2011 Jan 11 | Stockholm - flying, first days

On the flight to Chicago, this group of 5 people was late, so they were holding the plane for them. In the meantime, some other woman showed up, said she was late, and the gate agents said it was too late and she'd have to re-book. Then 5 minutes later this group showed up and they were let on. Weird.

I'm watching you guys; don't throw my suitcase.

Big iced-over lake.


Looking the other way.

A big peace sign, I guess?

Not gonna exchange any money here; it's like a $10 surcharge on $50.

This was annoying: all these people jumped in line as soon as they started boarding, but they boarded by rows. So even though these people had to wait for like four other groups to go through first, they just stood there blocking the way. Honestly, you have an assigned seat; settle down. At worst, you'll have to stow your carry-on a little ways away from you.

That's an interesting suitcase.

Uh oh; we've been sitting on the runway a long time getting de-iced and I only have a 1.5-hour layover.

Pawn Stars was on the TV in the plane for a bit.

I got the last beef meal.

Push, tailwind, push!

It's a bit chilly outside.

"Mmmph. Goway, light." The hood on my new coat from Lucy helped me sleep. :)

We're over land, which means if we crash, at least I won't have to row.


Almost up.

And we're in Munich.

Gotta run over to Lufthansa and get another boarding pass since for some reason they couldn't do it earlier.

I kept thinking there would be a door here, but nope, you had to go around.

Taking the bus into Stockholm.

Nice little screen to block the sun.

Maja met two of us to give us our keys as the place you normally would get keys was closed.

My room.

That's a rather small bed. And the posts give it a jail-cell vibe.

The shower is just a part of the room.

Well, I guess it's nice they left that here.

Another little gift.

The view from my window.

Uh oh, got a sliver from the dowel in the dresser already. Thankfully I brought some needles.

Dumb me. You know how when you carry paper in your mouth, you curl your lips inward because otherwise the paper gets wet and sticks to your lips? Yeah, guess who didn't curl his lips enough.

The kitchen, which is surprisingly well-equipped.

Dining area in the kitchen.

Uh oh, these came along with me in my luggage. Probably shouldn't keep them sitting around.

The path to the dorms is pretty icy.

Since I don't have a PIN number for my credit card, they have to have me sign the slip and then write down my date of birth on it, which makes using it a bit more of a pain.

Central Station.

Another view.

The little internet kiosks I used for the first day.

The laundry room, which you have to pre-book.

Some cleaning supplies; nice to have.

You have to switch the water between shower and faucet. I just know I'm gonna forget some day and soak myself while trying to brush my teeth.

The subway system (T-bana) is pretty good.

Some of the subway stations have art on them like Fridhemsplan.

Which obviously has a navy theme.

And a nice big boat.

Not sure what these are exactly.

But it's neat.

24-hour McDonald's, a pretty rare sight.

A Hostel close to the hospital.

A lot of the sidewalks are covered in ice, if there's a sidewalk at all. It really makes walking around tiring since you have to walk so carefully and differently.

Dumb pay toilets.

Tiny milk containers. Although it's not treated, so it has to be consumed within a week.

Lots of slush.

One of the labs at the optometry school, although they don't use it much anymore.

A poster of some of the faculty.

A hallway with some optometry exam rooms on each side and a student lounge at the end.

A computer lab for the students.

St. Erik Eye Hospital.

How I used the subway at first: a pass with 8 tickets.

It also worked for the bus.

The KI campus.

I had to walk over here.

To pay my rent. The dumb 500 kronor bills don't quite fit in a wallet, grr.

While paying rent, I met another student who mentioned some things to do around town. Nice.

I was running all over campus trying to find a way to get my Student Union membership so I could get the student discount subway ticket. However, the people I asked at the library said I wouldn't be registered as a student until the 14th, so I'd have to get a written letter from someone. Magdalena Palmqvist was who I was in contact with, and they said to ask her to write something, but as you can see, she wasn't around. I finally gave up and just took some of my documents to the subway station, hoping that would work.

The subways are called T-bana, and you find them with the little T sign.

There's always a long line at the SL Center at Central Station, but at least it's open late.

The Stockholm card, which looks like a really good deal when people come to visit. Free admission to tons of sites and free public transport.

The tourist center, where I went to grab free maps and brochures for things to do.

Central Station.

Drottninggatan street, which is closed to traffic and has a bunch of shops.

A market.

Lots of fruit.

And a statue.

El Giganten, where I was told I could get a pay-as-you-go phone.

Neat bridge.

Ouch, these cat5 cables are like $3 at Wal-Mart; the cheapest I could find them around here was for $30.

Huge line.

If you want service at most places, you have to take a ticket and wait in line.

Usually it moves fairly fast, though.

I just had them put the minutes on my phone for me since I had no idea what I was doing.

I got the phone for $30, which was a good deal considering the salesmen here said they were out of the cheap ones and the cheapest they had was $300.

A plug adapter, although it's not actually a power converter.

My awesome new phone, which sucks, especially since I'm so addicted to having the internet, especially Google Maps, on my phone all the time. I guess it's back to paper maps.

Hemtex, one of the big store for things like sheets.

┼hlÚns is a huge store.

