Stockholm Trip The First
So the past week I’ve been in Sweden, mainly Stockholm. I have been on buses and such passing through Sweden before, but even though it’s my neighbouring country it’s the first time I’ve driven there myself, or even gone with the intent of actually visiting. It was certainly an experience.
I went there with my nephew who is 7 years younger than me, so we’ve been a bit more like brothers I guess. I will do a fairly quick recap of what we did on the various days with some of my impressions of this strange and alien country we visited.
To just read about the concert, click here.
The first day (Thursday) was just driving. Crossing the border was a little surreal because suddenly all the asphalt was red. This seemed to be a remnant from older days, because it all turned black/grey as soon as we got to newer roads. Our initial impressions were that the roads were more desolate than in Norway. Since Sweden has nearly twice the inhabitants, I’m guessing the population is more centralised than back in our weird little country. Though we also crossed over at a backwoods area, which probably affected things. We did come across several small settlements that seemed entirely lacking in any sorts of stores or petrol stations. Nearly ran out of fuel, though we just managed to reach the first small town which thankfully had a Shell station. As a side note: Swedish radio is quite good.
We got to the hotel (Hotell Dialog) out in Kungens Kurva (20 mins southwest of Stockholm) late in the evening, and basically just checked in and crashed. Without the GPS we never would have made it, I’m sure. Though it actually tried to lead us astray, but the success was minimal.
Next morning we checked out the nearest mall, called Heron City, and I was quite surprised to find a food court much like what I saw when I went to the US. Not seen those anywhere else in Europe. I wonder if Sweden is unique, or I’ve just not been enough places yet? So yeah, that was our breakfast place before we did some shopping and then headed to Ikea, which claimed to be the largest in the world. Or at least, that it had the largest warehouse space. The design of the place was interesting, with all the circles and how they descended down the floors.
And then we found another mall, next to a Toys’R’Us and a huge electronics store with a whole floor dedicated to gaming and DVDs/Blurays. There I noticed that their PS Vita shelf had about 10 games on it. Nick Gumballs told me those are all that exist. Wasn’t this thing released last year? In the Toys’R’US I found a lego Optimus Prime! Naturally bought it. Found out after it couldn’t actually transform, just be rebuilt between truck and robot form. Somewhat disappointed. And it wasn’t actually Lego, but something called Kre-O, which seems to be something Hasbro themselves put together to look almost the same. Which makes it all the more puzzling that they couldn’t make it transform.
The wheels are actually the worst part because they’re pretty stuck on their pegs, and have to be separated for the legs. I just can’t understand why it doesn’t just transform, but I’ll give them some credit (and chiding) for making it look like it should be able to.
On Saturday we finally saw the end of the rain that started plaguing us right before we reached Stockholm, so we took the subway into the centre of the city to explore. We walked around Gamla Stan (Old Town), ate some terrific steak (you should look up Jensens Bøfhus if you ever go to Stockholm), found a strange little comic shop and generally just explored a bit.
Sunday was our lazy day where we basically just played 3DS and watched Youtube vids on the smartphones.
Monday was the day of the concert, so we took the subway in early and explored more of the city centre. Most of our time was spent in Science Fiction Bokhandeln (The Science Fiction Book Store), which is the ultimate nerd store in Stockholm as far as I know. I came this close to buying a talking plush Dalek. Still regretting that I let myself be talked out of it. Got a new Vampire Hunter D novel (I’m on volume 14 now) and a few DVDs instead.
If you want to read about the concert, I made that its own post, for those that don’t care about the fluff.
On Tuesday morning we started the drive to Oslo, and stopped before the border for some cheap shopping. Then we moved on to my sister’s new place where we spent the night, before we drove back here today (Wednesday).
Sweden is similar to Norway in many ways. The people are much the same, the stores are too, though the grocery stores and supermarkets are a bit larger. The architecture doesn’t have any huge differences either, nor does the climate or the nature (the terrain is more flat which is the major thing). There were however a few things I did notice.
I’ve heard Americans coming here say they think Norway have a lot of roundabouts, and I suppose we do. Sweden have severely outdone us, though. Their goal seems to be ALL the roundabouts. Big bastards too. They don’t mess around.
I did mention the more centralised living, which means that long drives can get frightfully dull as all you see are trees and maybe some power lines between the larger settlements.
And I am a big fan of chocolate milk, so I of course had to try every type I could find. I was kinda let down. The Cocio Pucko stuff was alright, but the rest was kinda rubbish. Not so bad it was completely undrinkable, but I didn’t have any luck. Might have been types I missed, of course. Though in both Barcelona and London I was lucky with my first attempt. Here I only found one I’d buy again out of five different ones I tried.
The Swedish language is also similar to Norwegian in many ways, but there are also a lot of differences. I had a little language nerd squee every time I saw a new word that matched up with my own dialect, especially if it didn’t match with official Norwegian. I’ve had this theory for years that my dialect is closer to Swedish than Norwegian in certain respects.
I would also like to add that Stockholm is indeed a beautiful city. I enjoyed my time there, and would like to go back sometime on a less spontaneous and more researched trip.