Stockholm – ‘swings and roundabouts’ (thanks Ruth for the term).

I originally though I would be able to write a recipe ‘For getting the best value out of a $400 AUD Scanrail pass (without resorting to cheating or lying)‘. I may have to change the name of the recipe:

  • Decide that you really, really don’t want to pay for travel.
  • Decide you want to get from Karlskrona to Copenhagen (600km west), catch a train and bus out to pick up your gear from the port, carry 100kgs of snowboard, bikes, books and clothes back to Karlskrona. Jump back on another bus/train combo (must be before 7pm), and get to Stockholm (700km north, but via some town 200km west).
  • Look up 3 or 4 different train and bus timetables.
  • Pack breakfast and lunch and set your alarm. Get up at 4am, and get to the bus station…watch jet-stream clouds do a beautiful imitation of fireworks in the sunrise.
  • Get to copenhagen, where you surprise the shipping company employees by walking out of their warehouse with the aforementioned bulk adn weight of gear.
  • Make it back to Karlskrona after a series of heavy lifts. Hoorah, unpack your stuff and rejoice.
  • BUT THEN, with your new-found optimism you head for the bus 7pm connection to stockholm with no sleeping bags, mats, cookers or tents. Then, as more and more hostels you call announce themselves to be full for the night….you realise that ‘travelling light’ may be a more appropriate for your wallet than your backpack.
  • Arrive in Stockholm at midnight! Congratulate yourself that you have just gotten nearly $1000 AUD of train riding value in one day! Unfortunately your accomodation bill for the next three nights totals nearly 20 nights worth of accom in paid campsites, or rent in your Karlskrona apartment for the better part of a month…..
  • Console yourself by absolutely gorging on the buffet breakfast included in our hotel’s price : )

As for Stockholm itself, it was a great city. And one where we felt we have many more things to do and explore for next time.

Highlights included the presence of a youth festival to add some atmosphere to the city centre, an inspiring nobel prize museum, plenty of inspiring fashion and design (on the streets and in museums), the hard-to-overrate Wasa Museum, and a very authrentic adn enjoyable open air museum.

The Wasa museum contains a massive, old, wooden sailing ship that sunk metres from its launching plae on its maiden voyage….but was resurrected, intact, 330 years later. The ship, a contemporary of the Batavia, is magnificent, and the insights into ship-building and culture at the time of construction round out a great experience.

Along similar lines, the nearby open air museum at Skansen (oldest in the world) has an excellent collection of buildings from across Sweden that are filled with multi-lingual guides knitting, baking and playing old instruments in between informing you of what life used to be like. I loved it, even the nordic animals in the zoo-like enclosures looked pretty happy!

Hoorah for Sweden!

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