Thu 17 Oct - Stockholm, Sweden / London, England

Di's mum and husband arrived in London and Hans realizes that it is a small small world...

First, &$@&?3@/&$... Hans Swedish passport dilemma continues... There will be no Swedish passport for Hans n Sweden nor anywhere else in Europe either for that matter.

In summary. No joy. To get the proof of Australian citizenship document, you need to fill in a form and POST to Australia and then once processed there they will POST back to you. Form 119 on their internet site. The published duration for this... 2 - 3 months... Not gonna happen.

We received that information only after Di called them in London, not after the Australian authorities failed their own service level of getting back to anybody via email within 2 days (it took them almost 4 days to get that email response, possibly as a result of Di calling hem). So what to do... Two options really...

  • Hopefully Hans can travel into Holland as an Australian, I.e. there will be a passport control there so he can use his Australian passport
  • Hans has to leave EU within the next 2 months (as an EU citizen) and return (as an Australian) (Norway comes to mind)
&$(885&@&7$:@@9 is all Hans can say to this...

Now, over to something far more enlightening, Di...

Audrey and Alan, Di's mum and her husband arrived safe and well to London and here is that happy family out In Battersea Park. Yep. They brought the sunshine with them.

Morning cuppa in the rose garden. No jet lag for A&A - yet.

Alan enjoying the Thames.

Di then spent part of the afternoon doing her laundry back at home and then went back to Carolyn's place in Battersea to cook dinner.
Of course, the dinner triggered rave reviews for the "House of Di".She made a nice Spag Bol dinner and even Carolyn liked it (blended of course). She had a nice evening but was very pooped when she got home.

A much quieter day start for Hans, and he really needed it as tonight was yet another social engagment. Hans stayed home at Mike's place and did not go out until it was time to go to town to have a few beers with some old friends...

On the photo front, Hans has earlier taken and collected various pics from Vårberg and why not publish them today on this "slow photo" day... It is about time for a slow photo day some of you may say...

This is outside Mike's place at Stångholmsbacken 9 in Vårberg. His balcony in front of the living room and the kitchen window to the right can be seen to the left of Mike.

Outside Mike's place again but now looking towards the centre of Vårberg.

Mike, and most Swedish households, has access to a seperate outdoor space for collection of bottles and newspaper for recycling and also larger pieces of garbage. A tad messy in there...

Mike has his car underground inside a locked parking garage next to his place which must be a great advantage as opposed to having it parked outside.

Walking towards the underground station in Vårberg.

Vårberg's indoor shopping centre. Underground station to the right.

And out on the other side...

Now onto the nights events... Hans was on the underground from Vårberg some time after 4.30pm as he will meet up with two old buddies, Sven and Björn, at a pub called Oliver Twist at Södermalm (South Side).

First station after Vårberg is Skärholmen where Hans and Mike lived with their parents, Hans from 1966 to 1980, Mike a little bit longer.

The train to town at this time was almost empty at times...

... But gosh it is boring...

Hans was a little bit early so took a wander up to Mosebacke and onto the ramp for Katarinahissen, I.e. there is an elevator down to the ground at the end of this. Great views. This is towards Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Slussen (The Lock) is a major traffic junction, but with a square with some stalls.

Looking towards the east. Hans walked here the day before.

Sven turned up at Oliver Twist first and him and Hans started the proceedings. But the prices... THE PRICES. This small glass of Modus Operandi IPA, which was very nice though, costs SEK 79. That's around A$12!! For a smallish glass.

Björn turned up a little later, and here is him Björn to the left and Sven to the right.

Hans, Sven and Björn soon moved on to get something to eat and we almost stumbled onto Bamboo Garden, a Chinese restaurant the crowd went to a lot in the 80s. Nostalgia big time, had to do it.

Hans had his 80s Chinese food favourite, beef with leek. Hmm... Things have moved on since then, but the food filled up the stomachs to allow for more beer.

Now, one of the reasons the crowd went to this particular restaurant Bamboo Garden is this guy (to the left). He was and still is a real character, joking and laughing and fooling around. He had this say "Tackar du mig så tackar jag dig", "If you thank me, I thank you" and would you believe it, he still used a variation of that say this evening. He also greeted the punters with "Tjena Kompis", g'day buddy, all in broken and charming Swedish.

Björn took this photo of Hans at Bamboo Garden with his Tsing Tao beer in his hand.

The next and final place for the night was Big Ben Comedy Club at Folkungagatan. There was a regular pub at street level and a stage for stand up in the basement, no charge.

Hans, Sven and Björn checked out this American guy for a short while, but he wasn't very good so back upstairs to hang in the bar.

Now, this is freaky. It is truly a small small world.

The lady here is Nawal and she worked with and reported to Hans at Westpac / BT in Sydney, Australia. Hans knew through Facebook that Nawal is traveling around Scandinavia at the moment, but what are the chances of this encounter to happen. Furthermore, Nawal was only staying in Stockholm one night, this night, before moving on. Yep, a small small world it is.

Needless to say, Hans, Sven and Björn consumed a liberal amount of beer during the evening, chatting a mix of old times, current times and traveling. Hans took a few more photos of the boys...



Sven and / in the bar

The time was around 11pm when Hans, Sven and Björn decided to call it quits. After all, the other two still had to work on the Friday. Bye bye... See you in... Well, who knows really... But it was fun, fun, fun...

Hans took the underground train from Medborgarplatsen back to Vårberg which meant changing trains so took some time as can be seen on the clock. This is Hornstull station.

Hans was back at Mike's place around midnight, relaxed with a cup of tea, did some blogging and finally went to sleep around 1am. What a day.

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