Wed 16 Oct - Stockholm, Sweden / London, England

Di is being cultured and helping out domestically, Hans is walking and walking and walking, but also catching up with old work mates from the 80s.

First out is Di, shooting off a photo as she passed on old haunt "Stay in Chelsea" on Old Brompton Road during her morning wander.

Di's wander was followed by a breakfast treat in South Kensington and then suddently a squirrel found its way into the restaurant... very funny. Unfortunately, no pics of the little creature, but here is Di's yummy breakfast.

Filled up after breakfast and squirrel amusement, Di moved on to the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum, or V&A for short as it is known. Inside entertainment perfect for a rainy day.

The entry hall of V&A.

There were a lot more to see in V&A than Di expected.

Our "mate" Sir Giles Gilbert Scott had also designed the Albert memorial and this guy, Skidmore, did the iron work. Impressive. The ironwork section of the museum was surprisingly interesting.

Looking the length of the ironwork gallery.

The story of the Albert Memorial.

There was a temporary exhibition on 80s fashion ha ha at the V&A, no photography was allowed but you could see it without paying from this spot. And taking a photo... She is a rebel Di, isn't she?

A sculpture that made Di think of Hans... What? Why? (Hans note)

The art library looked cool but with a backpack Di was not allowed in so she stopped at the doorway.

This amazing display is all after casts of the originals. Looked awesome.

The one along the wall is at the end of the Camino. That is "Camino de Santiago de Compostella", another possible future destination and experience for us.

This looked very real but nope, they were all plaster casts - of tombs. A bit weird.

V&A also had a great section on the international exhibition of 1851. This painting shows the inside of V&A at the time, with all the usual dignataries.

After feeling culturally reignited, Di went back home to pack for her one night stay at Carolyn's place to which she arrived around 3pm.

Di did some grocery shopping and other domestic duties such as cleaning the kitchen to help out at Carolyn who mixed resting with chatting. Di went to bed around 9.45pm pretty exhausted.

Hans had a somewhat different day.

First off, he needed to get that "Personbevis", proof of identify, with his birthplace clearly stated, from the Tax Office, as that was one of two requirements for renewing his Swedish passport.

Now, this was an unbelievably pleasant surprise. Hans took the underground to Stockholm's city centre and arrived at the Tax Office on Regeringsgatan 109 just after 10am which is when they opened.

As soon as he stepped in, a public servant was on him, asking his reason for being there and served him immediately, with the result that Hans had that piece of paper, inside a plastic folder as he asked for one all free of charge after about 2 minutes. Hans probably spent 5 minutes inside, with the rest of the time spent verifying that the document showed what was required. It did. Hans was amazed as he expected to have to wait perhaps for hours.

The ladies with the yellow ribbons below are literally waiting for customers to serve. Amazing.

Now, with a lot of time up his sleeve before catching up with Carina and Perra in Hammarby Sjöstad around 5.30pm, Hans spent the rest of the day wandering downtown, mixed with coffee breaks and lunch.

A lesser nostalgia day followed, more on observations and tourist photography.

These uniforms for parking inspectors were new to Hans. Can't miss those guys now.

This is the inside of Stockholm's Public Library. After been given a "tourist card" - ha - Hans sat there for a while connecting to the world via free wifi. Great space.

The toilets at the library were something else. There was only one toilet operating, the one for disabled people. Now, most public toilets cost SEK 5 to use and the one inside the library was no exception. However, after you submitted your cash, the door opens automatically and then closes automatically as well... after some 30 seconds or so. You feel like a goose standing inside the loo, visible to punters in the outside cafe and waiting for the door to close. Strange.

Västmannagatan looking south across Odengatan.

View from Barnhusbron, connecting two parts (boroughs..?) of Stockholm; Kunsgsholmen and Vasastan. Looking towards the Central Station.

Tea break and self portrait at Norr Mälarstrand. Not that it is obvious, but Hans is looking towards one of many waterways in Stockholm.

