Friday, 9 August 2013

Day 3 - Train delays and evening in Stockholm

After a rather uncomfortable (and mostly sleepless) night in seat 32, I woke up as the train pulled into Hamburg station. At this time it was already over 1h delayed but I hoped it would still make up some of that time.

Little did I know that it would not only not make up that delay but add another hour on top of it. The good 'news' is that it stopped often enough to be able to see and admire the Danish landscape. If you only wake up in Denmark you might be forgiven to think the train took a wrong turn somewhere and headed back to Holland, both countries have a very similar landscape and are quite flat.

Thanks to the train taking it's time to get to Copenhagen, not only did my time there did get cut down to 6 minutes but I also almost missed my connecting train to Stockholm.

A lesson to be learned is that you should expect delays and ensure you have longer time to spend in a connecting city and not to get an isle seat in the night train because it's uncomfortable, although a middle seat is no better, window seats are probably best in terms of available space.

The train journey to Stockholm in a modern train was on time but took around 5h. The good news is that the seats are comfortable and the views change dramatically once you enter Sweden, with pine forests
and lakes dotting the landscape.

The first views of Stockholm you get from the train are very nice and just a teaser of what you get to see once you start exploring the city. My hotel was right next to the central station and while the room had no window, it did the job and was relatively inexpensive when compared with other hotels.

After dropping my bag off in the windowless room, I headed outside for a walk and to explore the city.
Some people will research a city and plan out what to do and see while they are there, especially when they only have a limited time there. I am too lazy for that and like to improvise and explore on my own. This can be good and bad, it means I see things at my own pace and might head outside the beaten path or it might mean that I miss out on some stuff and don't quite know what I see. Still, why change what works and too muc planning is not good either. ;)

I did get to see the Stockholm Stadthus and touristy Gamla Stan, where I tried to find a place for dinner. While there are a lot of restaurants to choose from, the prices are really expensive.

Stockholm is so expensive that I can label it the most expensive city I have been to so far and not only do I live in London but have been to New York and Tokyo but neither felt as expensive. After consulting Google and Tripadvisor I settled on a place and not only was it inexpensive (compared go the rest of Stockholm) but also served nice food. In case you are looking for something decent and inexpensive to eat try 'Stockholms Gästabud AB' in Österlänggatan 7.

Aside from being expensive, Stockholm, made a very good first impression and it looks like a very nice city. While the landscape in Denmark did remind me of Holland, the 'friendliness' of staff in Sweden did remind me of Amsterdam although there were exceptions and some were quite nice and friendly.

Tomorrow, I will have till 16:00 to explore Stockholm some more before having to catch the Viking Line ferry to Helsinki.

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