There are signs and then there are signs!!! And oh Stockholm, just how many you gave me 🙂
After bidding adieu to the husband at Helsinki airport,who was jet setting back to the motherland, it was a relatively and deceptively uneventful flight into Stockholm. If you don’t factor in the screaming squirming two year old who kept me awake and alert all through the flight, that is. On arrival, I went up to a cafe to get a hot chocolate for my nine year old daughter who was cold, while the gentlemen figured out our mode of transport into the city. Now, Stockholm’s international airport is in a little town called Arlanda. Oh Arlanda, Arlanda, how unforgettable you were to become. But more on that in a second.
I pull out my first Swedish Kroner note to hand over to the cafe cashier and she gives me an odd look. “Sorry ma’am that’s old currency”!! I take the next one and the next one out and oops, all old currency. “The guy who changed it for you in India has taken you for a ride!” Those notes were apparently discontinued years ago. Sign number 1.
Well, that quickly paid for with a card, we undertook the hour long cab ride into the city with all our luggage. At the hotel check in counter, the concierge looks up concerned and says “Ma’am, I hope this isn’t the reservation you’re planning on using today, because this is for our airport hotel”. Sign number 2! Big one this time.
I think life has taught me enough times that if I want something done right, I must do it myself. Haw haw! But yet, this was one reservation made by the better half and somehow I didn’t double check it and ta da!! Guess what? It also happened to be on the day when Stockholm was having some mega convention and absolutely NO rooms were available anywhere in the city!
So while my two days of Stockholm consisted of shuttling back and forth from my sweet Arlanda, inconveniencing my dear friends by crashing their hotel room one night and generally just meandering around the streets trying to reach each other during the day, there were a few saving graces. Meeting good old family friends after twenty years, catching up with a young cousin who has beaten the odds to get to where he is today and makes me proud, my truly wonderful, concerned and protective group of friends, a fabulous ambiance and dinner at an upscale restaurant called Orangerie in the posh suburb of Sodermalm, some breathtaking views from an Archipelago cruise to Vaxholm, a peek into the Royal Palace and soaking up a lot of scenic beauty of the canals and waterways and perfectly preserved medieval architecture of Gamla Stan, the old town. Funnily enough, I ended up with some pretty cool souvenirs while trying to connect to various store’s wireless networks to reach my friends.
All in all, an adventure, which culminated with some technical goof up with my bag check in while we were leaving for Oslo, which delayed us and made us wait over and over in the same line. Finally we made a run for security, only to be stopped for a random check. Right when the flight was boarding. Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the guard swiped his magic detection wand down a stack of diapers!!
Finally got on the plane and held my breath till we were mid air to say “Adieu Stockholm, I hope we get reacquainted on better terms some day!!”
By Rohini Christopher