Stockholm – New Year 2013

I'm writing this before getting to Stockholm, to set th scene. Let me be clear now I've no preconceptions of what this place will be like. I've known no Swedish people, have never been to Scandinavia and have little images in my head to what Stockholm looks like. Also the only things I'm aware of right now that I can think of that has come from Sweden is Ikea and Abba. Places like London you have major iconic buildings that even if you'd never been you would recognise such as the houses of parliament, Sydney has the opera house, New York has the Statue of Liberty but to me I don't know what stockholm looks like.

Touching down on the cheapish Ryanair flight we were 160km from Stockholm, the airport consisted of a few small buildings and a runway where when the plane landed it did a u turn back up the way as if to say, oops wrong place better turn back.

I was that ignorant that it was a surprise to find snow on the ground, and lots of it.

So I hope I’m clear to say that this trip will be a revelation to me and I’m guaranteed to be surprised and I hope in a good way. Also don’t expect to be wowed by a dialogue of culture either, we’re staying at the Hilton which suits us down to the ground as you know what to expect with these places and taking a risk visiting a random destination, we may need something familiar to retreat to!

Switch forward a few days and we’re back home. Not entirely sure this was a resting holiday but it was good nonetheless. I have to say that Stockholm did surprise but it didn’t wow me at all. I was impressed that I didn’t have to learn their language, although this is quite ignorant of me to do so, I felt their willingness to oblige in English was too much to turn down. I mean would why would I spend time learning a new language if they know one that I know already? Maybe this is very ignorant and potentially arrogant but I feel that English was the most efficient. I guess if I were to be regular to Sweden then I may have learnt it a bit more.

Anyway, digressing here a bit. Stockholm was/ is expensive to us Brits as the exchange rate isn’t favourable and the wages in Sweden are higher so the prices reflect this. For example a £15 taxi journey from the hotel to the station may be OK but this journey took 5 minutes and could have been walked in 20mins. Also the prices of alcohol due to the large amount of tax meant our greatest pastime was expensive. Most drinks would be more than £5 and some £7 for 40cl which is less than a pint here.

I shouldn’t grumble as we were on holiday. The most enjoyable thing we did was to vist the Vasa Museum which houses a salvaged C17th warship. It sunk on its maiden voyage and only got about 1500m when it capsized due to poor design. The wreck has remained in tact and is a great exhibit.

New Year was fun, we had an awesome meal, a few drinks and then watched the fireworks from a vantage point over the bay. It seemed customary to set of your own fireworks, no matter where you were or how big of a crowd there was near. This meant lots of fireworks, going off in all directions as far as the eye could see. These were going off well before 12am! They didn’t seem to wait till midnight for some reason.

Anyway we had a great time in Stockholm. My lasting memory will probably be of the waterfront and the buildings along there. I don’t think i’ll be rushing back to Stockholm but Sweden I may visit again to see the countryside.

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