Sweden in Shadow

Posted: Oct 24, 2003 11:04:07 PM

I think I shall stop taking those accommodation risks now. For the first half of this trip I have made a point of turning up to various places at some ridiculous hour with no place to sleep arranged beforehand. And up until recently, it has worked. I turned up to Ankara at midnight, and found a place without difficulty (although with some help: see 'Ankara by Midnight' for details). I arrived at Valletta in Malta at midnight, and again the accommodation was easily arranged. Edinburgh was the same; I found my way from the airport to a comfortable bed in no time. But now, I must rethink this strategy. Stockholm is not so easy.

But I get ahead of myself: spent an excellent last day in London, mostly sitting in the House of Commons and listening to the MPs complaining about the transportation woes of the island (woes which, incidentally, I have seen almost nothing: trains in England were dependable and quick). An early flight to Copenhagen; once again contrary to warnings and expectations I found Heathrow easy to navigate and efficient. Maybe I'm just having a lucky time of things.


Copenhagen - well, there's a mix. I met some very friendly and helpful locals, and I met some very pedantic and petty individuals, but thankfully I know enough not to judge any country based on a few encounters. The museums were certainly fascinating: rows of guns, some from as long ago as the late 16th century, amidst lines and lines of cannons, sabres, armour, and Russian Imperial regalia at the Royal Arsenal Museum; a cluster of raised Viking ships on display in Roskilde. Had a wander around Christiansborg Palace and its spiritual antithesis, anarchic Christiania (a commune in central Copenhagen with a very obvious drug culture: there's a very good reason you are not allowed to take photos of Pusher Street), ate a Danish (locally called Wienerbrot), and decided that it was time to move on.

A late train to Stockholm, where I naturally assumed that the local superfluity of hostels would make finding accommodation easy. And it's not like I was arriving at midnight: eight in the evening should have been plenty of time.

But it was, in fact, not. There must be an event going on here that I don't know about, because every single hostel is completely full. Not just tonight, but tomorrow night as well. And this being Sweden, the hotels are just too expensive for me to consider taking that option. What's the third path? Something crazy. I am not going to sleep tonight; I will sit in this Internet Cafe until it closes (at 3am), then wander around until dawn. I will see as much of Stockholm as I can for the first half of the day, then I'll leave for (probably) Oslo, making sure to book ahead this time.

I'm not too concerned about missing things, because I was never intending to explore Scandinavia at length anyway; this is something of a detour. I felt like seeing a little more of the north than that in my original plan. And, thanks to the wonderful hostels of Stockholm, I'll at least get to see quite a bit of the streets at night.


Banjo   Oct 25, 2003 12:21:36 AM

the first comment belongs to me! hahahahahaha! ironically, I find myself with nothing to say.

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:22:21 AM

On other boards admins delete that kind of posts...

Damon   Oct 25, 2003 12:23:57 AM

I think you punish her more by leaving it up *grin*

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:24:26 AM

I'm not sure anything can harm that girl....

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:25:20 AM

Btw, I guess I'm the only person on this board that could actually *edit* posts.


Banjo   Oct 25, 2003 12:31:33 AM

Delete it! I dare you!

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:33:08 AM

Want it back?

Damon   Oct 25, 2003 12:34:35 AM

Urm, I'd rather you didn't fiddle with the comments, actually. And stop spamming the boards, you kids!

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:36:48 AM

Nice report damon.
And another adventure of course.
Not that I want to take your place. Really.

Damon   Oct 25, 2003 12:37:34 AM

You sure? It's not *that* cold, honest. It's above 0 celsius. Just.

Peter   Oct 25, 2003 12:40:24 AM

Be glad you're not in Austria... it's below 0°C already tonight, and bound to get colder still (they promised -7°C, but I don't think it's going to be quite that bad...)

And yes, it's supposed to be much warmer here, than in Stockholm... Someone go and tell the weather...

Banjo   Oct 25, 2003 12:40:49 AM


Charlotte   Oct 25, 2003 1:12:15 AM

I hope you're wandering around the safer areas of town! It wouldn't be nice to hear you'd been beaten up or mugged by the local Swedish nightlife.

Damon   Oct 25, 2003 1:16:49 AM

I'll keep to the well-lit central areas. It'll be fun. Hmmm... I wonder when sunrise is.

Charlotte   Oct 25, 2003 1:46:28 AM

Perhaps you should be perfecting your Macho, I'm Tough, Don't Mess with Me look, just in case.

Damon   Oct 25, 2003 3:17:50 PM

An update: survived the night fine (the drunks with harmonicas knew Lily the Pink!), and have had a great day wandering around Stockholm. Going to Oslo this evening, and yes I have accommodation organised already.

Charlotte   Oct 25, 2003 3:56:23 PM

Did you sing along? Now there's a giggle!

fraZ   Oct 26, 2003 9:19:52 AM

nice, 'siska moved out today' mum is sad.

Sahi   Oct 26, 2003 5:07:57 PM

Since Aan is still in NO, I'll take up his line for him: You did visit the SF Bokhandeln didn't you? Aan was very dismayed by the fact that I hadn't found the top floor.

Damon   Oct 26, 2003 6:18:43 PM

I'm sorry to say that I don't even know what that is, so the chances I visited it are slim.

Fraz: pass on my congratulations!

Nick   Oct 26, 2003 9:07:07 PM

A night among the wildlife, musically inclind or not, what fun. No local constabulary to hustle you along ?.

