Click Here to see Sweden Videos

On the 15th August 2008 I took flight SK404 departing Copenhagen at 11.25 a.m. and arriving at Arlanda International airport, Sweden at 12.35 p.m. It was a small but clean airport located about 40 kms. from city of Stockholm. I found passengers from different parts of the world including those from Indian sub-continent. I also found posters of great tennis stars and other sportsmen and sportswomen of Sweden at the airport. Later, while travelling in the city it was confirmed that Stockholm has become home for people from different parts of the world in spite of its apparent remoteness from main route of Asia, Europe and America.

I had thought that Sweden had English as its lingua franca and Euro as its prevailing currency. But my both presumptions were betrayed. At the airport I had to convert my Euro currency into Swedish Kroner for which forex counter charged 25 Swedish Kroner for every transaction. I got some Swedish Kroner and purchased airport shuttle transfer ticket at 199 SEK. The mini bus started exactly at 1.30 pm and after a pleasant drive reached the hotel Clarion Stockholm located at Ringvagen. The mini shuttle bus had several facilities like free wireless internet and TV screens which flashed the news headlines. During my journey to the hotel it was flashed that Indian PM had announced that recent bombing at Indian embassy in Kabul had strained peace process going between India and Pakistan. It also flashed that Pakistan President Musharraf might resign instead of facing impeachment in Parliament.

I reached my hotel comfortably. I had got my room reserved before leaving Copenhagen. After settling in comfortably I got ready to go out. Though I was tired a bit but I decided to avail of the remaining half day of my arrival for sightseeing as I was there foronly twonights.

Stockholm is a vibrant city. It is also known as the capital of Scandinavia. It is located at the Baltic Sea which makes the city more beautiful and enjoyable to inhabitants and visitors. Stockholm is located in the middle of Scandinavia. It is considered a green, clean and friendly city and is beautifully located on the shores of Baltic Sea. It contains 20 percent population of Sweden. Stockholm county has 1.92 million inhabitants and Stockholm city had 782, 885 inhabitants. Stockholm city has about 1,000 parks which is about 30 percent of the city’s area.

According to the Mercer cost of living survey, Stockholm is the cheapest capital in Scandinavia to live in. In my experience it was as costly as most of the capitals of Europe and costlier than most of the capitals of Asia.

The infrastructure for mobile and land based sound, image and data communication is world class.

Stockholm’s Archipelago consists of about 27,000 islands. Stockholm city consists of about 14 big islands.

For tourists the places to visit are Royal Castle, Wasa Museum, Old Town and Djurgarden.

Just outside my hotel was the Skanstull metro station. I bought a green line ticket for 40 SEK which was valid for one hour. I reached F Centralen Station which was central point in Stockholm. That was most important area for tourists. Near the famous Grand hotel there boat sightseeing officeis located by the sea. I walked down along the sea shore and reached the Town hall famous for hosting celebratory dinners after bestowing Nobel Prize awards. I took the historic canal tour for 140 SEK. The boat cruise of about fifty minutes showed the history of Stockholm and various buildings located by sea shore. This tour took me around the islands of Kungsholmen, Langholmen and Reimersholme. On return from cruise I visited Town Hall and took evening tea at the famous restaurant Stadshus Kallaren where the Noble Prize reception is organized. Linda, the manager happily served me tea and also took my photographs in this restaurant. There were several groups who were also eating there just for fun and remembrance. In Blue Room there is arrangement for serving actual menu as prescribed for Nobel Prize reception.

On way to the tube station I watched a performance at the amphitheatre culture centre. There were two important cultural festivals being organized where as one cultural festival was being held for general people another Young 08 was being organized for teenagers and young people.

On 16th August 2008 I reached Gamla Stan tube station at 11.30 am. I had to meet Commodore Mann, Defence attaché in Embassy of India at the appointed time 1.30 pm. I came here much earlier hence I spent some waiting time at a restaurant where I enjoyed espresso coffee. Exactly at 1.30 pm, I reached the ticket counter ofGamla Stan tube station where he was waiting for me.

Commodore Mann was posted at Stockholm for the last three years. He became my guide for theday. He took me to the old town area. There are large number of souvenirs and gift shops and restaurants. The area depicts old cultural heritage as buildings retain their original designs and appearance. There were some shops of Indian handicrafts also. However, Chinese products were being sold both in Indian shops and other shops.

I visited the Nobel Museum where details about Alfred Nobel, selection of award for Nobel Prize and Noble Prize winners are available. In literature one book prominently displayed was Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, set prominently in India. Nearby is located the erstwhile house of Olof Palme who was killed when he was PM. Olof Palme, the then prime minister of Sweden who was killed was actually returning home after seeing a movie in one of the cinemas. I went to the spot where he was killed. I took tea in museum’s restaurant and visited concert the hall in central Stockholm Konsert Huset at Hotorget. There are cinema halls inside the building. The Nobel Prize award ceremony is held here.

I walked along with Commodore Mann from 1.30 pm to 6 pm and covered several places including Royal Palace, Parliament, Government Secretariat, etc.

Near Kultural Akedemie there was a demonstration organized by supporters of Georgia and Azerbaijan against the Russian occupation of Georgia. I witnessed the dance performance of young artists at Opera which is located near most attractive tourist place of Stockholm. Boys and girls in thousands watched the performance. This was a visible boy-girl friendship festival. There are several important land marks located near it, namely Royal Palace, Grand hotel, sightseeing by boat boarding point. I sat in a park bench for almost an hour and watched the setting sun over the sea.

There was enough day light even after 8 pm. I walked to the underground Central Station. It was again near Kultural house I watched colourful dancing processions of several countries like Brazil, Latino and Caribbean. The samba dance on road was a huge crowd puller. There was vast media coverage and people stopped to see dance processions of the countries during cultural festival.

On 17th August 2008I got up early morning even before wakeup call on both television and telephone at 6 am. I took time to leisurely get ready for travel. The front desk manager Maria was very helpful in allowing free calls to my wife. At 10 am. I boarded airport shuttle mini bus which charges 199 SEK. It was a raining and cloudy day. The driver of my shuttle car told me that his brother, an engineer in Ericsson married an Indian girl of Hyderabad. His sister-in-law is a relation of Diana, a former Miss World. He told that Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are his popular Indian film stars. He also told that his sister-in-law feels uncomfortable in climate of Stockholm as weather during winter is too cold for an Indian and also there is long night during winter season. He also told me that never trust weather and girls of Stockholm and Sweden. Here girls change their boyfriends very fast. There is less marriage ceremony.

I reached the airport in drizzling rain and inclement weather. As the boarding was to start after about one and half hour I spent the waiting time at CIP lounge. I sent an e-mail to my wife about my travel. From the lounge window I watched the scene of tarmac where aircrafts of SAS, Air France were parked.

At the Arlanda airport immigration passport control I chanced to present my passport to a women Muslim police official attired in hijab, black head scarf. She is Masooma who originally hailed from Mazagaon, near Bombay and married to a Kenyan of Indian origin. She told me that there used to be restriction on use of scarf in police and government offices but not anymore. I complimented her for living with her culture. I took flight TK 1794 to reach Istanbul. It was 2.40 pm but the aircraft was taxing for taking off. The scheduled time of departure was 2.10 pm. The flight took off at 2.45 pm. The flight duration of Stockholm to Istanbul is 3.10 hours. As the flight took off there was bright sun shine. I got a copy of today’s ‘Sunday Zaman’ in English.

Be the first to comment on "VISIT TO SWEDEN"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.