Valkommen to the land of ABBA!

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Jan 23, 2013

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Flag of Sweden  , Stockholm,
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Temp. -5C
Another very early rise after another sleepless night. Since leaving the ship I've had trouble sleeping. I think my body misses being rocked to sleep by the ship's movement. Anyway, had to leave super early to catch a train to Stockholm. My very last train journey for this trip. It's going to take 6hrs similar to the other train routes I've done.

7hrs later & that was an uneventful trip. No real spectacular scenery & overall an uncomfortable experience. Trains in Finland were outstanding for comfort, service, free WI-FI & the best part they seem to automatically fill up window seats first so the majority of people only sit next to another person if they want to or it's busy. This doesn't happen in Norway & Sweden. Instead I was stuck sitting next to another person & 2 people opposite me, despite the fact that most of the carriage was empty. But if you sit elsewhere the train guard, who always walks around checking tickets, makes you sit in your allocated seat again. It's not that I'm anti-people, it just means you're stuck. The worst part this time was the person next to me & directly across from me both had bad colds & kept coughing & sneezing. Aarrgghh! I've not been sick once this trip (other than a headache New Years Day & sea sickness). Sorry if I bring home the European flu :/

Now this day only got worst as I left the train station & tried to figure out where my hotel was. The person at the tourist bureau said "it's not far, just 1km". Yep, not far if your just walking, but dragging a 20kg suitcase & carrying a back pack makes it difficult. I decide to catch a taxi but I encountered the most dodgy drivers I've ever met. First they said they wouldn't drive me because it wasn't far enough & they were parked in the wrong direction. Then one said he'd do it but for a ridiculous price. I have up & walked. Pretty soon I regretted that decision. Stockholm is not a flat city, quite hilly in areas like walking to my hotel :/ also this city, unlike Helsinki & Oslo doesn't seem to scrape the streets of snow or ice. Instead they spread in the surface some type of brown substance? So not only did I have a long walk up a hill, but I had to pull my heavy suitcase through thick snow & slushy ice & try not to fall over. Not happy! By the time I found my hotel I was totally wrecked. So as soon as I checked in I had a hot shower & collapsed on the bed for a few hours. I know that sounds lame but the day had really taken it out of me. Later that afternoon, much later, I took a walk around the suburb / island I was staying. Stockholm is made up of many islands & this only is called Kungsholmen (translation Kings Home). Nearly every second thing is this city starts with Kung, which makes maps & street signs confusing.

I needed comfort to end this day. Went to a place called 'Noodle Mamma' which is advertised as healthy eating. It was, chicken, vegies in noodles & broth with spices. Sounds average, looked average, but tasted really nice, and it warmed & comforted me perfectly. The girl who served me was very nice. I asked if she spoke English & of course she did, but she did it with a funny cockney accent. I asked her if she learnt English in London, she said no but she worked there. Then she asked if I was Australian, which surprised me considering everyone I've met on this trip, including Aussies, thought I was English. She then said she worked with lots of Aussies in the UK & that she heard my accent on certain words I said. She was from Iceland but had been working in Stockholm since last year & by the sounds of it she wasn't enjoying it. She then proceeded to tell me good places to visit, places & people to avoid ie. taxi drivers. Scandinavian people, I've experienced, seem hard faced & unfriendly, but as soon as you start speaking to them they are very nice & talk forever. I think this place suits me, as they seem to be people who suss someone out first & it your genuine they'll be your best friend.
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