Stockholm Journal – Day 1

This month I had the unexpected good fortune to receive an invitation to travel to Stockholm, Sweden. The Universe must have been listening because I’m busily researching a few Scandinavian things for a creative project and so the timing couldn’t be better. Still, I’m here first and foremost to preview a strategy game called Europa Universalis IV, a game which is intimidatingly deep and asks players to do nothing less than run an entire country (or countries) for a span of 300 years. There’s an embargo on the information about the game for a while yet, so that’s all I have to say about that–for now, anyway.

What I can talk about is my experience as a tourist in Sweden. I flew Dutch Airlines, which while not as fancy as Korean Airlines, was impressive if only because I got to fly on the biggest plane I’ve ever been on, one of those double-decker 747s. The flight was unbelievably easy (funny, considering every time I fly to New Mexico I get delayed or stuck in the airport for 4-24 hours) and I got a 30 minute look at the Netherlands while switching planes in Amsterdam. This is all I saw really, as I ran to the departure gate for my plane to Sweden: a blur of people drinking tea while sitting in giant tea cups.

The jog to catch my plane turned out to be considerably more restful than the 2 hour flight to Stockholm, thanks to these people.

I swear, these two Chatty Cathies never stopped talking the entire two hour flight. Never. EVER.

Even so, I reiterate, the flight was smooth and drama-free and I got into Stockholm at noon. Well, 3 am by my body’s clock and man, is my body telling me it’s 3 am. I took a cab to the Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and unfortunately, when I arrived at my hotel, the room still wasn’t ready. Having little choice, I dropped my luggage off with the hotel concierge and took my bleary-eyed self out into the cobblestone streets. The Old Town is both beautiful and exceedingly tourist trappy – right away I was enticed by the many ice cream and chocolate shops and nonplussed by things such as this:

There’s all kinds of kitschy gnome/troll and viking junk for sale here and I think it was some kind of holiday – or at least a game day – since the royal guards were parading around in front of the palace:

…and there were lots of these guys sitting around swilling beer. Many of them had bright red, Ronald McDonald wigs on. Well, I said I wanted Vikings – I’ve got Vikings.

I started to run out of steam walking around, as cool as the area is, so I came back to the hotel. Here I’ve encountered the tiniest room I’ve ever stayed in, even smaller than the one in Paris with the wall-mounted nightstands. My hotel is the Lord Nelson and it’s full of nautical memorabilia. What’s hilarious is that it’s totally like being on a boat, everything’s so small. I laughed when I opened the door to my room – when I lie down on the bed, my feet are nearly out in the hall.

The bathroom is even tinier – I have to wedge my knees in under the sink in order to use the toilet. Ah well – it does make brushing your teeth really convenient.

In a way, it’s kind of romantic, like I’m an urchin out of a Charles Dickens novel who’s run away to sea. I mean, how many people (on land anyway) can say their door has a port hole on it? Tonight I plan to sit in the creaky old desk chair and hunker down over the weensy little desk by the light of a flickering candle and pretend I’m Jim Hawkins.

Oh! I almost forgot – two other things I saw this afternoon before my eyes started slamming shut. First, a Hello Kitty drink that accurately reflects the state of my vision right now:

I’m debating whether or not to try since the Hello Kitty pink hot chocolate from a while back was utterly horrible. Second – I got to pose for a picture with one of the locals. I guess if he’s “Troll”, that means I’m Tomtar.

Anyway, I am completely exhausted right now. I have to take a nap or I won’t be conscious enough to eat dinner. I need to do some research and see if I can find anything in this area that isn’t designed to serve up crappy, overpriced food to unwitting tourists. (and yes, I already made a big mistake in the over-paying arena. I bought a double scoop ice cream cone and was half way through it before I realized I’d just paid $7 for it. Sigh…) I gotta find the energy to study up on my Europa Universalis IV – big day tomorrow!

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

XHTML– Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>