Stockholm Stad

September 28, 2015

I wasn’t able to write my weekly update yesterday, partly because I felt under the weather, but also because I didn’t have a proper internet connection. I’ve spent the weekend in Stockholm, and my plane back arrived at 23:35, so I really wanted to get home and sleep before my cold would break out.

But as the saying goes: “Better late than never”.

So yeah, I spent the weekend in Stockholm. I left work earlier than usual on Friday, jumped on a plane and 40 minutes later I was at Arlanda, waiting on the Arlanda Express train. This was the first time that I’ve been in Stockholm since I moved, which is a bit over 6 months ago.

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Anyway, the plane was scheduled to depart at 16:00, and boarding a half hour earlier. Paulina and I left the apartment at 13:30, in a rush, and as we were sitting on the bus, Paulina checked Finavia, where they had announced that the airport was going to get really busy, and that people should come in early in order to not miss their flights.

We had initially planned on taking the Kehärata (the new train that I’ve talked about in previous posts), but after reading the announcement, we decided to play it safe and took a taxi instead.

When we got to the airport the security gate was completely empty, we just walked through it like nothing, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever gone through security that fast.

helsinki_vanta_ariport

We sat at the gate for two hours, the boarding time came, and went, finally at 16:20 we were able to board.

I’ve always preferred seat 31F (that would be as far back as you can get) on Boeing 737’s, since most of the time, 737’s are boarded from the back and front, and since people tend to prefer the front, you usually get to your seat a lot faster if you go through the back door, and added bonus, you’ll be the first off the plane as well.

norwegian-air-beoing-737-isle

Lately I’ve decided to change the 31F seat for either 31C or 31D, because it’s an isle seat, which gives you more leg room.

But hands down the biggest reason why you want to get the back seats is because, as stated earlier, people tend to either sit in the middle of the plane, or up front, which means, if the plane isn’t fully booked, you’ll end up with empty seats around you.

On our flight out of Helsinki, I had the whole row for myself, which was really nice.

norwegian-air-737-800

When we got out of the terminal at Arlanda, the familiar smell of Sweden swept over me, I can’t describe the smell, but if you ever find yourself in Arlanda, take a short moment at the luggage drop and you’ll know what I mean. For me, I instantly get reminded about the feeling I had when I first moved to Stockholm, a mix of excitement and adventure.

When we stepped out of Arlanda Express at the central station, I was already running late. We quickly walked to the nearest Pressbyrån (a seven-eleven of sorts), and refilled both my Swedish mobile phone and my old SL Commuter card. After that was taken care of, Paulina and I basically ran to the hotel.

I had wanted to live at Scandic Malmen, which is a hotel located smack in the middle of Södermalm, just by Medborgarplatsen, but we weren’t able to book the hotel before Paulina had gotten her work schedule, and when we finally knew that the weekend was free, Malmen was fully booked.

We ended up with Scandic Norra Bantorget, which is at the end of Drottninggatan, if you’re a tourist, this is probably one of the best situated hotels with a relatively cheap price tag. The receptionist was really nice, and we got our keys in probably less than three minutes.

I went to our room, emptied out my bag, everything except my camera, and off I went to meet my Stockholm family. After pushing through a large crowd off people (Friday afternoon at Sergelstorg; guaranteed chaos) I jumped on the red line (which was my old line), and when the announcer said “T14 till Fruängen” (Line T14 to Fruängen), I couldn’t help but smile. I was probably the only guy on the train smiling during rush hour.

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A bit late, I finally caught up with all my friends. After multiple hugs, we went out to find a restaurant, which can be pretty difficult since we were a crowd of eleven people, and no booked table. But luckily we were able to get a table at Bishop Arms on Södermalm.

After eating, we went out bar jumping, and the evening gets a bit diffuse, but I got to the hotel safely at around 1 AM. Paulina was already fast a sleep.

nybrokaj-sthlm

Early Saturday morning, woke up with a migraine. Walked down Drottninggatan at 7 AM, this street is usually cramped with people, but this early in the morning, there were only a couple of other people — mostly cleaners though. The sun was shining and it was eerily calm.

