Stockholm and free internet (2005-03-25 - 12:22 a.m.)
Ha ha, I was right the first time! Next post (ie this post) is from Sweden! Turns out they have free internet at this hostel. Sweet, man! But this Swedish keyboard sure is weird. öäöå§¤½
So yeah, made it to Stockholm, amazingly. Seriously, I sometimes wonder how I have managed to make it this far without someone keeping an eye on me. I left work at ten to two, as agreed with Alex last week - except he´s not in today and Ricky told me I had to find someone to cover me! Out of the three people that were actually at work today. Gah. Happily, I did get Donna from accounts to help out, so that was okay.
So I got to the bus station with plenty of time to spare - but there was no bus at Stand 9, where the Glasgow bus was supposed to be. There WAS a bus at Stand 11, but it said Edinburgh. So I bought a trashy magazine and then with five minutes to spare went to ask the info desk if that was the right bus. "Oh yes," he said, "The 2:10 bus to Glasgow - that´s it just pulling out!" And sure enough, there it went, from Stand 11. You can imagine my feelings. There was some swearing in French, let me tell you. Anyway, the next bus was due in 15 min so I decided to suck it up, catch the next bus and hope to heck I still made the train to the airport in time for checkin.
Long story short, the bus was running late, and despite running through Glasgow dragging my luggage I missed the train by ten minutes. Ended up taking the next train, at 4:30, and stressing the whole way about making check in for a 6:10 flight (it´s a 45 to 50 min train ride).
I did make the check in desk with five minutes to spare before they closed. And then I went completely brain-dead - I´m blaming stress and exhaustion, but it may be early-onset senility. I checked my bag and then FORGOT I CHECKED MY BAG (I know, I know), because often when I´m travelling this light I just will bring it as carry-on. So I freaked out, thinking I´d left it somewhere, when clearly where I had left it was the check-in. I still don´t quite know how I managed this. I went so far as to leave my name with security before thinking, "hold on... didn´t I check that?"
But I did make the flight, luggage and all, and sat next to a friendly Swedish girl and Aussie guy on the 2-hour trip. The Aussie is staying in Edinburgh and we may meet up.
My first impression of Sweden - snow! It looks like home! (Kind of, if you squint). Second impression: good lord, they have a lot of McDonalds. I counted at least 10 just coming in from the airport, and I passed another few on the way to the hostel. I also saw a giant IKEA as we came in (no surprise there) and bought some stuff from a friendly English-speaker at a 7-11. Including some amazing chocolate-covered biscuits and a delicious blueberry smoothie of some kind. Too bad I´ll never remember the Swedish names to find them again.
With the help of my rudimentary map I found the hostel okay, and it is a really good one. I´m hoping to hook up with Shannon tomorrow at Västerås, but we shall see - I haven´t heard from her. In the meantime, bedtime. Looking very much forward to exploring Stockholm and whatever else I come across. It feels more Canadian than anywhere I´ve been recently, right down to people waiting at traffic lights rather than dodging across the street. Should be interesting.
Ooh, and just as I´ve heard, Swedish has similarities to Dutch. I was happy to note that some of the words are quite similar, and I have been able to apply my very rudimentary Dutch to street signs.
Ps. Hi Grand, if you read this! Got your text!
PPS: My brother says:
be careful in Sweden. don't let them anywhere near your wallet. THey will take all your money, and tell you it is for your own good. Then they will spend it on someone else's child care.
Thanks for that.
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