Sleeting in Stockholm

Hello all, well the lovely morning has turned to sleet so it is time to sort a few things out ready for the train to Oslo tomorrow morning.  The drama with finding the Swedish Tourist Federation offices disappeared when I noticed that STF ran the hostel just next door to where I am staying!  So I am all signed up, though no more enlightened as the guy serving hadn’t been out of Stockholm much.

My daily plans for sightseeing haven’t really gone to plan as the tourist industry doesn’t start until the 29th April, so the canal boat cruise was off the list and the route for the on-off bus went to the places I had already walked to.

Anyway I have had three nice long 4-5 hour walks (over lots of cobblestones) covering the islands of Gamlastan, Skeppsholmen, Djurgarden, the diplomatic precinct and parts of the shopping and business districts.  It’s a lovely little city, and very laid back – maybe this will change after April 29, but at the moment it is just a bunch of locals in the national uniform of black leg-ins running, cycling, strolling or basking in the sun.  Even though it’s only in the mid-teens it is very pleasant (at least until the sun disappears and the sleet starts falling).  It’s probably a good sign of what to expect further north – lovely while the sun is out and an order of magnitude worse than here when the storms set it.

Anyway, got a usb charger with the funny pin orientation so I am not totally reliant on my solar cells, and activated a mobile phone account that will probably cost more than the rest of the adventure.  Mind you my attempt to send a text to Rose failed (and it’s about 1am in Oz, so a bit early to call) so it may not end up costing much and I can access this blog OK.

So just planning to chill out for the rest of day and will catch up again in Oslo.

In Stockholm

Well 42 hours after boarding the airport bus in Bendigo I checked into my Stockholm apartment. The travel was long and other than being pulled aside (again) for carrying harmonicas of mass destruction all went smoothly.  Must make a note to DFAT to add a section on the problems of carrying musical instruments into secure areas.  But as occurred last time (in Kuala Lumpur), the look of puzzlement quickly turned into grins all round when I played a riff, and the X-ray operator had a good long look again – apparently they look like knives under an x-ray (must be the long reed).

Anyway I initially arrived at the apartment at 10am, knowing that it wouldn’t be available, dropped my pack off and went for a 5 hour walk around Stockholm, mainly along the river fronts (which run everywhere) and the older districts.  Can’t find a USB port on this computer so will need to load a photo at a later date, but there are some immaculate old buildings.

The rest of the city is not quite as flash-  a lot of 1970’s social housing and cheap office blocks.  A similar feel to Buenos Aires in many ways.  Just shows that rape and pillage leads to far better architectural outcomes than socialism.

I also headed to the opposite side of town to join up with the Swedish Tourist Federation only to be unable to find the place.  Having no way of finding out where they had moved to, I decided to give them a miss – I can join at any hut.  I was going to ask them a few other things, mainly about whether people would be around before the Walking Seaon commences in June, but the reality is that their answers would have made no difference anyway, it will be what it is, and I will find these things out soon enough.

So at the end of the day, the reason for me coming to Stockholm has kind of vanished, but there is a cruise around the various rivers/canals and lots of other cobble stone alleys still to wonder into.  If nothing else it is just good to stretch my legs having not walked any real distance since we got back from Nepal in January.

It’s now 17:30 (getting used to the 24 hour clock) and I will head out for another wander – if I hit the bed, I know I will be asleep in 5 minutes.

Thanks for the messages, the site is set up so I need to approve the first one (to avoid spammers), so first time around there will be a delay in them showing up.

All the Best

Stephen