Exactly as I had written earlier, we planned on, and succesfully woke up uncomfortably early to catch our plane that was to leave Oslo at 7:40 a.m.
I got up at 5:00 a.m., but the guys got up even earlier than that to shower. We checked out of our hostel close to 6:00 a.m. and walked to the train station where we purchased tickets for the high speed train, which was conveniently leaving in ten minutes once we had purchased our tickets. If my memory serves me, the tickets cost about 80 SEK for the student rate.
Once we arrived at the Oslo Airport (about twenty minutes later) we printed off our baggage tags and actually self scanned our bags onto the waiting conveyer belt and away they went. I am not used to doing these types of things by myself because usually someone at the airline counter helps me. This was obvious by the mangled way my luggage tag was attached.
Surprisingly there was a Starbucks coffee at Oslo Airport! Of course I needed to get myself some coffee from this American brand, and got a grande skinny caramel mochiatto, but only because my usual drink of choice was not offered. I had to hurry to drink it because the guys were worried about getting through security and getting to our gate. Actually, we arrived right at the gate as it was boarding. I did not get to enjoy my coffee so much, not to mention my coffee plus muffin cost 100 SEK! Um, ouch?
The flight itself was only fifty minutes, so it wasn’t too bad, but bad enough to elevate my anxiety about flying… aaand squeeze in a quick cat nap. Not every seat was full either so Iwan, who was sitting next to me, scooted over so that I could have two seats to myself. Deja vu?
Once we were back on Swedish ground we bought tickets for the Swebus which was what the lady at the information desk recommended we take into town. Unfortunately this bus only left every hour and we had narrowly missed one right as we got there, so we ended up waiting around at the airport until the next one came. From there, the ride from the airport to the bus terminal was about 35 minutes (and another good napping opportuity).
The bus terminal as well as Stockholm Central are located conveniently near the downtown area as well as all of the mega shopping stores, including the largest Ahlens in Scandinavia. I made my way to Scorett because the boots I bought last Saturday in Umea were coming apart. I mean literally, the sole was completely separating from the boot, and my socks were starting to get wet! I explained my situation to the girl working and she gave me a receipt to visit a shoe repairman just a minute away whose “set up” was located beneath Ahlens near the underground. I ended up going on a bit of a wild goose chase trying to find this man, but eventually was able to locate his shop, mainly because I went back to Scorett and got more detailed directions. It took me thirty minutes to find this man and only three minutes for my shoes to get fixed. Typical. But, I will definitely have them looked at once more when I return home; something tells me another layer of glue is not going to last.
Before this, I parted ways with the guys because they were complaining about walking around with their suitcases. Really? I had a heavy duffle bag and a backpack and was more than ready to see what I could of Stockholm during this short time. Honestly though, I would rather be by myself than have to listen to a bunch of complainers.
After getting my shoes fixed I went to a grocery store to pick up some fresh produce and snacks for the next few days. As I was walking around I kept joking with myself how funny it would be if someone tried to pickpocket me because I had buried my wallet beneath my bananas and clementines. Now that would be an interesting surprise for someone.
I ate lunch at a delicious little restaurant/cafe and had a salmon filet over a bed of couscous with a side salad. The guys had Max Burger.
Once I had a new spring in my step and a full tummy I walked around the downtown area for a bit and burned a few hours before I was supposed to meet back up with Iwan and Joe. Naturally there were a gazillion people because of all the after Christmas sales that were going on, and trudging through stores with my duffle bag hitting people’s rear ends was not ideal. I gave up on the mall area and went back to the bus terminal for some yogurt and a cookie. And… bought an emergency magazine for the ferry ride. One never knows what to expect with these things.
After Iwan, Joe and I had all reconvened, we bought tickets for the bus that would take us to the ferry and on to Helsinki! (You cannot actually buy bus tickets for the bus on the bus. Weird! And For a youth ticket it cost 20 SEK, whereas in Umea it only cost me 13 SEK. Tough luck.) A lot of people use the bus, and it was a madhouse with people rushing on and off constantly. Through all the jackets and scarves I was able to take in the scenery of Stockholm which looks like an absolutely beautiful city. Can you believe I have not been here yet to visit? Me either. I would prefer returning in the summertime though to experience such wonderful Swedish summers and leisurely strolls through all of the picturesque streets. With my secret lover perhaps?
We made it to the ferry line well ahead of time and met our tour director whose name is Dalia. Then we got on the ferry and settled into our cabin before exploring more of this ship, which is actually more like a cruise than a ferry. (Photos to come.)
Of course the guys ditched me the minute I wanted to go look at something that they did not, so I made my way back to some computers that have access to the internet to write this post. I am getting quite fed up with how I feel like I am being treated with them…
I just heard on the intercom that there should be some type of entertainment tonight, so maybe they would be interested in going to see that when the time comes. Unless they ditch me again before it starts.
All in all it has been a long day with a lot of traveling and walking around, but it has also been a day full of accomplishments and new adventures. Tomorrow we will arrive in Helsinki and enjoy a walking tour of the city and then I think we will have some free time in the afternoon before taking another ferry (most likely a less fancy ferry) to our next destination, Estonia.
Well I am off to find either Iwan and Joe or some dinner. Probably dinner.