Stockholm and expensive laundry

Posted from Stockholm, Stockholm County, Sweden.

The train ride from Oslo to Stockholm is only about five hours. It’s not exactly express, but that’s pretty good for a big carriage on wheels. The only complaint I have with train travel in Scandinavia is it can be expensive if you don’t book at least three months ahead of time. Booking on the day of travel can cost more than a flight. My ticket costed just over 600 NOK, which was basically $100. Not too bad, but not too cheap either. Everything is expensive after Southeast Asia, though. No more $6 five-hour bus rides.


I booked into a hostel in the old town called Best Hostel. From the train station it was a good 30-minute walk. It probably would’ve been quicker if I didn’t have to carry my backpack. And my computer. And the second bag I’ve amassed. The hostel was easy to find, and I have to admit, it was a bit of a maze, just like the reviews said it was. It was five floors with numerous staircases in the oddest of places. There were kitchens everywhere, but only a few with fridges and only a couple with actual working ranges. There was a free breakfast (which I missed – as usual) and linen was provided. An interesting thing in Sweden is a lot of hostels charge you for linen and don’t allow you to bring your own sleeping bag. Sleeping bags are often the responsible culprits for spreading bedbugs. After a crappy experience in Laos, I don’t oppose this rule.

There's only one sign like this in Stockholm.

There’s only one sign like this in Stockholm.

The hostel also said it had laundry facilities, but it didn’t. So I hopped the train for about $6 to a stop that had a laundromat. Then the lady charged me 100 SEK (about $15) to wash and dry one load of laundry. This is the most expensive laundry experience I’ve ever had. Then I had to pay another $6 to get back to the hostel. Apparently it’s the only laundromat in all of Stockholm. I suppose most people have a washer in their apartment or at least a few in their building. By comparison, in Halmstad I paid only 5 SEK to wash and dry my clothes. I wore these clothes until they stunk. I needed to justify this expense. A lot.




That evening I walked around the old city and looked at all the interesting shops. It’s very touristy, but still quite beautiful and stunning. I would have to say I think Stockholm is so far the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. There are a lot of walking streets in the city too, which I happen to like. But after I had a beer I went back to the hostel and stayed in and slept. I needed sleep after Oslo.


The next day I really wanted to go to the big Vasa museum. My boat-museum experience in Oslo made me realize how important these vessels are to life and the history of these northern maritime countries. But before I could do that I wanted to watch the changing of the guard at the royal palace. I saw this at Buckingham Palace many years ago. So while the pomp and pageantry was about the same, the Swedish one was a bit better because I had a good vantage point to watch. It was, however, too long. I left before it was over.


So from there I walked to the museum, which is on one of the many islands that make up Stockholm. The walk was beautiful as the city is just ripe with so much history. I rewarded myself with a beer at a river-view cafe before I went in, because that’s what one is supposed to do on vacation in a retardedly expensive town.

The story of this boat is rather famous. No one had made a boat with two levels of canons before. And that’s probably why it sank a few minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628. The boat was recovered in the 1960s with quite a few skeletons  still dwelling in her hull. Parts of the boat are still original and there are large efforts underway to restore it completely.



From there I walked around the city center and found a nice Italian restaurant to have  a $30 dinner at. Luckily it was happy hour so my wine was good and cheap. And for pasta in Sweden, it wasn’t too shabby. Alas, however, I was far too fatigued to enjoy the evening, and I had booked myself a 7 a.m. train to Gothenburg in the morning (as it was the cheapest train I could find.) So I called it an early night, worked on some blog posts and saved myself some money.

My flight from Gothenburg to Paris doesn’t leave until the following day, but I’ll explain now – I did nothing in Gothenburg but write, surf the Internet and get some red curry from a Thai place where the lady spoke Swedish and little English. But it was comparable red curry and I ate almost all of it.

My credit card wouldn’t work in Gothenburg’s buses – you buy the tickets on the bus, so I rode the bus for free. I felt bad, but I didn’t lose sleep over it. Once I got back to the main station I bought a ticket to the airport and flew to Paris. Vector Festival, here I come.

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