Monday, 9 November 2009


It would seem that I don't count weekends as days of the week - it never even occurred to me to blog! I can't imaging that's going to change soon, so I'm going to aim for 5 post a week for the rest of November.

The second full day of my holiday, my friend and I caught the bus down to Stockholm for the day. I was seriously impressed by the ticket system, we just went online the night before and bought the ticket and reserved a seat by credit card and a confirmation was text-messaged to us. The next day, we just showed the bus driver the text and he ticked us off the list he had on the touch screen computer in the bus! Efficient or what (and totally paper-free)?

I don't think that I really saw Stockholm at its best, as the weather was very cold and it rained on and off all day. Nevertheless, I liked what I saw.
I'd never fully appreciated that Stockholm is build on a series of islands connected by bridges and ferries. It was actually quite difficult to know which way I was facing (towards the coast or inland) because the water was all around.

Sweden currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, so this island, which houses the parliament is, for the time being, a Very Important Place. Despite this, there was no sense of it being off-limits or access-controlled as bits of London would have been when the UK held the post.

The next island over houses the Royal Palace and the old town. The Palace is very huge and square and stately. The old town, by contrast was very quirky with a warren of little narrow streets housing interesting little shops. It reminded me strongly of the Shambles in York.

Adjacent to the main shopping area is an open space that is in constant use in the summer months for picnics and street-performers etc. While we were there we saw a charity publicising Breast Cancer Awareness Week lighting a huge field of candles . The effect was really stunning as the light was starting to go.

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