Got home about 12:30am this morning, so I’m a bit shattered but will relay as much as I can.
Sarah arrived on Sat morning just after 6am to pick me up for the airport. We picked up the rest of the group ( Victoria, Christine, Ann, Jackie, Sarah and me!) and trundled down to Stansted. Because we checked in the day before online (whooHoo!) we were priority boarded – I was the first one on the plane! That’s never happened to me before! :)
Much giggling and excitment during the flight (about 2.5hrs), and Ann was afraid of flying, so much teasing and picking on Ann :). Arrived in Stockholm Skavsta and immediately had problems buying a bus ticket to get to the City. Two machines were broken, and we had to search for a third. On the bus ride, a guy named Pete decided to sit in the middle of the backseat, in the middle of 6 loud happy women, and of course much teasing and picking on Pete. The hour drive into Stockholm seemed to fly by with some very pretty scenery, a few fjords and LOTS of trees!
Arrived at Central Bus station and started walking, heading up the hill. We were heading for ‘the bag man’ – a market stall Christine and Victoria remembered from their trip last March. The bag man had lots of bags, and some of them were quite nice, but I didn’t buy anything.
But I did walk past a semi-precious stone/bead/geode type shop, and in the window they had a fabulous baltic amber pendant – just over an inch long teardrop design with silver ‘veins’ leading to the pendant part – for 225 Kronor, or about £17!! You’d be paying around £60 for that in London! We kept walking for a bit, and sat in a cafe & had something to eat – all the while me thinking about that pendant. Victoria said that she remembered where it was, and that she’d be interested in going back to have a look at the store, so we left the others and walked back. So, I bought it. I love it.
On the way, we passed the be all and end all of Xmas Window Displays. Friends, you ain’t seen a window display until you’ve seen this one. You can see the photo in my Flickr album (link to Fickr on the left). But let me just say that an almost life-sized gingerbread KISS, complete with platform boots and codpieces, has to be seen to be believed. And there was a speaker above the window pumping out God Gave Rock N Roll To You!
Victoria made some purchases in the stone shop too, then we wandered down to the main shopping street hoping to catch up with the others. We followed the main street all the way down through Gamla Stan (Old Town) which was absolutely beautiful! Wonderful architecture, and gorgeous little alleys and shops. Christmas decorations up, and everything just looking lovely! Met the others, who were (understandably) dawdling and looking in all the shop windows, in a hat shop where Sarah was buying a big fur hat – one of those round Russian jobs. I saw a top hat in there that I tried on (cause I LOVE top hats) and even liked, but it was 600 KR (about £50) which is a lot of money for a hat. We walked, and dawdled, all the way down to the water looking for our boat, got lost, turned around, and on the way back found somewhere to have dinner. Made a booking and then loooked at the map and headed in the right direction to our boat.
The boat, http://www.malardrottningen.se/ (or the decomposing duck, as Victoria’s partner called it!) was an 18th birthday present to the daughter of ‘Mr Woolworths’ in 1934. And I just got a tv for my 18th, I’m feeling slighted ;) But the boat was fairly impressive. Got a room each – Victoria, Jackie and I in ‘steerage’ below decks, one porthole high up on the wall, bunk beds – but we had ensuite wet-rooms. Ann and Christine were mid-level, and their cabins were the same as ours. But Sarah scored! She got a cabin on the top deck that had TWO big windows you could see out of and a single bed, not bunk beds!
Settled in and then headed to the bar for to celebrate :). Drank. A little bit. Then headed out to dinner in Gamla Stan in a restuarant called Magnus Laudas (http://www.magnusladulas.se/). Had reindeer. Was lovely! :) Yum! Christine tells me it tastes a little like liver, but with the texture of very tender beef. I can’t say, I’ve never eaten liver. But it was lovely, all the same. Served with a Lingonberry sauce that was also fantastic. (And that I would spend almost all of the next day being vexed by…)
Walkabout map (click to view)
Drank lots, followed the reindeer with passionfruit sorbet – fantastic again.. Stumbled back to the boat, laughing, then fell into bed about 11:30-ish. Long day.
Set my alarm for 08:30, because there was no way I’d get up on my own! Had a very strange shower experience in the bathroom and then, at breakfast Victoria told me that there’s a swing-out partition in the bathroom that blocks off one end of it, so only half is a wet-room. Oh. That’s good then. A bit too late to be useful, but good to know all the same. At breakfast (danishes, fruit, toast, cereal, ham, cheese, bread) we all made and pocketed a roll for lunch, and all pilfered some of the impressive looking hot chocolate packets. Yet to try it, perhaps tonight.