Stockholm Journal – Day 2

Whoa. The air here is super-dry. I wouldn’t have expected that from a city of islands surrounded by water, but so it is and my nasal passages are protesting it.

This morning Paradox Interactive sent taxis for everyone and took us to their Stockholm studios.

While waiting for my taxi, I had to smile as this 10 yr old kid walked by, talking intensely on the phone. What’s this tiny hipster doing early morning in the Gamla Stan, hissing into a cell phone and wearing orange pants? Swedish mysteries…

Another Swedish mystery – how Paradox gets any work done with the gorgeous view they have from the windows of their office high above the city.

They graciously gave us a tour of their offices and showed us the little-known passage to their branch office – “Paradox North”, otherwise known as the stairway to Valhalla.

After the office visit, we were taken to the Royal Armory for the multiplayer event. It’s hard to imagine a cooler environment to play a grand strategy game in, seriously.

We settled in around game stations, everyone assigned to a specific nation, and thus began our all day game-a-thon. What with all the smack-talking going on at the start, I figured I (as the exploratory but small country of Portugal) would be handily crushed, but the gracious ruler of neighboring Castile cut me a break. I still can’t discuss the game as yet – embargo still applies – but let’s just say it was an entertaining and illuminating day rounded out by a short tour of some of the armory’s exhibits.

The armory’s been a museum since the 1600′s – it’s a beautiful stone and brick building and it’s really amazing that what’s on show has been there so long. Especially the horse that belonged to one of the Swedish kings. I thought it was just a bit of fake taxidermy cooked up for the exhibit but no, it’s the actual horse he was riding when he was killed in battle. Guess the king’s retinue had the presence of mind hundreds of years ago, to stuff it for posterity. More impressive though than the stuffed horse, at least to me as a novice costumer, was the royal clothing on display. Beautiful silk and velvet outfits worn by the various members of the royal family that would have taken countless hours to create.

Post-history lesson, we walked to a nearby restaurant, Fem Sma Hus. I wanted to steal this door – it had to be eight inches thick – and replace the door to my apartment with it. You can’t tell by the photo, but that door handle was the size of a small cantaloupe.

The restaurant was just what I like – dark, cave-like, lots of atmosphere.

There I once again had reindeer for dinner (this time with lingonberries). I was especially taken with the gorgeous wallpaper in the restroom. Yeah, I was taking pictures in the toilet. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Tired as I was, after dinner I was talked into walking to a nearby bar and having one last drink. I really should be sociable more often because I had some great conversations with the people I’ve met at the event. Unfortunately, after three Imperial Stouts, I was pretty out of it. I made it back to my room though, and made the mistake of trying to check my email. I ended up sending a link to this silly travelogue to people I’m supposed to have a professional relationship with. Oops! Let that be a lesson to you kids – never drink and email.

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