I found a 24/7 pharmacy and got some medicine. I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to get rid of the pain, because Johan, Kim, Calle and I were going on a brunch boat at noon, and I’d hate to sit on a boat with a headache.

ss_stockholm_ferry_berth

Luckily my hungover:ness disappeared, and I was able to meet up with the guys at Nybrokajen, where the boat was departing.

The boat, S/S Stockholm, is mostly famous for taking Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill from their wedding ceremony at the Royal Chapel to the wedding party at the Drottningholm Palace.

The trip took three hours, and we sailed out to Vaxholm’s fortress and back, the food was really good, and the dessert was even better. The one thing I’d like to complain about was the air, it got really warm inside the boat, and they didn’t open any windows to let some fresh air in. I actually started to feel a bit sick because the air was getting really bad.

I’m going to guess that it was here that I picked up my flu, a small warm room, full of people, and a buffet, during the flu season.

ss_stockholm_ferry

Anyway, as we sat at the table we started talking about the boat, because I recollected that it had, sometime in the past, been used as a ferry between Finland and Sweden. But we all agreed that it’s a bit too small for getting over the baltic sea — or rather — I’d never step my foot on the boat if I knew it was going to sail out in to the open water.

When the boat arrived back at Nybrokajen, we noticed that they had this small display at the exit about the boat’s history, and apparently it used to be known as Korsholm III (Korsholm is a neighboring municipality to Vaasa), and sailed between Vaasa and Umeå back in the days.

pancake-and-milk

Johan had to leave after the boat trip, but me, Kim and Calle went to Södermalm and just walked around. When the sun had settled we found ourselves in Hornstull, specifically at Bio Rio (a cinema for mostly obscure hipster movies), which had just recently opened a small diner.

We decided that we wanted to grab something small to eat. Calle, being the grown up, got a mushroom sandwhich of some kind. Me and Kim went for pancakes, with a glass of milk.

You should’ve seen the face on the waiter when we ordered two glasses of milk, he was shocked to say the least. After waiting around for ages, watching the waiter doing everything but bringing out our food, we finally got what we had ordered.

At this point I started to feel a bit under the weather, I figured it probably was just my hangover creeping back.

We called it a night, and I went back to my hotel, at this point I felt my throat getting sore, so I went to sleep really early.

The next morning I woke up and could really feel that I had gotten the cold. I ate some breakfast, hoping that it would pass, but it didn’t. We had decided Friday that a bunch of us would meet up at Palmyra for lunch.

arstaberg-stockholm

Again, Palmyra is a restaurant that I’ve previously mentioned (like waay back). I wasn’t really sure who’d show up (except Anders, since I had talked to him earlier in the morning), but as I was sitting outside, out of nowhere, Elias showed up. We talked for a couple of minutes before deciding that it was too cold to sit outside and wait, so we went in and ordered some of the finest largest portions of kebab you can find in Stockholm.

stockholm-palmyra-kebab

Anders came in just after we had gotten our food, and we sat around for like one and a half hour just talking. After finishing up, we all left our separate ways, Elias was also a bit sick, so he went home, and Anders had some other things he needed to get done.

As I was walking to the tram, I noticed that I had gotten a text from Calle, inviting me over for some fika not to be confused with the Italian word fica.

It was a really nice way to unwind at Calle’s after an eventful weekend, I even got to play some Xbox with Calle’s son Adrian, which was awesome.

sthlm-tag-finsk
Found the tag “Finsk” in Årstaberg, which translates to “Finnish”

On our flight to Stockholm, I sat on 31D, and Paulina had booked both flights, but on the return, she had accidentally booked our seats at row 20-something, and as I explained earlier, you get a lot more benefits by sitting in the back. We were able to change the seats when we checked in, and just as before, we got our own personal rows (actually, the last three rows were completely empty on the plane).

When the plane stopped at the gate, I stood up, and was happy about being the first one to deplane. After a couple of minutes I noticed that since this was the last flight for the day, they didn’t go through the hassle of rolling out the stairs, which effectively meant, I was the last person to get out.

It seems like no strategy is completely bullet proof.

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