Introduction for all of this series of blog posts: I went to stay with Nona for a week in Stockholm. I have known her for a year now online and I have gone to quite a few shows with her before. However this time this was her showing her country and her city. These blog posts are my day to day diary of my 9 days there. I will put in a summary each day plus photos taken by us both throughout the day.
Previous post/ first post of the trip: https://thenewcarly.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/stockholm-day-1-arriving-late-tuesday-29th-wednesday-30th-may-2012/
Summary: This post is over 2 days as we did an overnight cruise. It called the ‘Cruise to no where’ because on this cruise you go to Finland but you don’t actually get off it. The concept seemed so strange to me (and it seems most people that I know in the UK when I asked around) but apparently normal to Scandinavians. The point more of their cruises is more like what we call in England a booze cruise because there is a Duty Free, and with prices like they are in Sweden it is much needed. It also has a casino, night club, restaurant, etc. Did mean that I got to try a variety of different Swedish foods that evening, which was… interesting. And I did get a free glass too.
Getting up and Swedish Breakfast
Like I have done a lot recently I woke up quite early about 8am. For 2 hours I was on my phone as Nona was asleep and I had nothing to do while I couldn’t sleep. I did fall to sleep again about 9:30 before waking up again about 11am.
At 11am we had breakfast. We had a traditional Swedish breakfast. It mainly consists of bread, cheese and patte. I first tried bread and the cheese (called prästost). Also the same with this type of bread which has the same texture as nann bread (without the spices in it) called polarkaka. Only tried this with cheese as I was going for one step at a time. I did try Kalles kaviar (basically very salty Caviar) which Nona thought it wouldn’t like. To me it was OK, was like a slightly more salty and stronger tasting version of patte.
The Breakfast that Nona put out on the coffee table
In town: Hotdogs, Off-Licences and Sushi
As the boat wasn’t until 5ish in the evening we headed towards more central Stockholm. There wasn’t a great deal to do but walked around shops and was insteresting to see the differences. We tried hotdogs, mainly because Nona called them ‘normal sausages’ and I was intregued to know what they were. They were exactly what we called Frankfurts. Also went to the Off-Licence. This is the only shop which is the only place to sell alcohol, unlike us who sell it every where from corner shops, supermarkets, etc as well as the Offy. Was strange to see the bottles lined up at the top looked different as well as bigger that ours.
Although we just had hotdogs it was mid afternoon and hadn’t had lunch. Nona took me for Sushi. I had never tried this before. Apparently I’m not so good with chop sticks and Nona laughed at me, especially when I told my food to roll over. I liked Sushi but it was a bit sickly. This too was the start of my phrase: “I’m not insane, just incapable”, as this was my reply to when Nona said I looked insane as I made a mess of using chopsticks. Was also funny when Nona ordered in Swedish then turned to me and asked me if I wanted a drink… but still in Swedish. Strangely enough I actually understood what she said.
We were a bit early for the boat but decided to head there anyway. The weather also wasn’t the best and was getting progressively worse. On the way Nona was telling me how they actually have ‘flag days’ in that they are only aloud to fly the flag on particular days of National relevence. The rest of the year they are only aloud to fly a small version which just has the colours on it.
At the train station on the way to the centre of Stockholm
The street we walked down in Stockholm
Sushi (there is a video of me trying to eat Sushi; which I will upload as soon as Nona sends me it)
Getting onto the boat:
We arrived with plenty of time to spare but checked in early anyway. Good too as the walk was a bit longer that Nona remembered. We had to wait in what felt like a departure lounge of an airport before getting on board about 5:10pm.
When we got on we headed straight to our room. I’m glad Nona knew where we were going. It all felt like a Travelodge… but smaller and on water. The room was very small but sweet. We got more settled in and got changed as it is a bit more dressy.
Although would look normal in the UK I did feel a bit over dressed and Nona kept saying I looked ‘very British’… strangely enough! lol As there was only half an hour until dinner we played Yatzi, which we bought in one of the little shops. I know it’s a common game but I had never played before. I got the hang of it in the end.
At the dock walking to the terminal
The ticket desk to check-in and the escalators to the boat (although actually taken while taken while waiting for the Taxi when we got off)
Waiting in the terminal
Leaving the main centre of Stockholm
Going past Grona Lund (the Theme Park at Stockholm, which we went to a few days later)
Going past the Old Town out of the window
A view from the window, after we left Stockholm
Another view out of the window, while playing Zatzi
When we finally could we went to dinner. It was a very strange meal and my intention was just to try as much as possible. They were split into cold dishes, hot dishes and desserts (eaten in that order). The cold dishes was mainly fish. Which to me was strange as we only really eat fish warm and cold salmon is weird. I actually liked the cold salmon, especially smoked but wasn’t as keen on the cold herring. Espeically the apple one which I still insist tastes like bananna! There was also like kind of crackers, one which translated as ‘sour bread’ and is what we call malt bread.
