Monday, August 1, 2022
Mr. Waffle and I made a list of things that could go wrong with our complex travel arrangements.
1. Our taxi mightnâ€™t come.
2. Lufthansa luggage check in wouldn’t work in advance and would there be a problem at the airport in the cold early hours of the following morning?
3. For reasons which seemed good to us at the time, we booked to travel to Stockholm via Frankfurt and gave ourselves an hour to make our connection in Frankfurt.
4. There was a good chance our luggage would get lost.
5. Herself was travelling to Stockholm from London separately and it was quite possible that we would be stuck in Stockholm without her or she would be stuck in Stockholm without us.
Over dinner that evening we mulled over our various problems. “And I’m not looking forward to the 6.15 start either,” I said gloomily. “What’s wrong with 6.15?” said Dan. Pause. “Wait, is it 6.15 in the morning?” To be fair, airport chaos wasn’t the issue it became when we originally booked the flight and we didn’t expect to have to be at the airport three hours before take off.
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
We made it safely to the gate, high as kites at having overcome obstacles one and two on our list. As we went through security, I saw Daniel and Michael chatting to a beautiful, tall, blonde stranger who, on closer inspection, turned out to be a girl from their class in primary school. She was off to a musical festival in Romania. Would you look at the young people?
Our connection at Frankfurt was tight but we made it and arrived safely in Stockholm. Our delight was tempered by the fact that our luggage, sadly, did not make it. But on the plus side, herself was there to greet us. She had been scheduled to fly via Copenhagen and arrive a bit later but when she got to the airport in London they put her on a direct flight instead. Mysterious but not unwelcome.
Stockholm airport is undergoing some redevelopment and signage for hire cars leaves a lot to be desired. This was not the Nordic efficiency we had hoped for. We schlepped for what felt like miles and then got a bus and we travelled in relative uncertainty that we were going in the right direction. At least we weren’t weighed down by our luggage.
We hired the Kia Sportage which has a very distracting instrument display which in no way showed how to turn off the wretched radio. We consulted the manual and the internet (we were not the first people to have this problem with the Kia Sportage) to no avail and ended up having to mute the wretched thing every time we got into the car for our week in Sweden. The standard handy bar under the front seat to move it forward was replaced by an automatic lever which moved it up/down and reclined the seat but never really got my little feet quite as close to the pedals as I would have liked.
I drove while Mr. Waffle played with the various buttons, bells and whistles. The built in sat nav introduced us to the concept of “turn half right” which was not something we were familiar with (slide right, is I think the more usual usage) and I found it trying enough as I navigated the tunnels of Stockholm. We were staying on the archipelago about 40 minutes drive from the city. As I stuggled with Half Right Helga (as we named the sat nav) and the various beeps (the Kia Sportage is a very judgey car, it beeps if you indicate you would like to change lane and there is another car beside you) and controls of a new car, I began to feel very warm. “Did you press a heating button?” I asked my husband accusingly. “No,” he said. My seat was feeling dangerously warm, like, uncomfortably, burningly warm. “Are you sure?” I yelped. “Oh yeah, actually, sorry, there’s a heated seat button here that seems to be pressed,” he said. It was a trying drive.
I am pleased to report that our hired house was delightful when we got there.
I was pretty impressed by the huge bank of solar panels out the back.
They had fake old plugs with USB ports. A bit weird but you know, very cottagecore.
We made a quick raid on the very expensive (dear God, Sweden is expensive) supermarket nearby and made dinner. At bed time we put everyone’s clothes in the wash – except for herself who had not lost her luggage and filled us all with sickening envy. Wasn’t it well for her? However she cooked dinner which was v welcome indeed, so much was forgiven.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Mr. Waffle has an admirable habit of turning off his phone about 8 in the evening and not turning it on again until he gets up the next day. On balance this is a very good thing. However, he woke up to a stream of texts indicating that our luggage would be sent out to us that very day if we confirmed in time. Gentle reader, we did not confirm on time. We were therefore fated to go another 24 hours without luggage.
We made a raid on the local shops for clothes. Did I mention that Sweden is expensive? We found a H&M (still expensive) and kitted ourselves out with some t-shirts, underwear and swimsuits.
The pool in the house was very satisfactory. We were delighted with ourselves. The only problem was the wind chimes on the porch which made a sound eerily like my work phone. My work phone that I had handed back to my employer with a skip in my step at the end of June, I might add. Nevertheless the chimes provoked an unpleasant Pavlovian response.
We had a walk down to the local beach.
Daniel volunteered to cook dinner and he picked up smoky barbecue ribs from Lidl. On inspection these appeared to be from from Watergrasshill which was a surprise. I mean I know, globalisation and all that. I bet I was one of the very few Swedish Lidl consumers that could tell you that driving through Watergrasshill before it was bypassed was always a bit exciting in winter as it was high up and likely to be icy even when nowhere else was. Fascinating, you say.
The children explored the joys of the trampoline.
Note her dress which she bought in a second hand shop in Berlin. She tells me that it comes from the DDR. You don’t get that much any more.
Thursday, August 4, 2022
On the hottest day of our trip to Sweden we drove into the city for the day. Look, this was not our best move but that’s easy to say with hindsight. The Swedes do not approve of driving into Stockholm which is an instinct I applaud. However, to support this laudable ambition, the cost of parking is terrifying. We will not speak of it.
We had booked ourselves on to a water bus tour. Stockholm is all islands and, if memory serves from the tour, has 57 bridges. We had loads of time to get to the quay from which our tour departed but somehow we whiled away the time – lunch, tea in the park, strolling around, buying phenomenally expensive peaked caps – and found ourselves undertaking a forced march around the harbour in the blazing sun at the hottest time of day.
We made it in time for the tour but I am not sure that we enjoyed it as much as we might have done as we were roasted and continued to bake in the open topped boat. The children told me that my face was like a tomato. Thanks guys.
We went home and had a restorative swim in the pool and a nice walk down to the seashore. And, let joy be unconfined, our luggage arrived.