When I woke this morning, I looked out the window and the sky was still grey. We had a fair bit of rain yesterday afternoon and evening, and although the rain had pretty much cleared, there was still a fairly heavy fog engulfing my part of Stockholm. Confident that I didn’t need to get out of bed too early, I checked the clock (it was 3.00am), and closed my eyes again. I woke again at 5.00am, and watched this week’s episode of “Insiders”. After a couple more hours of sleep, I eventually decided it was time to make a stretch of Sunday and head down for breakfast.
I’ve never stayed in a Hilton Hotel before, but I’ve concluded from these two brief nights it’s a bit of a weird world I’m not really “part of”. Although I loved the room, and the view, I’ve concluded the people who stay in them aren’t really “my kind of people”. For the last two mornings I’ve been seated next to two American couples. In both cases, the women were like the mother in the TV series “Welcome To Sweden”, both with the accent and the attitude. “I’m glad we came here, instead of Greece”, was one comment I overhead this morning. I had to stop myself from looking over and asking what she meant by that. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed my time staying there, and it was the perfect way to “ease” myself into Stockholm. A comfortable bed. Lovely shampoos and skin products. Great views. What more could I want?
The apartment I’m staying in for the next few weeks is not The Hilton, but it’s absolutely perfect for me. It’s described on AirBnB as “cozy” and, at 25sqm, indeed it is. The living space is quite large actually, but the kitchen and the bathroom are tiny. Indeed, the shower is located within the space of an ordinary toilet, and so is the toilet. When I first looked at the space, I wasn’t sure I could turn around. But having taken a further look, I now realise it’s absolutely fine. I’ve bought some groceries at the nearby supermaket (the bottle shop is also just across the road), and so I feel I’m not comfortably “set” for the next couple of weeks. The apartment is literally a two minute walk from Mariatorget (and co-incidentally just around the corner from where Robert and Sandra used to live), so I feel it will be really good base while I’m here in Stockholm.
The last time I was here was during Spring 2013. I’ve noticed quite a few things have changed even in the last couple of years. For example, there are definitely more “brown faces” in the centre of Stockholm. Sweden has a far more welcoming attitude towards refugees than does Australia, which I think is a good thing. Compared with even two years ago, I’m hearing more people speaking non-European languages. That said, German would had to have been the most common language, other than Swedish I heard as I walked around today. The Germans love to come to Sweden in summer. As do the Americans. And more Asian tourists than I remember from the last summer visit in 2011.
So having dealt with the packing, the moving and the grocery shopping, I spent most of the afternoon wandering around the “tourist areas” of the centre of Stockholm, reacquainting myself with this wonderful city. A city in which I always feel so incredibly comfortable and happy. The holiday begins :)