Monday, February 21, 2011

af Chapman

In 1888 a mighty ship called the af Chapman was built in England. She journeyed all over the world carrying trade under a Scottish captain. Years later she was taken over by the Swedish Navy and in the 1930s she stopped sailing.

On February 13, 2011, Jessica and Francesca checked in at their hostel on the island Skeppsholem and were given a key card to the room B21 aboard the af Chapman. Yes, that big huge white ship in the picture was our hostel that we stayed while in Stockholm! It was so awesome! The whole time we were in Sweden we referred to our hostel as 'the ship.' When it was getting late we would say 'How bout we head back to the ship for a while?' We thought we were pretty cool. The first night we walked around I felt like a little kid exploring and playing on the boat, but it was just so cool! We also ate breakfast on the deck. The little portholes in our room gave a great view of the city, more specifically Gamla Stan (Old Town), and the Royal Palace. At night we could hear big chunks of ice banging up against the sides of our ship. The boat was also surrounded by tons of mallard ducks and swans. It was very peculiar, but very entertaining. At night the swans would bend their long necks and stick their little heads into the feathers on their back and just float around and even bump into each other while they were sleeping. We asked one of the staff members at the front desk why they didn't fly south for the winter and he just looked at us like we were speaking a different language, which to him we were, and then he just looked at us like we were stupid and said that they lived here all year long. I guess the swedish birds are a little tougher than our Michigan birds.

On our ship we stayed in a 6 bed mixed dorm and we weren't really sure what to expect. But our roommates were very cool and included two Swiss girls and a German couple. The man and woman from Germany were a little older and had been out of school for 'a while' as they said but were very friendly. It was very interesting when all six of us were in the room together because even though we were all talking nobody could understand each other because we were all speaking different languages. Of course they could all speak pretty good English so they could understand us if they wanted to but we couldn't understand them. For all we knew they could have been talking about us and we just sat there and smiled at them when they laughed.

I knew that the Europeans are very open, but I got to experience this first hand while staying aboard the ship. One night I was just sitting on my bed and I looked up and realized that the German man wasn't wearing anything except for his tiny little pair of underwear and socks. I immediately just pretended to read something until I was interrupted by the German woman who asked me what we did that day while she too was in her underwear and we continued to have a full on conversation. I was very taken back, but this was completely normal to them. Maybe they would have been more comfortable if I was in my underwear too, but I then continued to grab my pajamas and go and change in the bathroom, not quite accustomed to these European practices.


  1. Hi Jessica!!! Sounds like you're having the time of your life, and I'm so happy for you! Sweden sounds and looks fascinating. I can relate to the last paragraph of this post. Just consider it an introduction to any traveling you might do in France :). Traveling is definitely an education, isn't it? ~Madame

  2. bonjour madame! oh boy, i'm going to france this weekend, could be another interesting hostel experience! :)

    p.s. we're going to grenoble in a few weeks!

  3. Did you know there's an SCS student in Grenoble right now (you probably know her) studying in the same program I did? If you want to look her up while you're there, email me for her name & address. I'm sure she'd love to see you guys! She graduated in 2007, I think.