I’m not exactly sure what took longer: the flight from Tokyo to Stockholm (via Frankfurt), or the time we waited for our luggage to come off the plane at Arlanda Airport. I don’t ever recall having waited at least thirty minutes for the turnstiles to start turning here before. As I looked around those waiting, even the ever-patient Swedes (who are usually quite okay with waiting in queues), seemed a little frustrated. When my luggage finally arrived, I made a quick executive decision: I would take the more expensive high speed train over the less expensive, though still very fast, airport bus. Having spent something like fourteen or fifteen hours in transport, I was anxious to check into my hotel, have a shower, maybe a beer, and then go to bed.
But there were further frustrations. There was a Spanish speaking family who was trying to work out the ticket machine for the Arlanda Express without success. And there was an older American couple who were trying to purchase a travel card, without knowing what they really wanted, and with several credit cards, none of which worked. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, get out of the queue”, I might have whispered under my voice.
I finally made it to the hotel at about 7pm. Though I’m spending almost all of my time in Stockholm in a “cosy” AirBnB apartment, I’ve checked into the Hilton Hotel for a couple of nights. After lengthy travel, I figured a few “creature comforts” wouldn’t go astray. As you can see from the photographs, I have spectacular views of the central parts of Stockholm. The bed is also, probably, the most comfortable bed I’ve experienced in my life. I went to bed about 9.30 or 10.00 (remembering I’d been flying since about midnight, Stockholm time), after watching the sunset over Lake Mälaren. When I woke at 3.00, the sun was still there in the background, providing some beautiful colours over the city. A few hours later, I’m fully rested. I’ve had a great breakfast. I’ve got a Swedish SIM. I feel like I’m prepared for this next part of my holiday.