A Travellerspoint blog

Dash to Platform 17 at Three-Quarters

Current Location: Åre, Sweden


View Trip to Åre (2009) & Trip to Stockholm (2009) on nigetv's travel map.

23:55

As early as two weeks before I left for Sweden this time was in my head as the time our train to Åre would be leaving from Stockholm on Saturday night. That day just leisurely progressed with everyone taking their time with packing, eating, and whatever else was necessary in order to get ready (myself learning some uke chords via YouTube). In the middle of my attempt to play the G7 chord, my cousin runs into the room (it was around 21:15) rather frantic and says "We're leaving now! Mamma got the time wrong and we're actually leaving at 21:55!"

It was a mad rush to finish packing immediately and within 10 minutes eight people finished packing up and two cabs were called to take us to the train station as there was no time to take the bus.

Imagine. The taxi meter said we were picked up at 21:34 and we arrived at the train station at 21:45 without tickets (we still had to pick them up) and not knowing what platform we were on. After the first two people run into the station (one to stop the train and the other to pick up the tickets) the luggage that was left (which included skis and snow boards) was split between five people as the sixth person was carrying a baby.

Once the five of us were in the lobby we received the message that the train was still at the platform (17) and that it was running late so there was no reason to have had someone even go and stop it. Now, I think you would anyone who is reading may think "alright so they ran straight to platform" ... this wasn't the case. For some reason, we all just stood there as the prospect of "5 extra minutes" somehow meant we could linger for a bit longer.

When FINALLY we mobilized around 21:52 that's when we did our version of the crazy run through the train station with luggage either in tow or on our shoulders or arms. If you've had to do such a thing before then you know how taxing such a mini-marathon can be. But this run of ours ... added stairs. This was how our course looked like: run, down two flights of stairs, run, and finally up a rather long flight of stairs.

Eventually, though we made it to the over-night train and we were able to get on as I'm in Åre now. The trek it took to just get to the train was an adventure in and of itself ... I can't wait for what's in store for the rest of the week.

Posted by nigetv 14:05 Archived in Sweden Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

Viewers Welcome - Hammarby Sjöstad

Current Location: Stockholm, Sweden


View Trip to Stockholm (2009) on nigetv's travel map.

Surprisingly (even to myself) I was able to wake up early enough today to take a walk around the neighborhood and it was pretty great. Even though it gave me a burst of "I'm not affected by jetlag" inspiration, it wasn't the case at all since right after I completely crashed into my bed and slept ... for 5 hours. I was able to see a good portion of the area.

Everything here as changed. There's been a huge explosion of new condo buildings and shops since I was last here about 5 years ago. Before I would look out the window and see cranes and the concrete skeletons of the today's buildings. The thing that hits me now though is that construction still hasn't stopped. Although they're further away, there are still cranes here today busily constructing.

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I walked through the snowy paths between the buildings and felt as though no single building here has the same design as another even if it is made by the same developer (imagine seeing a subdivision and every single house is different). I can honestly see myself living in an area like this (if only they had such areas back home) since the constructions seem modern and exciting.

I really like the feeling of open-ness and friendliness that's here in Stockholm. I feel like none of the flats I saw had legitimate blinds or curtains and people were just free to look into others' homes. Even from out of the kitchen window right now (on the 5th floor) if I look outside I can see all the living rooms and all the kitchens of the flats across the street (and they can probably see me at the same time). The one thing that strikes me about this is that it just seems like a natural thing, like you're supposed to just look at see what your neighbors are doing (even if said neighbors don't even live in your building).

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The last thing I saw before returning home was something that I wish we have back in the States. A four story glass structure right next to a street. My cousin described it as a "learning center" where children go to learn about trash and recycling (I don't remember learning anything about either in grade school other than the 3 R's for recycling). Unfortunately it was closed but inside I saw all these different contraptions and teaching boards. Outside the "house" were a ton of pictures which I assume helped to stress the teaching inside.

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Posted by nigetv 11:22 Archived in Sweden Comments (1)

Välkommen till Sverige (Welcome to Sweden)

Current Location: Stockholm, Sweden


View Trip to Stockholm (2009) on nigetv's travel map.

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Välkommen! I'm finally in Sweden after 17 hours of traveling from Chicago to Atlanta and finally to Stockholm. Despite some bouts of turbulence (more the up and down kind instead of the side-to-side one ... which is much scarier in my opinion) and interrupted sleep it was an overall pleasant trip. The major up was that I took the red-eye to Stockholm (leaving Atlanta at 7PM) which meant that the plane was not completely full and I had the chance to move about the plane to get a full aisle of leg room all to myself.

