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Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm’

So we’ve had another couple of days with temperatures below -15 C. In Stockholm. The capital. It’s crazy cold. At least if you’re stuck outside for a bit. 

But it’s also bright and clean, courtesy of the snow and ice! 

Of course, it also creates problems, noticeable on our morning commute. We caught the tube to work, like we always do, only today – when I had somewhere to be at a set time – it took more than twice the usual time. Apparently because of the cold. Rubbish trains. You’d think we should have trains and rails that could handle cold, no?

If I still lived in the city I’d try and somehow make the newest form of transport in Stockholm part of my morning commute: the boat between Norr- and Södermälarstrand! 

How glorious does it look?!  

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There’s much to be done to spruce up this place, but given the view – let’s just say it has potential! September 21st it’s ours!

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School’s out

The tradition in Stockholm is to, on the day of your graduation, travel the city streets on an open truck bed with your classmates, all the while drinking beer and dancing to ridiculously loud music.

It’s a bit of a nuisance, but at least this year they don’t spray us passing by with beer…

"Untz-untz-untz..." Just iagine the bass as they slowly drive past.

“Untz-untz-untz…” Just iagine the bass as they slowly drive past.

Notice the wet track behind the truck? That's beer. You sell these trucks way before you see them.

Notice the wet track behind the truck? That’s beer. You smell these trucks way before you see them.

A somewhat sunnier day (apologies for the crappy pictures, I was biking), outside the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

A somewhat sunnier day (apologies for the crappy pictures, I was biking), outside the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

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Seriously. This isn’t cool. No one wants to come home looking like a drenched cat.

I know we’ve all been desperate for spring, but this – rain – was not what I’d bargained for.

Here’s hoping for a sunny tomorrow.

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It’s been a glorious sunny day here in Stockholm today. We set out for a long walk in the afternoon, and we certainly weren’t alone! It seemed like literally everyone was out walking, skating and shuffling along. It was nice to get out and get our minds off the ever present topic of the IVF, and whether it’s been successful or not. I took some shots of my beautiful city for you (I love my iPhone5!) – enjoy!

From Stockholm with love!

From Stockholm with love!

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“Brace yourselves. Winter is coming”. Is what someone ought to have told us last week, because – BAAM!! – here it is. On Friday morning as I left home in my 6 am cab I was greeted by a beautiful layer of snow. By the evening, when I arrived back home from Gothenburg, rather delayed i might add, there was a lot more snow on the ground. And that’s when the temperature started dropping. On Saturday I had my long-johns on for the annual Christmas market, and on Sunday – whoa! – temperatures dropped below -10 C.

Gorgeous view on my way to work on Tuesday morning. But cold, -13 C, 8 F.

Gorgeous view on my way to work on Tuesday morning. But cold, -13 C, 8 F…

However the really heavy snowfall didn’t start until yesterday evening. A and I were slip-sliding around on the city streets, and ended up catching the bus instead of the quicker tube just so we could skip 100 metres of the walk home. But this morning, oh boy, talk about waking up to a winter wonderland! The snow has been dumping down all day, the airports are closed, buses aren’t running, the tube is irregular – the system is almost entirely shut down. And you know what? I LOVE IT!!!

It’s so awesome to get a reminder that we’re really not in control of anything, at least not when it matters. Nature runs this ship, called Earth.

The view from my office window - notice the woman, bottom left, shovelling to get her car out? She'd been at it for an hour...

The view from my office window – notice the woman, bottom left, shovelling to get her car out? She’d been at it for an hour…

Walking home was a bit of an adventure. I didn’t walk the whole way (thank God), but figured I might as well hit some shops and give the snow plows a chance to catch up. The shops were deserted – it was like I was the last person in town – woohoo!

Almost home! On top of the hedge you can see how much snow we've had - today! And the bikers...see them? Crazy!

Almost home! On top of the hedge you can see how much snow we’ve had – today! And the bikers…see them? Crazy!

Down below are some more pictures of Stockholm in it’s beautiful brand new white coat!

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Saturday just past my sister, also my bridesmaid, and I went dress shopping in Stockholm. Not just for any old dress, but for my wedding dress!

The only dress with straps (too long ones). Unfortunately too short, but look at the figure!

We headed to the shop Bröllopsbutiken, on St Eriksgatan, where my sister bought her dress 9 years ago. We figured we’d start there, but I might as well confess right off that we didn’t make it to any other wedding shop.

We got there at the same time as another bride-to-be and her two friends (possibly bridesmaids), and there was another girl with future husband in the shop. It wasn’t a particularly big shop, nothing like the ones you see in North America, but it had eight racks of dresses in different styles, so there was still plenty to choose from.

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos when trying the dresses on 😦 only if we decided on buying one, so the pictures I have we took when the staff weren’t looking.

In total I tried on five dresses. I said right away I was after something with lace, but not a strapless dress. Well, fashion being what it is, essentially all wedding dresses are strapless right now, so I wasn’t exactly spoilt for choice in that aspect. All of one out of the five had straps. Oh well.

