Tue 15 Oct - Stockholm, Sweden / London, England

"Nursing" for Di, Stockholm City and football for Hans...

Di's plans for today hinged on the timing of Carolyn's discharge from hospital. She knew it would not be before 1pm so went shopping at Oxford street. Di caught bus number 74 to Marble Arch and started to wander towards Piccadilly Circus.

At 10am there were plenty of shoppers already with many being well dressed Arabs. Di was daggy in comparison but that was all about to change.

1st stop was a shoe shop and Di found black leather short boots for winter (with rubber soles). Good price at £55. Then Marks and Spencer's for the rest. 1 pair jeans (to replace a pair she threw out in Cambridge), 1 long sleeve tee shirt and a light jumper. All for £50, I.e. a bargain.

Di called the hospital and found our Carolyn's discharge was delayed and scheduled now for 4pm. Back home for lunch of soup and crackers and a rest. Shopping was exhausting. The bounty.

Di left early and walked to the hospital via the Brompton Cemetery. The sun was shining (finally) and it was a very peaceful stroll.

The cement tar appeared to be no longer used and some sections were grand while others appeared neglected but still photogenic.




Di was at the hospital by 3.30pm with fingers crossed that Carolyn would be discharged at the planned time of 4pm. She was at 4.30pm.

Here is a photo of Carolyn happy to be home at Battersea after the operation.

Di got home a bit late from Carolyn's after helping her to bed and to settle in. All good although Di was tired and settled for leftovers for dinner. A lazy evening followed.

Meanwhile, after a lazy and late-ish morning, Hans and Mike took the car to Aspudden and then the tunnelbana (underground) to Stockholm city centre.

Before getting onboard, Hans and Mike had to negotiate a somewhat convulated ticketing system. This, and the another board, "explained" it... not very well.

Stockholm underground has introduced a London Octopus style system, and in the end after navigating the pricing maze, it seemed that the card itself was SEK20 and any trip that Hans is likely to take would cost SEK25.

Divide the SEK number by 6.1 and you get the price in AUD. In summary, longer trips within the centre zone A above are price justified but shorter ones are not.

Hans and Mike went off the underground at Stockholm's Central Station, which looked a bit better than last time Hans was there. In Hans' youth, it was really shonky.

Nearly is the central shopping area and the department store Åhléns still looked the same from the outside as it did back in the 70s. Don't know about the inside as Hans and Mike didn't go in.

Plattan at Sergels Torg (The Plate at Sergels Square) was known as the congregation place for junkies and small time crooks when Hans was young. It was not a very nice place then and it still looked crap.

A pedestrian mall walk away is Hötorget, Hay Square, with market stalls on top of cobblestone, which is a nice and friendly place. PUB is a department store and institution has been there forever.

Stockholm Concert Hall to the left and just behind from where the photo above was taken. Hans saw quite a few pop and rock concerts there as a youngster, but it is quite a small venue and more suited for intimate performances.

Kungsgatan (King Street) is a major throughfare in the centre of Stockholm and parts of it has been compared to Piccadilly Circus in London. Hans can not understand why.

Now, this was a new one. All over central Stockholm and in many suburbs outside underground stations you find these guys, Romanian beggars. Apparently the begging is systematic, to the extent that many look like siblings and show the same picture of Christ.

Hans had read about a similar phenomena in London around Mayfair, although it was nowhere near as visible there as here.

Golden Hits used to be Golden Days, a British style pub where Hans, Mike and all their friends spent far too much time and drank far too much beer there... And also had lots and lots of fun.

Now, it is a karaoke style dance restaurant... Pass...

And here upstairs and to the left of Rigoletto, there used to be a dance restaurant called King Creole. It had a reputation that if you were out at night and wanted a girl for the night, you just asked the cab driver to stop and wait for you outside while you walked in and picked up a girl. That's what Hans had heard anyway...

Kungsgatan from the other end at Stureplan, with the two Kungstornen (Kings Towers).

No connection to the past in the next picture. It just looked cool that somebody had parked their Segway there while going somewhere.

Hans and Mike then walked through Kungsträdgården (Kings Garden) towards Skeppsbron (Ships Bridge) and the Royal Palace.

Nearby is the residence for the current Swedish Prime Minister, in a convienient location close to the Swedish Riksdag (as in German Reichstag, the parliament).

This plaque explains the history and current use of Sagerska Huset or The Sager House.