The main course of hot dishes was basically all meat. This is not 100% normal just because it is a buffet. There a lot of hams, ribs, etc and I recognised it a lot more although very filling and struggled though it slowly. Then there was dessert which is exactly what I was use to, lots of exotic fruits, ice cream, sweets (‘candy’), chocolate eclairs, etc.
The cold course (mainly raw fish, meats, malt bread, cold potatoes, etc)
The hot food course (lots of Swedish meetballs, sausages, meets and the sauce is Bearnaise – even if pronounced a lot different in Swedish)
Casino, drinks, dancing and a lot of talking
After dinner we went straight to the Casino. I had to remind myself of the rules of Black Jack. Nona seemed to double her money. Then they changed the deal we both went down hill from there. I lost about 80kr (approx £8/ $14) and Nona seemed to gain about 100kr (£10/ $18ish). I came in after the dealer changed. He was nice though.
What I wasn’t use to is random people do just come and chat to you out of no where. Think we had about 6 random people come up to randomly. For example one asked me where I was from in England as he actually had a friend in Bedford and thought my accent sounded similar, strange that I actually went to Uni there. This happened so many times, including one guy who said in a strong accent “oh Southampton, like the Football team”. One too was this guy from Nigeria who we tried actually losing over and over again because he was just getting annoying. We came up with a new solution, which was to talk about subjects that we knew he would not understand at all and chat among ourselves. There was also one guy too who offered to buy us a drink. We kind of turned it down but we chatted for a while and as he walked away he gave us a 500kr note! (About £50/ $90) saying that we should gamble it and tell him if we win a million… of course we didn’t, instead we got some drinks and it paid for our taxi home. Nona did waste about 10kr of it though gambling like he suggested.
We spent most of the evening/ night in nightclub or chatting in the bar. We went to bed in the end about 3:30am in the end. Most things by this point had closed or were closing soon after. We did too want to Kareoke but seemed to arrive just as it was closing. We had the perfect and very appropriate song too! And the first time I’ve seen it available on Kareoke: “Straight Up” – Paula Abdul.
I did too worry about Nona when you went to order drinks at the bar and had a mind blank on her own native language, and just ended up saying random words in English instead :))
My dancing in the night club which Nona was laughing at
Having a drink in the pub which Nona forgot how to order in Swedish
The morning on the boat:
The next morning we got up as Nona had a panic that although it was 9:30 we were now officially in Finnish time which made it 10:30 and breakfast might be closed. But luckily it wasn’t. Breakfast still feels strange to see what is provided. I also was confused by what I thought was regular scrammbled egg. Nona says they have that too but this was a slightly different version and was a lot more runny and very salty! Personally I didn’t like it. I couldn’t go wrong, keeping with things that I recognised like toast, melon, soft (or as they call it ‘loose’) boiled egg, even if it seems weird to me to have white eggs.
After checking out when the opening hours of the Duty Free (or as Nona calls it ‘The Tax Free’) we came up with a great idea how to spend the next few hours… we went back to bed lol. After getting up a few more hours later we did the Duty Free. We didn’t get too much. Nona got lots of beer because it’s cheaper here and half was to give to her friend Micke. She wasn’t sure at first as he said he didn’t want anything but then decided it’s not like it will go off and can always give it to someone seeing the price of it. In the end he texted back saying “you only bought 2 cases!?” so probably a good decision. For the last hour of the journey we sat by the window at the pub just chatting and making the most of the free Wi-Fi which is only available on one part of the boat (decks 7 & 8 at the end with the pub and restaurants).
Coke and pastry (which again Nona chose for me) at the pub – or as the Swedish call it: “fika”
Trying to get off the; the massive queue which formed in the lobby
Back on dry land:
When we finally got off which took a while we headed to the taxis. We wanted to just get home so thought although more expensive it would be quicker and drier. For some reason there is no taxi ranch only just booked taxis. Nona then tried calling (first time we used our phones as they cost a fortune on the boat). We went through so many companies. We tried the apps too. One company even called it a ‘unique’ app although we found every single company used the same one but jut in a different colour. In the end after tonnes of phone calls we finally got a taxi an hour and 10 minutes after we arrived. At least by staying inside we were able to not be as wet or cold. While waiting we sat in the terminal building and I took photos of the big model of the boat they had there.
The traffic too was dreadful. The reason Nona thinks it’s so busy this day was it’s close to ‘Upper Secondary School’ graduation and in Sweden when you graduate you celebrate in open top lorries/ vans (we would call ‘backies’ in South Africa) and drive through the centre of town.
For the evening we just watched more AI Se5 and Colly Flurrs videos while having dinner. Nona cooked something traditionally Swedish. We had like a Frankurt sausage cut with tomato in it, with slices of tomato and potatoes kind of mixed with cheese (Mum has alwasy made something similar in the UK). We finally went to bed just gone midnight.
At the dock, while Nona called one of the Taxi companies
Me with the model of the boat
Closer view of the model of the boat
The dinner Nona made when we got home
Link to the next day: Day 4 – Day at Ikea, Cinema and Doctors > https://thenewcarly.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/stockholm-day-4-a-visit-to-ikea-and-the-doctors-saturday-2nd-june-2012/