(have packed our dictionaries, spelling in default mode.)

fraZ   Oct 27, 2003 8:07:36 AM

made a niec dinner , mum still sad. mo still Smelly,all is well...........or is it?

footle   Oct 27, 2003 10:51:11 AM

UK Transport and Trains.
90% of media articles on said subject are written by people who either:
(i) Don't use them.
(ii) Only commute into London on the train. This can be horrific - too many people.
MPs have to debate what the media tells them to :)

Heathrow is fine, as long as you get the terminal right; and you're not driving in. It's a horrendous mess of roads, and at the moment, with all the building work for Terminal Five, half the roads seem to change course daily. :)

Damon   Oct 27, 2003 3:55:51 PM

Well, I commuted into London on the train, and had no problems, but just for fun I listened to the House of Commons complain about transportation for a while - and I'm quite sure that they don't take the Tube, so your assessment is perfectly accurate.

Btw, on the boat from Oslo to Copenhagen in a little over an hour. Toodles!

Claudia   Oct 27, 2003 11:44:28 PM

I remember when it was all the building work for Terminal 4...

They will have built on all the runways soon, and then they'll realise their mistake.

Sahi   Oct 28, 2003 12:02:23 PM

The SF Bokhandeln is a great SciFi bookstore, in the old heart of Stockholm. They have some great books there. I was there a couple of weeks ago and was tempted to buy one of Tad's books in Swedish. (They also have lots and lots of books in English of course.)

Damon   Oct 28, 2003 12:31:28 PM

Speaking of which, does Aan know that there's a first edition Tor copy - in English - of 'Eye of the World' in Oslo for only 300 Norwegian Kroner?

footle   Oct 28, 2003 2:35:15 PM

That's quite cheap. Probably. If you can stand Jordan anymore...

lian   Oct 28, 2003 9:40:46 PM

oslo, aha. Wasn't that like, *the* European rock city lie -- umm -- two years ago? oh yes stories of flaming Oslo concerts. Maybe I'm just making that up, I'm not sure. Something in me doubts that you were to any rock concerts on Oslo. Pity, though...I would have loved to take you to a german rock concert, yeah really, there's genuinely good music out there in Germany. Take 'Blackmail', they had a tremendous concert in Halle and will play in Leipzig later that month. Hmph. No chance for me to drag you there, again: pity.

David   Oct 28, 2003 10:32:46 PM

So, in Denmark, a Danish is called 'Vienese Bread'?

Is any food product actually from the place it's attributed to?!

Damon   Oct 29, 2003 3:32:49 AM

*grin* I doubt it. Are kiwifruit actually from New Zealand? At least we still call them kiwis.

Lian, as much as I'd love to go to a German rock concert (honestly I would) and I'd enjoy dropping down to Leipzig (we'll see how things go timewise), I did not go to any concerts in Oslo. Sorry.

Btw, seventy days on the road now!

lian   Oct 29, 2003 10:59:47 PM

hey, the German pressure group already succeeded in making you crash in our Gloriuosly Bankrupt Capital for more than two days ^_^ So don't you go about justifying yourself for not attending rock concerts with wacky stalker girls ;P
Hope you get used to German keyboards (I never have -- "they call me the typo queen, dudumm, dudumm") or else it'll be a quite typographically interesting next report...

Peter   Oct 30, 2003 12:08:13 AM

I could reverse all z's and y's in the report, if worst comes to worst.... ;)

Sahi   Oct 30, 2003 11:46:42 AM

Creating typo's for the rare cases in which he gets it right... ;p

You might also try a report without y's and z's. :)

Peter   Oct 30, 2003 8:47:44 PM

Don't suggest that kind of thing to Damon. It's going to get us all into trouble...

Charlotte   Oct 31, 2003 12:00:50 AM

*counts on fingers* Hmm, six days. Repoorto-o kaite-kudasai.

Peter   Oct 31, 2003 1:42:10 PM

Yeah, and that even though he's in Germany where there should be plenty of net access to be had...

Probably wasting his time doing stuff, looking at stuff and enjoying himself. Evil. Pure evil.

Damon   Nov 1, 2003 10:36:14 PM

Okay, new report coming up. Btw, Peter, what are you doing next week?

Peter   Nov 2, 2003 2:27:04 PM

No special plans for next week Damon, so I should definitly have time. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to time planning, so just go ahead and choose a time.

It would also be interesting to know at which train station you can/will arrive. Since you're comming from Prague, I have no idea which one's will be available.

Hütteldorf would be perfect, as it's just 15min from home and I can go there by car. It shouldn't be difficult to get to Hütteldorf from any of the other stations though, as the U4 (underground line) has a station in Hütteldorf as well.

Damon   Nov 2, 2003 6:34:08 PM

Sweet, I shall aim for Hütteldorf. What I will probably do is wander around Prague tomorrow and Tuesday, and then catch an early train on Wednesday for Vienna, most likely arriving mid afternoon or thereabouts. I will update you from a 'net cafe in Prague.

Peter   Nov 3, 2003 8:49:47 AM

Ok, asked someone not as clueless as me about where trains from Prague arrive, and you'll probably end up at the Franz Josef's Bahnhof.

Unless you arrive at 6 in the morning or something, I'll probably catch you at Franz Josef's Bahnhof. The online information of the local public transport system, says it's not too difficult to get there, so I'll go out on a limb and believe it ;) (car stays in Hütteldorf... not going to drive there, really...)

Damon   Nov 3, 2003 9:24:36 PM

I have my ticket, but it's an open-ended one so I can't say exactly when I'll turn up yet. I'm leaving Prague on Wednesday at 6:56 am for Breclav, then directly on to Vienna's Suedbahnhof. Hopefully arriving about midday or early afternoon.

Peter   Nov 3, 2003 10:44:13 PM

Ok, sounds good. I'll try not to sleep too late. I'll mail you some phone numbers, just in case you don't manage to post a more accurate time til then.

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