Possible future order…

At first we browsed through all the dresses, deciding on where to start. I’m quite a big girl (in spite of weigh-in-Wednesdays), size 12-ish, and most of the dresses were unfortunately size 6-8, so not a perfect fit. What I quickly realized however is that lace up backs work magic; I got such an hourglass figure when the lady laced me up, I mean – wow! Unfortunately, I find them horrendously ugly 😦

I immediately spotted one that was quite plain, had lace at the top and was lovely, in spite of it being strapless. It was the last one, of the ones I’d chosen, that I tried on. I really liked it, and when I tried it on with an organza bolero (with a regal collar), and a pink ribbon at the waist, well, I loved it.

It’s a 2012 model, so if I want it I have to order it before December 1st. Tough choices ahead, to say the least… To make matters worse, or at least more difficult, it has a 4 month delivery time. How can that be? I mean, it’s not a custom size, it’s a regular size, so why would it take 4 months? How do I know what my figure will be in early April?!

It’d be nice if I could order it myself, straight from the maker, but although I’ve found the dress online, I can’t seem to find where to get it. Can any of you help me? Please!

Oh, and what do you think of the dress?!

Plain is my middle name, so I think this is the dress I want. At least for now…

 

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We’re on our way to Cirkus, a concert venue on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm. It’s not very far, some 5 kms from home, but we’ve been on a bus, the tube, and now the tram.

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…and now we’re here! The band we’re going to see is First Aid Kit, a Swedish folk band. They’re two sisters with amazing voices.

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I love this band! The tickets were part of my b-day present, and it’s going to be awesome 🙂

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The past few days have made me realize how some of my hobbies are very un-female. They are in fact very male.

This crossed my mind at the soccer game on Wednesday, as I was cherishing the goose bumps I always get when the crowd sings “Vi ser hur solen stiger över Råsunda“, and I was looking around me at all the singing men holding their scarfs up, turning the stadium black and yellow. I couldn’t see a single woman. Not one! I know there are a few (literally) in the area close-ish to where we sit, but none of them were visible at that very moment. And I don’t mind. On the contrary. I like getting a glimpse of what it’d be like “to be” a guy.

The other time I was struck by being one of very few women was yesterday, when A and I were at the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival. We both love beer (we’ve been called beer snobs more than once!), and A brews his own here at home in the kitchen, so it was a great day for us (we sampled no less than 21 different brews!). Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the majority of the people at a beer event are men, but again – I kind of liked it. Another glimpse into a world that’s not mine 🙂

Good thing I’m wedding planning too, get som balance in my life 😉

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After returning from my (our) amazing holiday downunder I’ve spent weekends viewing flats with my boyfriend. We’re not moving in together, well, actually he’s already staying at mine, but he’s been looking to get his own place. As in buying a flat. In Stockholm. Which is all but an easy task.

I bought my flat five years ago (anniversary coming up soon!). It’s 39 square meters = 420 sq ft, and it cost 1 650 000 SEK = USD 257 000. Cheap? No, but at least I have a balcony with a lake view, eh? I remember thinking it was insane at the time, and I actually did go beyond my maximum budget, but I’ve never regretted getting it. In fact, I can’t imagine ever leaving it… Anyway, since then the prices have gone up like there’s no tomorrow, and real estate agents are the new “yuppies” – too young to understand just how much money they’re making.

The way it works in Sweden is that you look at the flats that are for sale in the area you’re interested in, either online (Hemnet is by far the most popular site), by using an app or in the paper. There will be some general info on the flat, pictures, the starting price is listed, as is the time for the open viewings; usually two – one on Sunday afternoon and one on the following Monday night. What you do is you go to the flats you’re interested in for the open viewings – you say “hi” to the estate agent and walk through the flat – at the same time as everyone else; anywhere between 5-30 people – and look at this, that, and the other, ask the agent any questions you might have thought of, give him/her your telephone number if you are interested in the flat and then you head to the next flat… All in all, I’d say you spend an average of maximum five minutes in the flat.

If you’ve listed yourself as interested, the estate agent will call you on the Tuesday and ask if you’re interested in placing a bid for the flat. And this is when the madness truly commences. Placing a bid that’s lower than the starting bid listed is unheard of here. You just go up. And up. And up. The market’s gone nuts. My boyfriend couldn’t even look for a flat in my area, they’re so expensive these days.

Seriously – I don’t know how many flats he ended up viewing, 20 maybe?, before even coming close to winning a bidding. And his maximum budget was even higher than mine was! Insane. It’s disheartening finding that you can’t afford a decent place anywhere although you have a pile of money, let me tell you.

But – after weeks of viewings and biddings he finally managed to land himself a place, and he gets access to it in the beginning of March, only two weeks away now. He’d only seen it that one time, at the open viewing, but last Friday we went round to take some measurements and to see if the wallpaper can be covered with paint. It’s in a great location for anyone who cheers for my football team (uhm…like me!), and I hope he’ll be happy living there! (Though not so happy that he’ll want to stay there forever and ever, naturally…) 😉

“Why didn’t he just rent a place?”, I hear you mutter, but let me tell you – that that’s even more difficult! Getting your hands on a rental contract is next to impossible in this city. There’s such a shortage of flats, that first hand rental contracts are actually sold on the black markets. I’m serious. The most common way to rent is to rent a flat “second hand”, i.e. you rent it from the person who is on the rental contract, either furnished or unfurnished, and usually at an outrageous monthly fee. It’s quite sad really, but there just aren’t enough flats in the city, and people simply don’t want to live in the suburbs…

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