“I always smile when I hear an ABBA song played at a bar in Sweden. There’s absolutely no sense of hipster irony in playing ABBA in Sweden. Just pure affection…” I thought to myself. I was sitting at a bar in Gamla Stan and “One Of Us” came over the speakers. It was the third time I’d heard ABBA played in a shop, restaurant or bar that day. First, over a lunch. Then over a mid-afternoon coffee. Then, later in the evening, they were in my head again. Oh, and I passed the ABBA Museum (still under construction, but looking okay) earlier in the day.
After the gorgeous weather of yesterday, it was all a bit crappy today. Instead of heading out earlier, I stayed home until about lunchtime listening to a few podcasts.
I’ve never been a big podcast listener, as I listen to radio all day while at work, and never have much more “ear time” available to me. But as I haven’t been working I’ve been listening to quite a few podcasts for absolute pleasure. I’ve also recently discovered a pretty good podcast client, Pocket Casts, made by an Australian company. In the last few days I’ve really loved listening to the two-part interview Richard Fidler did with George Megalogenis about the last forty years of Australian political and economic history. Richard also did a lovely interview a couple of weeks ago with a woman whose grandfather (I think) used to send the oddest things through the British postal service, as well as an interview with a woman who writes obituaries for The Guardian (I think). I also love the TWIT range of podcasts, as well as listening daily to Klartext (the news in Swedish for dummies like me). They’ve all been great company as I’ve made my way around Europe.
Later in the afternoon I went for a wander around town, popping into a church for a look around a moment of quiet meditation when the rain got a little too heavy. “What is it with tourists and churches?”, I thought to myself. I was sitting, enjoying a few quiet moments of reflection in the S:ta Clara kyrka in Stockholm, and as I looked around, there were tourists everywhere. Maybe they were escaping the rain also?
I tend not to be one for churches and museums when I travel. Back home, yes. And when I go to a new city, I usually like to take a quick look at an historical museum to get a bit of an understanding of the place. But mostly I like to be out and about at places like bars, shopping centres and supermarkets.
Except when it rains.