Snöa på

I could have stayed in bed all day. The last week has been exhausting, and I could have happily slept until lunchtime. But I woke early and there was something special waiting outside: it was snowing. Although there has been a little bit of snow in Stockholm since I arrived two weeks ago, it’s mostly been very light. Today, however, we had some good falls. Not that I’m an expert on snow, mind you. I’m sure the Swedes would describe it differently, but I was impressed.

“I know Swedes are sick of the snow, but I find it very exciting and exotic”, I told a couple of blokes I shared a breakfast table with. Steffan from a small town near Orebro had come to Stockholm for a fortieth birthday party. And Doug, a retired Toyota employee, turned school teacher, was here to speak at a conference. We all agreed it was great to meet people from around the world.

“Normally Swedes sit by themselves over breakfast and don’t talk to others.”, Steffan commented. It was then I told them the story of the great advice I was given before my last trip. Talk to everybody, and always say yes to an adventure (or words to that effect). Both commented on how far away Australia is. “It’s a long way even to Asia” I told them. Over breakfast we shared stories about our lives, as I kept a keen eye on the snow outside the window.

For me it was a day for hotel changeover. For most of the next week I am staying at the appropriately named, “Hotel Micro”. I don’t think I need to explain it’s budget with a capital b. So between leaving the rather lovely (and exoting sounding) Scandic Anglais and and moving to the more precisely named hotel, I spent a couple of hours in the Scandic Anglais lobby. It was great to watch the snow, listen to people speak, and generally enjoy the ambience which included a soundtrack from the likes of Sade and Bo Kaspers Orkester.

“Is one o’clock too early for a glass of wine?”, I asked myself, as if I didn’t already know the answer. So I popped up to the bar and ordered a glass of chardy. “Ah, Commonwealth Bank”, the bloke behind the bar commented, adding, “You’re from Australia? You speak good Swedish”. He was being polite of course. He then went on to tell me that he had lived in Australia for five years, attending UNSW. “So what brings you to Stockholm?” I asked. “Girls, of course”, he replied.

Last night when I went out for a drink at Torget (caught up with a bloke I met the other week), and today, I noticed how much the vibe in Stockholm seemed to have changed since I left for Malmo, Copenhagen and Helsingborg last Tuesday.

The snow and ice is still around, especially in the parks and gardens, but they have have all but disappeared from the streets of Stockholm. This means you can walk without the fear of slipping over, and I guess because of this, people seem to have more of a spring in their step and a smile on their faces. I didn’t hear it myself, but apparently last night, there was a bit of a party in the street outside the hotel. There’s a popular nightclub opposite, and at three am, there were enough people out on the road making enough noise, for the police to come around and close off the street.

“It’s been such a tough winter” people have told me on many occasions, with almost three months of sub-zero temperatures in Stockholm. Both officially and in practice, spring is now here. Of course, people are still wearing big puffy coats, but their faces are no longer half-hidden by scarves and beanies.

Well, that was until late this afternoon. I wandered around Sodermalm this afternoon enjoying the experience and taking some photographs. But by that time the snow had set in fairly firmly, and bit by bit, people began to disappear from the streets. The forecast for tomorrow is bright and sunny, so I’m hoping for LOADS of overnight snow, followed by one of those spectacular sunny Stockholm spring days. Fingers crossed.