unusual that they stay with you. Even the most bleak or everyday view that a million other people have seen can feel unique if it becomes your moment; everyone will have their own, and itíll seldom be the same as yours. This contributes to making travel such an electric pursuit, an addictive and sometimes expensive lifestyle, but one rich in reward. One of my moments was captured in a glance, a casual turn of the head resulting in something much more memorable.

Stockholm manages to weave together everything great about European cities. Effortlessly pristine yet unpretentious, bohemian yet so very cutting edge it has parallels with most cities but seems to be all the more individual. It just feels different. My reason for being in Sweden was celebratory, a weekend of rapture with my best friend to mark our twenty first birthdays. Feeling heavy due the endeavours of the previous night it became all too easy to get lost on the Tunnelbana, and by chance we found ourselves strolling along the banks of the Karlbergssjőn in the crisp light of an early autumn afternoon.

Ambling steadily down the motionless, photogenic riverside we approached the unmistakable white facade of Karlberg Castle, stopping intermittently to watch the passing boats and kayaks gently slice through the river. We walked on amongst browning leaves gliding to ground and as the castle stood directly opposite caught sight of a girl resting at the edge of a jetty, appearing introspective as she gazed across the body of water. Maybe it was the castle backdrop, perhaps the feeling that this person was so anonymous or just the delicacy and warmth of the view, whatever gave the image such substance didnít matter, in that fleeting, immeasurable passing of time I had a captivating, unexpected travel moment.

In its literal sense itís just a jetty, just a faceless girl swinging her legs from the edge of a jetty. To me itís serenity, an image that contrasts the stillness of its setting with the enticing sense of distance. And that feeling that the image somehow belongs to me despite being so public is why Iím taken by it, because to everybody else that day it really could have been just a girl sat on a jetty. Instead this is a vista etched to memory, this is why itís so easy to be enamoured with travel, this is it.

F Balaam

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