Read here about my other trip to Stockholm: Eating Rudolph in Stockholm
Cabin crew have two types of main duty, namely flying with all it incurs and standby, which means you sit with your suitcases packed not knowing where you might go, mainly everybody’s dream. I remember always wanting to go to the airport and get a last minute ticket to whatever is available. Here, it happens a few days a month, the difference being that hotel and driver is arranged for and besides you are paid to go.
Earlier this month when I was in my pajamas in the house doing small things when I found out I was going to spend my weekend from Saturday to Monday in Stockholm, Sweden, a destination I had on my list, but not at the top.
However, anything is better than staying in the house. I remember the urge to always go back in the days – I would say: “I want to go anywhere, anywhere, even if it’s s***y, I just want to go”.
Probably this is how I ended up a cabin crew. Lately, I have been giving it some thought and even as a kid I liked round windows, not square, I wanted to be on the move, by any means, but the car did not fancy me. Every weekend we would drive to my grandparents village and I was looking stunned at the training riding parallel to us. I wanted to be in the train and not once have I asked my father to put me on the train and pick me up at last station, no understanding how lucky I was to ride in a car rather than being in the not so clean or air conditioned summer trains.
Then I went in my first excursion with my ballet group to put up a show in Budapest, Hungary and I saw the first by the highway gas station. It was a dream, clean, with sensor doors, clean toilets and selling plush toys, colorful sweets. I don’t know why it marked me so much, it was probably in my 8-9 years old eyes the quintessence of life on the move, a life that I continuously longed for ever since.
When I was almost 10 I traveled by train first time. I remember perfectly – with Malev (rest in peace) from Budapest to London. My mom had packed a huge bag of sandwiches and sweets and fruit for the 8 hours bus ride to the airport. I could not stop eating, that’s how nervous I was.
When they’re small kids want to become policemen, nurses. I don’t know what I wanted to become, but I started having this thoughts that I was going to survive a war and a plane crash. The idea was that I was going to survive.
So, fair enough, my first flight went excellent until, for the first time in the history of …somebody, the computers went down and we had no connection with the airport where we were going to land. All aircraft were diverted to Amsterdam but us, because we did not have enough fuel. As always, I was the youngest and they did not let me know, so I did not care much. However, we were going to encircle London until we would eventually run out of gas. My parents found out from the news. Ever since, every time I flew as a passenger something happened – canceled flight, 12 hours delay, change of route, diverting, name it. And I flew quite a few times, but not a lot.
So I am in Arlanda Airport and I’m pulling my suitcase and trolley in my uniform waiting to arrive at a bus that will take us to the hotel, as usual. Then we arrive in a lobby and start checking in. It’s the first time I am staying at an airport hotel, but it’s quite convenient.
They say the worst day of flying is better than a day at the office and I didn’t believe it until today when I barely made to the airport and had a general bad mood besides having slept just for a few hours. The flight was great and in a blink of an eye I was in Stockholm in a cozy hotel trying my outfits for Saturday night out. Some days are better than others but (literally) at the end of the day you are in an amazing destination and nothing compares to that. On the white wardrobe in the hotel room it is written it’s the inside that matters and on the black hangers it’s written with white letter you look good in this. The papers in the room wish me to have a good day and I do.
It’s already late in the evening, but I’m thinking to go to the city for dinner. Then I realize it’s not worth it so I opt for dinner in the airport. I see a girl who looks like one of my colleagues – my eternal problem is that I do not recognize he girls when outside the uniform so I say hi to all the young pretty girls in the hotel. This time we were in the airport. She was looking at me, too.
The chick was fancy and was wearing a Prada bag, a jacket with fur hoodie and cream Chanel flats. She told me she had also wanted to go for dinner but the restaurants are fully booked for one month ahead. Then she told me they are Michelin star and I was thinking how she thought she would find a table. Thank God, there is someone like me here! I’m so sick of the ones not going out of the room to save.
We went together to what looked like the fanciest place around called “On My Way”. I took a grilled trout with poached eggs and smoked mussel brandade and she chose fresh salmon.
I took a glass of Devil’s Corner Pinot Grigio and she went for Moet. Too fancy for me. We were both wearing red blouses and had long dark hair.
At the table next door there is a 60+ year old and I spot him immediately. He is listening to us in front of his bear. Finally, he asks us where we are from and we say we are tourists. Then he says he works for Boeing. I could guess since he sat down he has been in the army, which he confirms later in our discussion. He lives around the world and has been everywhere. Bangkok – 30 years ago. Myself – 1 month ago. And so on. Then he leaves. The girl does not understand much.