Looking south from the Klarabergsviadukten bridge.



And east.

Some guys shoveling snow off the roof of a Central Station entrance.

They had someone below to keep people away.

Don't want to get covered in snow.

Glad that the plug adapter fits.

The girls across the hall were setting up their internet, too.

Booking a few hours in the sauna.

The basement is actually kinda scary.

Lots of bikes.

Even more. And there are 10-20 rooms just like this one.

This is the sauna. I couldn't find it, so I had to ask one of the maintenance guys where it was.

A long way down into the subway.

They have this candy at all the stores.

Some neat dresses.

That lady has a ton of cards.

Honestly, why is the 5-kronor coin in the middle of the sizes, between the 1 and the 10?

Finally got to central station to get my subway card, and the thankfully the guy accepted my documents and gave me this card which allowed me to buy the actual subway pass card from a little shop (I don't understand why some places do that; just sell the tickets and cards directly).

The elevator in the dorms doesn't have a double door, so you can see it moving up an down.

My pass for unlimited travel on the subway and buses.

Tons of scrubs.

Aw, my card won't let me into the workout room at the hospital.

This is annoying: I have to have two cards, one for the hospital and one for the optometry clinic.

80 SEK for a pizza and a drink? That's $11; seems a bit expensive for me, especially since it's a Dagens Lunch, which should be cheaper.

Oh, that's not a slice. Most of the other customers ate half and left the rest, but I'm an American, so I totally got a box. I'll make three meals out of this, which makes it more like $4 a meal; not bad.

Hey, my awesome phone has a game!

Moving jewels around.

That's pretty dangerous: the sidewalk is all icy, with undulations and holes everywhere.

To get from the hospital entrance to the optometry clinic, just follow the orange line.

When they shovel snow off a roof, they'll first section off the area below it and then have someone stand guard. When the lookout is sure nobody is close by, he'll blow a whistle so the guys on the roof know it's safe to shovel.

A woman running up these stairs. Runners are pretty bundled up.

Of course, all the stairs are only free of ice at the front half.

The sailboat Monika on a frozen river.

One of the cheap stores near the Fridhemsplan T-bana: Boutique Eden.

The have general items, like plates, although some are pretty neat.

And others are plain and cheap.

Lots of utensils, too.

And cups.

And tons and tons of leggins that look like jeans (they just call them leggins, not jeggins).

Might have to come back here if I find some people who wanna play poker.

Some neat watches.

More crazy leggings.

Myrorna, another store near Fridhemsplan T-bana, is a thrift store.

Tribal masks: yep, it's a thrift store.

Some stuff was pretty cheap, although a lot wasn't much cheaper than other low-priced stores places.

Lots of coats and boots.

ÍoB, another store with lots of general items.

Like plates.

Although they also have more household things, like hair dryers and irons.

Plus hardware.

Like hammers and such.

A little shoe store I stopped by at. Most people tend to wear some type of leather gloves, but I'm gonna have to shop around some more because I have no idea what's a good price or not for them. 250 SEK ($36) seems a bit expensive, though, at least for a cheapo like me.

Some of the doctors were wearing sandals in the hospital. 1199 SEK ($171) is insanely expensive for sandals, though.

Ah, that's more my price range. 150 SEK = $21.

Lidl, a German supermarket, is one of the cheapest.

Their funny carts that can either be carried by one handle or set on the ground and pulled by another one.

I see 5.99 and 6.19 and think 20 cents difference, but it's actually 3 cents, so who cares.

Hey, this is the good-smelling thing in my bathroom! I didn't know how to activate it, and I was scared of pressing anything too much in case it would explode. But now I figured out I can just press on the tip.

More of the croc-like shoes, although there's no price on these. I wonder if the ones at the shoe store were really cheap, really expensive, or about the same?

Oh, they call them clogs.

Lidl also has lots of random household goods.

The bigger grocery stores like Lidl are usually open around 9am-8pm, with slightly shorter hours on Saturday and Sunday. Smaller stores are usually more like 10am-6pm and closed on Sundays. Very few places are open really late at night.

This is a little path people have created so they don't have to walk down and then back up on the way to the dorms. I think of it as the path of death, though, because it's all icy, and the sides are a little less slippery than the middle, but they're bumpier, too. If you don't hear from me for a while, my body is probably lying here.

Aw, crap, I got screwed on the patch cable. I paid $30, and here's one for $10. Oh well; live and learn.

I like these compass directions in the subway stations.

They're even by the trains so you don't accidentally get on one going the wrong way.

A lot of people walk down the escalators, but not nearly as many walk up, and almost nobody walks up this one since it's below another subway and therefore really long.

It's annoying having to waste a whole pocket on a bag in case I need to do some shopping and the store doesn't have bags. Most of the bigger stores have bags, but the smaller ones often don't.

The stove has a neat switch which counts down so you can't accidentally leave it on all night.

Aw, cute baby corns. ^_^

My shelves in the kitchen.

I guess I'll use this shelf in the fridge.

Most people label their shelves.

A lot of cooking supplies.

A few more.

A lot waiting to dry.

Tons of spices, although no salt or pepper.

A lot more dishes here.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise: amazingly fast internet.