To be honest, I had expected it to be much colder in Sweden. I would say that it was roughly around 50F (which is much warmer than it was in Chicago when I left) and I was able to leave the Arlanda airport in just a thick fleece and scarf. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm staying with my family here in Stockholm and the neighborhood has change SIGNIFICANTLY since I was here last (granted of course the last time I was here was in 2003). The number of condo buildings has probably grown 10x if not more and the area is full of grocery stores, shops and restaurants ... there's even a ski slope less than 10 minutes away!

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Because of the jetlag (still feeling like I'm riding on a plane right now) I wasn't really able to explore much of the area but my goal for tomorrow is to wake up early, walk around the neighborhood, and take a light breakfast from a cafe.

I've also developed a mini-goal for this trip ...

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The UKULELE! I found one here in the flat. I've pretty much spent my day strumming the strings and making up chords that just sound good to my ear (I've never learned how to play the guitar). I started "official" lessons a few hours ago (thank you YouTube) and so far I've learned the C, D, and B chords. Hopefully I can learn a song by the time I leave? Or if not maybe come back home with my own uke.

Posted by nigetv 13:11 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Destination Frustration: the Double-Edged Airport

Current Location: Atlanta, Georgia (USA)

0 °F
View Trip to Stockholm (2009) on nigetv's travel map.

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It started at O'Hare. Lines. Kiosks. Weight limits. We've all been there and this morning I wasn't an exception to the frustration that airports can seeming muster up from thin air.

The self check-in machine. For "convenience" real people have been replaced by kiosks at seemingly all domestic airports that I've traveled through. But what happens when you can't check in because you don't input a middle name on your reservation (you can probably guess what happened to me)? I waited in a line for 30 minutes in front of four empty desks that had signs reading "counter open 4:30AM-7:00PM" (it was 8:30AM at the time) while others zipped past me and the only airline personnel present weren't even trained to use a manual check-in computer.

Strike.

To top it off after finally being called to the service desk with two bags (one at 45lbs and the other 53lbs) I was told to unlock my bag and transfer some things to my carry on luggage (instead of my checked in luggage). To be frank, it seemed a bit pointless that the 3lbs were not kept in the same bag as in the end ... the 3lbs were still on the plane.

Strike.

Finally, I arrived in Atlanta for my connection to Stockholm.

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After peacefully waiting during a four hour layover, the last 30 minutes before my flight was supposed to take off my gate was changed and no announcement was made.

Strike.

Now, I know that after reading that, it seems as though you'd expect me to hate airports but that is in fact the opposite! Despite all these inconveniences airports are actually my number 1 favorite place to be in because it gives me such a sense of freedom just being inside them. I mean think about it, you can go ANYWHERE (in the WORLD)! So, in the end, with all the excitement and the possibilities I've honestly got to say that I'm ok with some delays because even though it can be aggravating I can spend more time in a place that I love and I know for a fact that eventually I'll be elsewhere.

Posted by nigetv 05:54 Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Count Your Passport Boxes, it's Time to Head East

Current Location: Chicago, Illinois (USA)

I'm going on a trip! After years of planning (8 to be exact), countless invitations, and two previously failed attempts (in both cases I had already bought a ticket), I'm heading to Stockholm! The destination might surprise you but don't worry, I didn't just choose a random European country to buy tickets to and visit at a whim (although doing that does sound appealing and fun). I've actually got family there and since they're always coming to visit Chicago, it's more than about time they were visited.

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There's less than 12 hours before I leave the coldness that is Chicago (for what is probably colder weather in Sweden). Like many of the international trips I've taken before this one, I've had to gather up what I believe to be a necessity for the next few weeks and I've packed and unpacked only to find myself re-packing so I can stuff more things into my checked-in bag (maybe that sounds familiar to you). But the Holy Grail of all things travel (my passport) stands alone on my kitchen counter waiting to be scooped up into my arms and placed delicately in my jeans pocket where it will remain for 17 straight hours as I make my way to Stockholm via Georgia.

DISCLAIMER: The set up you see in the photo was just that, a set up. I don't normally keep my passport on a sushi boat guarded by a wooden Japanese doll and a Venetian mask. (although you've got to admit, that would be kinda cool ... but ultimately weird ... if I did that)

Ahh the passport! It's like a pass to see the world (I know ... shocking knowledge). Next to actually visiting a country (which includes its offspring: pictures, videos, and souvenirs) my passport is proof that I'm a responsible and capable individual and that I can handle the challenge (a.k.a. stress) of being away from my home country. But most of all, it's got a bunch of cool looking colored stamps with dates and names! Sorry if that statement was too light-hearted but hey, I'm sure you'd be a bit disappointed if you visit a country and was never properly stamped whether it be entering or leaving (thanks France for doing that twice lol) OR if when your passport was stamped and the stamper placed the seal over another one making both stamps illegible.

This time, on this trip, my goal is get stamped!! (as it usually is to be honest) Don't worry, I'll keep you updated ... but for now ... back to the bags because I'm on the re-packing phase and it's 1:30AM.

Posted by nigetv 01:44 Comments (0)

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