Toilet oddity number 2 for the day - the sign advises punters not to throw the usual paper towels and sanitary products into the loo, but not throwing in mobile phones either... What? There must be a story behind that.

Rådhuset, but Hans prefers the German word which obviously is Rathaus.

A selfie. The skies had clearly up now and it was quite pleasant out there (which did not last).

View from Rådhuset towards Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Sorry, one more. It looked good there.

Hans moved on to the Central Station where major work is going on outside the main entrance. Even the statue was wearing a hardhat.

And they were repairing / refurbishing the old clock in front of the station too.

This is "Chinatown" in Stockholm consisting of one Asian food market and one restaurant...

The market vendors at Hötorget seem to mostly selling the same stuff. Kantareller mushrooms were in season and for some inexplicable reason, they all were selling them to "halva priset", half price. Hmm...

Hans has ventured down to Hötorgshallen for lunch during previous post migration visits to Stockholm, and enjoyed the experience so why not again?

Kajsa's Fisk, obviously specializing in fish, is still very popular... And with reason.



Hans had Stekt Strömming, fried herring, a traditional Swedish dish. Yum...

This is what surrounds Kajsa's Fisk... Lots and lots of goodies on display and on offer...

This means "The Fowl and Game Specialist". As per the board, you could get pretty much any meat here... Well, within reason.

A bit more wander for Hans before he took a coffee break at Wayne's Coffee, another Starbucks style chain with prices to match. However, it had a nice environment, free wifi for an hour, cool music and was also warm... So Hans was "happy to oblige" and found himself a comfy corner there.

A weird thing happened inside Wayne's. A bloke somewhere inside, and Hans couldn't figure out whom, spoke with brother Mike's voice using words that Mike may use. It was a bit spooky and Hans stood up several times to check out who it was or if Mike was indeed there, but no on both fronts...

Walking south through Gamla Stan (Old Town), looking north from Slussen (The Lock).

This is the main road east to and from downtown Stockholm called Stadsgårdsleden. Many of the cruise ships from Finland and Åland anchor here.

Believe it or not, but this is a pawnbroker business. The classiest one of those that Hans has ever seen anywhere.

Skanstull at the southern end of Södermalm (South Side), a majors traffic intersection, looking north.

This clock above the department store Åhléns has been there "forever" and is still going strong.

Approaching Carina and Perra's place in Hammarby Sjöstad through walking across one of three bridges over Hammarbykanalen (The Hammarby Canal). This is from the oldest and lowest.

Stockholm is clearly in the middle of building boom. There is construction work going on "everywhere". This will become a new depot housing buses for the Stockholm public transport authority.

A map of Hammarby Sjöstad. Carina and Perra live at Lugnets Alle 56, top centre. Hans was coming in from the bottom from the west.

A few pics along Hammarbykanalen.

This is a free local commuter ferry. Not a long distance to cover, but nevertheless a stretch of water between Hammarby Sjöstad and towards the city centre.

Clouds were approaching... Time now is just after 5pm and it's getting darker fast.

So, finally at the home of Carina and Perra. Their apartment is huge, lovely and only a little more than 3 years old. Carina, being the never ending organizer, had of course prepared everything beforehand. It all looked and tasted great.

Perra arrived a little bit later and sat down with us for the meal. Then phone calls and suddently there was somebody at the door. In came Kenny Lidman, a bloke Hans worked with around 1985 and definitely had not seen since leaving for Australia in 1988. Carina had tried to organise a few surprise appearances for Hans, and unfortunately only Kenny could come. What a nice surprise :-)

We finish off with a couple of around the table pics, with from the left Kenny, Carina and Perra (Carina's husband if that had not been explained earlier).

And from the other side...

Mike had graciously offered to pick up Hans from Hammarby Sjöstad as public transport from Hammarby Sjöstad to Vårberg can be a bit cumbersome particularly at night, so Mike arrived some time after 10pm. Kenny came along for parts of the ride as he lives along the way.

A huge day for Hans and he was very tired by the time he got to bed closer to midnight... After a final beer with Mike, of course. Good night.


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