Sunday, July 4, 2010

Millenium Tour and a Loooong Train Ride Home

Saturday morning we awoke early to our fourth cruise through t
he Skärgården Archipelago in this week. It was still a beautiful sight to see as the sun rose over Scandanavia.

A quaint inter-island ferry

Shades of the Balboa Bay Ferry . . .

A Silja Lines sister ship leaving Stockholm

A nice place for a Summer home

So serene

When we arrived in Stockholm, we boarded a shuttle bus at the pier which went to the Central Train Station where we placed our luggage and our many new possessions into a pair of lockers. After lightening our load, we made an 11th hour assault on a few final sights in Sweden's capital.

Scrabble, anyone?

A triple word score if I ever saw one!

We took the #13 Metro into the Södermalm Island district of Stockholm and exited the Mariatorget Station by way of Wollmar Yxkullsgatan.

Why Södermalm you ask? Simple really, Laurie and I have now both read all of Stieg Larsson's wildly popular "Millenium Trilogy" books. We were turned on to these Swedish mystery books based on fictional characters living in Stocholm by our friends Mike and Susan D'Antuono.

Thus we decided to buy the City Walk map that takes you past 17 actual places that are in the three books.

Turn right down Bellmansgatan to . . .

Belmansgatan 1

It is the red brick building in the distance. One of the two co-stars of the trilogy, Mikael Blomkvist, lives here in an attic apartment with a view of the water and the Gamla Stan, Stockholm's Old Town.

In the books, the entrance to the building is at ground level but in reality the entrance is from the walkway over the street that you see here.

The view from Monteliusvägen

This is a view of Kungsholmen Island. The tall green roofed building in the middle of this picture is the Rådhuset, Stockholm's District Courthouse.

Mikael Blomkvist's Book I slander trial against Hans-Erik Wennerström and Lisbeth Salander's Book III legal competency trial both took place in this building.

Kungsholmen Island's Scenic Waterfront

Lundabron, the Lunda Bridge

Lisbeth Salander had a miserable childhood growing up on Lundagatan. She lives on this street in her mother's apartment.

The fastest way between Lisbeth's apartment and Mikael Blomkvist's apartment is over this bridge.

Hornsgatan 78

The Mellqvist Kaffebar is Mikael Blomkvist's hangout. It is here that Lisbeth asks Mikael for a loan of money to make an "investment."

It is also here that a love struck Lisbeth sees Mikael kiss Erika Berger, his long-time friend and mistress, sending Lisbeth into an emotional tailspin.

This was actually author Stieg Larsson's own hangout in the 1990s when Expo's editorial offices, where he worked, were in this same building.

"Two café lattes with love, please."

Time for a break, so we enjoyed two very appropriate beverages.

Check out that cute Swedish blond!!!

We decided that the rest of the Millenium sights were too far to walk to given our limited time before we caught the 2:21 p.m., SJ X2000 train back to Hässleholm, so instead after finishing our lattes, we walked three short blocks to Zinkensdamms Idrottsplats.

Why, you ask yet again?

The World Championship of
Women's American Football

That's why! Six countries, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the heavily favored Team USA, sent teams to Stockholm this week for this tournament.

Nice use of duct tape by the way.

Today was the final day of the tournament that started with two games of pool play for each team. There would be three games played today and cost only 100 Swedish Krona to get to see all of them. A great deal but we did not have the time, so we just watched about ten minutes of the fifth place game through the fence.

Team Sweden in traditional Yellow and Blue

With #84 at QB, Team Sweden had lost both of its two pool play games.

Team Sweden lost 12-6 to Team Canada in the opening round and then lost 14-0 to Team Germany.

Here they are playing Team Austria for fifth place. The red jerseyed Austrian team had also lost both of its pool play games. The Americans squad crushed them 63-0 and as did Finland 50-6.

A Slant Pass by the Swedes

An Option by Team Sweden


Team Sweden about to hand off the ball on a Reverse. They picked up about 20 yards on this play.

Sweden (1-2) went on to beat Austria (0-3) by a score of 20-18 to take home the Fifth Place Green Ribbon.

In the Third Place game, Finland (2-1) beat Germany (1-2) 26-18 to take home the Bronze Medal.

In the Championship Game, Team USA (3-0) demolished Team Canada (2-1) 66-0 to bring home the Gold!

Team USA also beat the Finnish team 72-0 in its second pool play game to rampage through the World Championships by an aggregate score of 201-0!

It was the World Championship of Women's AMERICAN Football afterall.


Sweden's Fun Loving,
Ice Cream Eating Couple

Södermalm's Hornsgatan

This is one of two big shopping streets that runs the length of this island.

I love Ost!

Hammer Time!

But what is he hitting?


A Sea Serpent with snot flying out of its nostrils!!!

Tom Tits Experiment???

I'm sorry this didn't come out clearer but I was on a moving escalator. Tom FitzGerald apparently has influence even in Stockholm.

For more information, go to:

On a unrelated entertainment note, we also found a handbill for a Rock Concert called "Life of Bellman - Rockmusikalen" playing at the Ulriksdals Slott in Solna.

Carl Michael or Richard Bellman, which one's life? I'm not sure.

For more information, go to:


It is Saturday afternoon, it is July 1st, tourists are all over the place and the Stockholm Central Train Station is alive. Time to end our week long vacation with the three hour and 41 minute train ride home to Hässleholm.

A Oasis of Calm

Still, this young traveler was able to find some level of serenity amid the chaos.

Hey, look up here!

Uh, oh!

The 14:21 train to Malmö and Copenhagen via Hässleholm is delayed to 14:30. It would be further delayed until 14:56 due to mechanical problems.

We chugged our way along relatively slowly falling farther and farther behind schedule.

Finally, it happened!

The train, the venerable SJ X2000 train, completely broke down in the town of Stockaryd about 175 km (110 miles) north of Hässleholm. That's Stockaryd through the trees.

We sat on the now non-air conditioned train for over three hours until the decision was made to unload all of the passengers onto the tracks, about a five foot drop from the last step of the train car.

At Last, FRESH Air!!!

We then walked about 400 meters down the tracks with our bags in tow, another 200 meters through a vacant dirt lot and onto a bus.

Our Train's Lead Conductor

Competent, helpful but definitely stressed!

At 9:30 the bus pulled out of Stockaryd and we were hungry and now came to grips with two painful facts.

First, by the time we got to Hässleholm it would be way past 10:00 p.m., the magic hour when everything in town closes and secondly, we had no food at home since we systematically shopped and ate last week with our one week absence from Icelandia clearly in mind.

We mused how a smart restaurant owner would stay open until 1:00 a.m. and clean up but no such person existed in our community.

What the . . .???

Our bus pulled into the Hässleholm Central Station at 12:02 a.m., only six and a half hours late!

Suddenly, there it was across from the train station, the new Subway restaurant that only opened up a few weeks ago and it was OPEN!

It turns out that they stay open until 4:00 a.m. everyday, WE WERE SAVED!!!

Thus ended a great vacation week around the Baltic Sea.



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