We go to the lobby cozy bar and have another glass of wine, then we say goodnight. I go in my room and wait for the night, but here is almost never-ending day light, so I go to sleep. The picture was taken at about 2 AM.
Second day I wake up to go to the city. Since the rest is veery late, I go alone. It’s cold. That’s not surprising since we are in the Northern hemisphere. What’s shocking for me is that I am dressed with a jumper, jacket and coat, over the knee boots, scarf on my head and the blondies here are in T-shirt and flip flops. Apparently they take summer seriously.
The wonders of human perspective: in South Africa there were 20 degrees and it was winter (and they also took winter seriously wearing boots and furs); in Sweden there were about the same and it was summer.
The expressArlanda train takes 20 min to Central Station in Stockholm and runs 100% on renewable energy at a speed of over 200 km/h.
I missed the evergreen forests and clean air. Even more I missed wearing my over the knee high heel boots. Of course, I wore them in Doha, too because if I want to do something I just do. There’s 20 degrees and I feel it’s winter. For these people it’s summer.
Sweden is a civilized country and I could tell by the passengers, but I don’t think is a friendly one to live in.
Who are the Swedish? That people that is good at architecture and design and that writes with the o with two dots on top.
When is the last time you did something for the first time? I don’t know when is the last time I did something that was not for the first time.
From the Central Station, the old side of the city called Gamla Stan is a few minute walk, by the water. Actually Stockholm is bridges and water.
If you want to see the city hall it is 2 minutes away from the station.
Gamla Stan is charming with narrow paved streets, in a labyrinth of shops, restaurants and ice cream in freshly made waffles places.
The buildings here as old as the 13th century and the island has the atmosphere of a palace story. Actually the Royal Palace is also here.
To get here you have to get on another island which you can see from the Palace and from there cross the bridge that has a royal crown on it to get to another island where the museum is located.
Again my heart was filled with joy – Matisse (all-time favorite),
My mother taught me to go right in museums. After admiring the art pieces I sat down in the reading area with a book about Yayoi. I only read one page and loved her more. She is from a well off family and her family was against her moving to the States, a country she says she owes her success. Then, most importantly, I found out she could see young auras of plants and people. God has so many ways of expression. All.
I’m drinking a coffee in the coffee shop of the museum looking at the museum store and at the people, as usual. The rain started exactly when I got into the museum and stopped when I went out. This is how lucky I am. But for any case, I have rain shoes in my bag. Then I choke on some amazing different aromas of caramel and chocolate and leave. I’m thinking a classy man takes you to the museum café or opera restaurant.
On the other side of museum island there was a Sunday fair and there is where the boats are parked to be admired by visitors like me who walk by the water.
- I just came to visit, I said.
- This is what scares me most…
- I’m a …tourist
- They sent you here!
- I am glad to see you, I cut him off. Why did you call?
- Why did you tell me you were here?
- Because I knew you’d call. See you in Bucharest in a few days.
We love and hate each other at the same time.
I walk the streets and stare at the roots of the little girls. How can you be so blonde? White…
I continue walking as I don’t want to go home yet. I’m in the square of the Nobel Museum which is very beautiful. There is a cocktail bar there with all sorts of chemistry bottles with drinks throwing flames and smoke. I choose something classier and I’m having an award winning wine and cheese platter in the Stockholm “summer” while listening to…Abba (there is also an Abba museum in Stockholm). How more Swedish can this get?
Then I remove the scarf from my head and go home passing by the Nobility House in Stockholm, a beautiful place. I was going to have a drink in the sky bar of the Radisson Viking, but I changed my mind and went back home (at the hotel, my home worldwide).
Even in the room I feel cold and I’m under two penguin feather thick covers and watch TV. CNN and BBC as usual. I find out the Romanian prime minister…I don’t even care, then I find a movie. The kind of dozen movie, full with clichés, but exactly what I needed.
For me Stockholm is to tranquil, to calm, to peaceful, it is good to charge your batteries, like I did, but I would go nuts here. It is also an expensive place, but there have been years since I looked how much something costs when I am in holiday (only roughly of course).
If you ever visit and want to eat fancy, go for Frantzen (www.restaurantfrantzen.com) currently closed down until August 13, reservations taken up to 60 days in advance, Mathias Dahlgren (http://www.mdghs.se/) closed until August 4, Café Opera for clubbing (age limit 20 sometimes 23).