Well, Stockholm wasn't a real travel priority when we came to the UK, but once we saw fares for 79p, we decided we may as well. Once taxes and fees were added, it came to about £50 return in total for the two of us! Although it does make you wonder how Ryanair can operate for this sort of price, we decided who are we to argue!
The obvious catch was, that to get these fares you had to travel at ungodly hours of the morning each way.
So we arose early on the Sat and catch the bus out to Stansted, then spent Saturday looking about the old part of Stockholm. We were lucky with the weather, which apparently can be dodgy at this time of the year - so we could spend plenty of time outside looking about.
Although it was sunny, it was still cold - so we were able to walk over the frozen lake. Pretty trippy standing next to big ships stuck in the ice. Also somewhat disconcerting when you heard ominious cracking sounds from time to time (we heard later that only tourists walk on the ice at this time of the year and they lose a few every now and again!).
Another amusing story from Sat was the guardsmen and the castle. They were just standing about, so I told Korina to go stand next to one of them so I could take a picture. She was too far away so I told her to move closer to the guard. Unexpected the guard wheeled around shouted "HALT" and gave Korina a big fend. He then pointed to the ground, and hidden by a layer of snow we could see a semi-circle which we were apparently not able to enter.
5 mins later there was another guard standing near some cannons. This time Korina thought she would take a picture of me - but as I was aware of the "semi-circle of exclusion" I was looking for it. Unfortunately it did not exist, so we went through the whole halt and fend routine again.
After looking around a few museums and the like, we then decided to check out our hostel before dinner. Turns out it was on a big yacht - which was pretty strange (and painful if you were not awake to the low ceilings!). Pretty amusing all the same.
We then caught up with Henrik, Ingvar and Hanna - my friends from snowboarding in Canada. They took us out on the town - and we were surprised by how easy it felt to fit in. We've been to a few European countries now - and of all of them, I reckon Sweden feels the most like NZ. The people are friendly and relaxed, interested in talking to you in the pub and speak better English than a lot of the people I've met in the UK!
After quite a few beers, Henrik, Korina and I finished up with a dodgy kebab before calling it a night.
Sunday was a mixture of a few surprisingly good museums (one with an old sailing ship that had been raised from the floor of the harbour after 400 years) and a rather boring zoo type park. The park might have been better during summer - but in winter many of the scandanvian animals were hibernating. The Elk and Pole Cat were pretty cool though. Mum has a saying about 'ponging like a pole cat' - but I can now testify to the fact that they do not actually smell...
We finished the weekend with a nice meal out - we were trying to find some Swedish food - but it didn't really exist - most were kind of fusion restaurants which again were similar to those that you get in NZ.
Overall I guess Sweden was not really what we expected, but we had a great weekend all the same!