Goodbye Norway, Hello Sweden
I stayed up too late reading to calm myself from the laughter of disbelief about my suitcase issues, but I still got up, had breakfast, found a suitcase shop, bought a new Samsonite for 1700 NOK, which I think is almost $300, but it has a 10-year warranty, a combination lock (great for trains & elsewhere, unlocked for flights), plenty of zipper pockets inside, and a much more comfortable handle & vertical shape to drag around. The luggage shop girl said that Samsonite was still rated the best so a good investment..quite the expensive souvenir though! It was warm enough already by 11am that I had to change out of my jeans, and into my first skirt since Trondheim! ;)
Of course, it was so warm, the train was cooking on the trip from Oslo to Stockholm. Be careful what you wish for, eh? I'm sure glad I did change out of my jeans! I was not complaining, since if the choice is rain or too warm, I'll take the latter! But it was so warm I just kept dozing off, especially since the scenery was pretty much the same the whole trip, low hills, trees, rivers and farms. I actually took only 85 photos today, compared to well over 200 yesterday! ;) I successfully changed trains at Karlstad onto a Swedish train, which was much warmer than the Norwegian train, and my back started killing me from sitting so long. I was very glad to get off the train, then spent longer than I thought I should have asking three separate information desks about getting to Visby, ending up with no better information than I had looked up online last night... ah well, at least I know to get there 8:15am to buy my ticket!
I checked in, decided to pay extra for broadband that doesn't kick you off every 20 minutes (hard to post photos that way!), found out the ethernet cable I brought spontaneously doesn't work anymore, then set off into the night. I was starving, but I wanted to check out the Absolut Ice Bar at the Nordic Sea Hotel I had heard about, plus between my guidebook & the hotel map, it looked like there was a Hard Rock Cafe shop in the same area, and plenty of things to see on the walk. From my hotel, I walked past the spire of Klara Kyrka over to the Kulturhuset with its fountain by Sergels Torg, continued on Drottniggatan shopping street, then across the bridge and through the parliament house Riksdagshuset, then to Gamla Stan, the old town. I walked along the water where the hotel was shown in my book but no trace of it. Then I went to where the Hard Rock Cafe shop was supposed to be, but it closed and the HRC restaurant was as far north from my hotel as I was then south, so that'll be another day if I make it up there. There were so many touristy restaurants, and I didn't want British pub, Italian, etc, etc. I came across a tiny cafe saying it's been there since the 1700s, advertising Swedish meatballs, which seemed appropriate for my first night in Sweden. I was still plenty warm so I sat outside under the lighted clock tower. I can't say the food was amazing, but it was tasty and I was so hungry, plus the hard pear cider was refreshing. I had smelled the ice cream & chocolate sauce in the area when I first got there, so I had a waffle cone as I strolled more around the old town, then tried taking a timer shot back at the parliament house bridge to prove I was wearing a skirt today - not just any skirt, but a teal plaid birthday present! :)
Britta at Riksdagshuset in Stockholm
I started a new photo album since the last one was already gigantic!
Now that I'm back in my hotel wondering why I could never find it, I googled the Nordic Sea Hotel for the Absolut Ice Bar and found out it's one block away from my hotel, just not anywhere I walked! I guess there are two 26s on that map in my guidebook so I misunderstood. It's only open until midnight until the weekend, so either I'll try going on my way back from Visby tomorrow, which will be cutting it close since my bus is due in 23:45, or in the afternoon before I catch my train to met Teje. Lucky for me, I can't get to Visby any earlier than 1:30pm since the first bus to the ferry is 8:45am tomorrow. There's no way I would have been able to enjoy my day if I got up to catch a 5:45am bus anyway, but this way I don't have to feel guilty about getting more sleep! ;)
Until next time!