Västerlånggatan is feh main shopping and tourist trail through Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm.

Yep, a bit touristy all right.

The Royal Palace has guards stationed around and inside of it. When Hans was conscripted back in 1978, he was doing his duty here where the soldier is.

Thumbs up for castle duty. Not much had changed apart from the exclusion zone around the soldier was larger than in Hans conscription days.

The Swedish equivalent of the English red telephone boxes. And yes, you can ring from this one.

Gamla Stan has lots of pubs and restaurants and music venues like this one. Hans has spent some time at Engelen the pub in the past as well as the adjacent Kolingen which had bands.

This is Slussen, the Lock, where Lake Mälaren (freshwater and source of Stockholm's drinking water) and Baltic Sea meets. Yes, it was not warm here today given that the time now was around midday.

Hans and Mike continued their wander into Södermalm, The South Side, and Götgatan. This area used to be run down and slum in places when Hans and Mike grew up. Today, it is a trendy and arty area with lots of restaurants and pubs.

If you look south down Götgatan, you can see all the way down to the Globe where Hans and Mike were yesterday.

Hans and Mike had lunch here at Södergrillen, another old destination after late nights on town. Hans and Mike both had hamburgers and they still tasted pretty damn good.

There were about 6 very tall and somewhat intimidating German speaking blokes in front of us in the queue, probably in town to see tonight's football game Sweden vs Germany.

This was the very first Indian restaurant in Stockholm from mid 80s and is still in business. Hans was there around 1985 or so.

Hornstull plaza used to be a hangout for vinos, but has been rejuvenated and spruced up.

The view from Långholmsbron, which forms the city centre border south east of town.

View across towards the centre of town.

Congestion tolls have been introduced in Stockholm too as it has for a lot of cities around the world. The tolls didn't appear to be outrageous and there is no fee at all after 6.30pm. Hans was told that the monitoring is via reading of registration plates, but all car owners intending to drive into the city centre need to register their car details online first, otherwise huge penalty fees apply.

Hans and Mike wandered all the way back to Aspudden and here crossed E4, the main road between Stockholm and south towards Malmö and the continent. You may recognize the gymnasium school from yesterday's blog where Hans attended technical college a long time ago.

E4 road the other way towards town.

The bridge Hans and Mike crossed over used to be used as a rat run. No more, although physically it is still possible. The whole concrete construct looked a bit like it could be used to prevent tanks to get through.

Hans and Mike got back into the car in Aspudden and given that time was around 2.30pm and it was way too early to pick up Vic some 5 minutes away where he works at Telefonplan, they decided to swing by cousin Peter's place in Segeltorp, with the off chance that he may be home (Peter is a taxi cab owner and driver and sometimes works irregular hours).

The lights were on, but no response to the door knocks, until Peter's daughter Emma opened up the door. She claimed that she had been in the shower. Hans and Mike chatted with her and she confirmed that cousin Peter was indeed working during the way and was practicing with his Queen tribute band called Queer in the evening. Oh well...

Hans and Mike left after a short while, swung by the bottle shop to get beer for tonight's game and then picked up Vic. Lidl was the next destination, and here is Vic getting refund SEK for returning empty cans.

Shopping finished and IKEA at Kungens Kurva was next for dinner.

Cheep food, but very uninspiring... This is fish...

After our very average meals, Vic graciously offered to buy us coffee and cinnamon roll... Very nice of him. A coffee together with a cinnamon roll was priced at SEK 5, i.e. around 80 cents...

Home to Vårberg, and watching an old music / documentary program about Max Raabe & Palast Orchester, playing live at Admiralpalast in Berlin.

Hans and Di have tickets to a concert at that theatre with the band on the 14 November. If the program was any indication, the concert will be great...

The football game between Sweden and Germany started at 9pm, and is another World Cup qualifying game apart from that whatever the result would be, there would be no change to either country's position in the table. Germany will qualify for World Cup, Sweden will qualify for a further play off for a position there.

Well, it was a very interesting game. The previous game between the two countries in Berlin finished 4-4 after Sweden being down 4-0. This game, Sweden started the scoring and was up 2-0 before sort of collapsing and the end result was 5-3 to Germany.

In other words, 16 goals in the 2 last games between Sweden and Germany. That's a lot of goals...

Well, bed time for Mike and Vic at 11pm as both are going to work tomorrow. Hans is blogging before he too says good night.


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