Ok. It only took me half a day of real time (or one full day of calendar time) but I finally made it to Stockholm. It's wonderful here.
Sorry in advance if this blog post (and subsequent posts) are off-format. The ipad presents some challenges to blogging that I'm trying to work around. Please bear with me.
Yeah, so here I am. It's almost 10pm and it's 7pm light out. Very confusing!
So far, I have a few observations:
1. Everyone here speaks English. This is enormously helpful since I did a crappy job preparing for this trip and therefore learned basically no Swedish prior to arrival. I am a bad American tourist. This impression was not helped by my walking around in airplane clothes all day, i.e. yoga pants and a tshirt.
2. The Swedes love their coffee. This was also enormously helpful as when I arrived at my hotel at 9am after not sleeping on my flight here, I discovered my room was not yet available. Without the mid-morning latte I procured, I would surely be passed out on the street somewhere in the vicinity of the Kungliga Slottet.
3. I'm typing this from the hotel bar. The dj of the hotel bar playlist seems to have a strong affinity for the Jackson 5. Rockin' robin, tweet, tweedly-deet. Also, the Swedes seem to be very into American pop music. I heard Carly Rae Jepsen no fewer than three times in various stores today.
I know I had more observations in my six hours of walking around aimlessly and half-delirious before my hotel room was ready to accept me but of course, I didn't write them down which means they have now departed my jet-lagged brain. So here are a few pictures.
Luckily, it's hard to get lost here, even though I did several times. It's such a small city, though, that getting lost just meant I wandered upon things I wanted to see anyway. So that was kind of awesome.
First, the lovely bellman who stored my luggage suggested I walk across the bridge in front of the hotel to visit the old town, Gamla Stan. I think he suggested this because he knew I could find caffeine there and also because it is a small island that is hard for jetlagged visitors to get lost on. He was right on both counts.
I serendipitously happened upon the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.
I also saw this awesome sign.
I then wandered around somewhat aimlessly but managed, by the grace of God, to come across the Ostermalm food hall right about at lunchtime. I had wanted to visit there anyway as of course I love nothing more than local grocery stores and food halls. I spent at least an hour wandering around in there (p.s. it's not that big). One of the highlights was the presence of Stubb's BBQ sauce and dry rub. Good job, Stubbs! Way to get distribution.
It was a much prettier day than this pic would have you believe. Partly cloudy and about 70 degrees, despite this one rainy-looking gray moment. Works for me.
After great fatigue-fueled indecision, I picked up some items and had myself a little a picnic lunch in the square right outside the food hall.
This was awesome. Please note, from 6 o'clock, moving clockwise:
Teeny tiny Scandinavian shrimp. I ate them plain with a fork. They were freaking delicious. So sweet!
Coca-Cola Light. Still desperate for caffeine at this point. (Honestly, why can't they distribute this stuff in America? It's so much better.)
Swedish Cheese. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Västerbotten_cheese.
The guy behind the counter assured me it was the MOST Swedish of cheeses. (Like I needed to be sold on cheese. Silly man!) Despite the tiny holes, it tastes a lot like a slightly sharper Parrano, if you are familiar with that. Or like a cross between gouda and parm, if you're not.
Brown bread. OMG, you guys. There is a bakery in this food hall that sells gluten-free crackers and brown bread! I'm in heaven!
Seriously. Heaven. I don't know who Friends of Adam is, but today at about 12:15pm, they were my hero. I bought two packets of crackers and the very dense loaf of bread, of which I ate about 1/4 inch. To call this stuff hearty does it a serious disservice.
Then I wandered around a lot until I couldn't take it anymore and found my way back to the hotel where they finally had my room ready. Upon arriving in my room I discovered two things:
1. There's a lot of teak in the room. Floors, door jambs, etc. Quite lovely but also gives the impression one is staying in a cruise ship.
2. The hotel staff gave me a welcome treat of four chocolate truffles. Cute.
I ate two truffles and passed out for a solid 2.5 hour nap.
I think I may have taken more pictures on my camera that may be worth sharing, but I left both the camera and the adapter up in my hotel room so you'll just have to wait for those since this hotel bar is getting crowded and I don't want to pack up and lose my seat! In the meantime, though, I'd like to show you my mobile blogging setup:
This is so meta.
It's 10:33. Still not dark out.
This is crazy!