Arrival

Thanks to JJ’s excellent instructions, it wasn’t too hard to overcome the first hurdle and find a way to the city centre. The airport coach flygbussarna travels quite frequently between Arlanda and the city centre. Due to some promotion, we got tickets for 2 for 150 SEK.

After getting to T Centralen, the next step was to figure out how to take the metro to the school and find the accommodation office. Which way to go was easy, how to pay was not. A quick enquiry told us that the 30 day pass costs 690SEK, while a single trip costs 40 SEK. We only wanted to go 4 stops, $8 seemed like quite a ripoff. However, we didn’t have so much cash easily accessible, it was carried in a travel pouch. Taking stuff from a travel pouch in public is most awkward, so we went to look for a toilet. Turns out that toilets costs 10 SEK (S$2). Considering I try to avoid 10 cent toilets, this was quite a large sum of money. At least it was a very clean toilet, unlike most of the 10 cent ones, which are usually dirtier than the free ones.

The 30 day pass allows for unlimited travel on all SL transport, be it buses, the metro, regional trains etc etc. It’s really great, especially for us to make many short trips. It’s actually the adult price, we can’t buy the student one without a union card. No silly 4 train ride restriction here.

Moving a 30+ kg suitcase around a train station was still manageable, except for the lifts, which are quite different. They have a couple of buttons labelled in Swedish. One probably says ground floor while the other says upper floor or something like that. There’s something that looks like a door open button and a few which look like emergency buttons. There’s only 1 door at each level, so there’s no door on the lift itself and you can see the walls move right beside you. The main problem was figuring out how to get the door to do what we wanted. But somehow we did it and got ourselves to the school’s accomodation office.

To us people who live in the tropics, snow is a wonderful novelty, and cobbled streets are quintessentially European. All very nice for photos and experience, but just try pulling a 30kg wheeled suitcase uphill on a snowy cobbled street. No fun at all. You’ll feel hot inside because of the exertion, and cold outside because it’s snowing.

Getting the key was straightforward enough, now it was back to the metro station to take the train 1 stop further to where the accommodation is located. It’s not exactly within walking distance, and certainly not with 40kg of luggage. Incidentally, the lift there was broken, so we had the challenge of getting the luggage onto the escalator without it rolling all the way down.

My room is on the 4th floor in a building with no lift. I happened to meet the caretaker while trying to heft 30kg up 1 step at a time. He helped me carry it up, using just 1 hand. At the top, I tried the security code but it didn’t work, so he helped me to open the door too. Good thing I met him. I found out later when returning to the accommodation office that they had given me the wrong code. If I hadn’t met him I would have been stuck outside.

The previous owner had left quite a bit of useful stuff in the room, including a LAN cable. I plugged it in and was able to get online right away. Not everyone is so lucky. So here’s the first picture I took in Sweden.

View from window

View from window

Ok strictly speaking it’s the second. The first was slightly underexposed due to the snow. Other useful stuff includes a table lamp, working window blinds, toilet paper, hangers, a small pillow, a full length mirror and some other stuff. Not so useful stuff includes a bedsheet of unknown cleanliness, a green and black blanket with black spots on the green which are not part of the design, a large pillow which won’t fit into my pillowcase and again, some other stuff.

You can see a photosynth of my room at here. A download is necessary. No idea if it works for a Mac.

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