Posted by: Michelle | November 28, 2012

Taking Stock of Stockholm… Quick Observations

I’m behind in my blogging. I started my NYC saga… err, blog… a few weeks ago. And I’ll finish it. Some day soonish. Probably. Maybe. That is the hope, but we’ll see. Life has a way of… heck, who am I kidding? It’s all about a short attention span and the fact that my brain goes too fast for my fingers so I lose interest quickly. Where is that Ritalin when I need it? Some days I miss it but I refuse to use medications when I can manage my ADHD on my own. Oh, look… it still is snowing. I need to change the channel. Eight minutes left of uploading my pictures from Dubrovnik to Shutterfly (surprised that I haven’t done that yet? Well, you ought not to be!). Still need to change the channel. New tweets to read. Dang it, I forgot to send the link to the designer. That’s done. Quick search of the channels and I’m still stuck on The Family Guy. Not my kind of show but it is the only English show on in Stockholm. I’m surprised to find anything other than BBC or CNN, which is the norm. Now where was I? That’s right. Initial impressions of my first day in Stockholm. (And you no longer wonder why I am behind on my blogging…)

Stockholm has been on my bucket list for awhile. So when it came time to go back to Copenhagen for work, I immediately thought of flying north for a few days to check it out for myself. Naturally, I wasn’t overjoyed at the thought of being here during the winter months but decided it would be part of the adventure. I am not a winter person; my preference is temps somewhere north of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. And snow, forget about it! I like it on postcards and that’s about it. My days of skiing have long since past (too many injuries).

I landed at 3:30 PM last evening. And I say evening because it was dark… as in “night” time dark. It took some time to get to the hotel so I had a brief venture out only because my stomach was growling. After another night of restless sleep (oxymoron, I know), I woke up late (8 AM, when the sun is starting to come out) so I knew I had to hustle and get outdoors in the few hours of light one is afforded this far north.

(Disclaimer: please note, that my “quick” observations doesn’t mean “short.”)

It was raining as promised (which was a bummer because before I left, the original forecast was for partly sunny and low to mid 40’s which sounded reasonable to me. It’s too bad you can’t hold the weather people accountable when they flub it up.). Any who…

I proceed outside, umbrella in hand. As I rounded the corner, it immediately went all “Linda Blair” on me (Exorcist reference). Great. With my head down, I held on to one side as the other one flapped in the wind, banging against the side of my head making sure I was soaked on that particular side. Surely, I’ll pass a story quickly where I can replace it. So one would think. First of all, most stores weren’t open. Second of all, not likely the wedding shops, hardware stores, book stores, pubs and cafes would likely be selling any kind of rain gear. It dawned on me about 15 minutes into my walk, that while looking downward, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going, let along where I had been. This will make the day interesting but how lost can a person get? I’m not sure but I can answer how wet can a person get with a broken down umbrella in the wind. The answer is very, very wet.

I eventually ducked into an Espresso House (yes, I cheated on Starbucks… sorta, because there isn’t a Starbucks in Sweden except at the airport so one has to make due, sorta like a bird in the hand. Do not judge!). As I sat shivering, trying to warm up with a latte, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. This isn’t my usual style. I typically am very thoughtful when planning a trip and packing but this time, I didn’t think things through (again I was distracted by work, Thanksgiving and other things). I brought the wrong coat, wrong shoes, wrong gloves, cheap umbrella and forgot my bag I use to when I travel internationally because of the crap I need to carry with me. After mustering up some courage, I eventually went back outside and found a nearby mall which had a much needed umbrella. I did not go cheap this time and was assured this one could go upside down, backwards and still work. So far, so good.

Next on the list: gloves. I found some really cool ones that are warm but have all fingers sticking out, making it easy to use my iPhone. Check.

Then there was the coat issue. Did I really want to buy a coat? I mean, they can be expensive but the one I brought was too thin and definitely not waterproof. I went in and out of stores, hemming and hawing. I realized if I was going to enjoy this trip, I didn’t have much of a choice. It was coming down hard and it wasn’t going to stop. All the Swedish people where running around in nice, big, thick coats and I was green with envy. I managed to find a reasonably priced down coat, that was not only waterproof but went down to my knees. And let me tell you, I now know what they mean when they say it is the bees knees! Merry Christmas and happy birthday to me. The rest of the day was definitely better and infinitely warmer and dryer.

From what I could see from under my umbrella, Stockholm is amazing and very pretty. Reminds me a lot of Prague, with a lot of interesting architecture. Even better, the city is decked out for Christmas with lots of trees, lights and other decorations. I took some photos but was challenged in the rain with the wind and trying to hold up an umbrella. Hoping the weather clears up on Friday as promised so I can get some good pictures.

So far…

  • It is easy to get around on foot (I didn’t get lost or turned around once)
  • There is more water and more hills than I expected
  • There are less bikes than I anticipated
  • People are very friendly and polite (hold the doors open, etc.)
  • Cars will stop so you can cross the street (this doesn’t occur very often in most countries)
  • They like their coffee (as do I)
  • Most Swedes really are tall and good looking
  • The children I’ve seen are very well behaved and oh so cute in their snow suits
  • There is a 7-11 approximately every 500 feet

My view from under the umbrella

Alas, the rain has turned to snow as predicted. Hoping for a better photo opp day tomorrow but will spend some time in a few museums, leaving Gamla Stand (Old Town) for Friday. But so far, I really love what I see despite what mother nature has rained down upon me. Get it? Rained as is reigned? Okay, maybe not.

Final side note: You all should be impressed! Except for some minor distractions, I pretty much sat down and typed this  in one sitting. A new record!


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