Scandinavian Awesomeness – Part 1

So, start of holiday – flight, Brisbane to Dubai at 9pm on Saturday night AEST. I luckily got the window seat (thanks to Alex), he was beside me and there was a lovely lady sitting beside him who was very patient with us, especially with toilet trips! Amazing food – I’ve got the menu and I’ll take a photo of it at some point! Didn’t realist just how long the flight was – 14.5 hours sounds okay in theory, but it feels much much longer when you’re confined to a seat for the entire time. I did get about 7 hours sleep, watched a few movies too: X-Men – Days of Future Past, Maleficent, Wall-E (to get to sleep). The plane was freezing cold – will remember for the flight home! They do provide you with blankets and socks, so that kept me warm enough (along with my scarf and cardigan) There was also internet for parts of the flight, which was free (there was some kind of holiday and so internet was provided for free…certainly wasn’t going to question it!)

Landed in Dubai airport at about 4:30am and it was already 32 degrees. Coming through customs was fun – no issues except that I obviously had something on me that set the alarms off. Needed to go in for a pat down, done by a really lovely lady who was shy and completely fascinated by my hair – she asked me very quietly if she could take a photo because no one would believe her, so of course I said yes. Probably gone viral over there now 😛 The airport was really nice but MASSIVE. We’ve got nothing like it back home. Definitely trying Dubai McDonalds on the way home (Alex is the one that spotted that!) The Emirates Lounge was lovely and the people super friendly. Check-in was insanely quick and efficient, plane took off on time at about 7:15am Dubai time.

Dubai to Stockholm – 6 hours seemed like nothing in comparison to the 14 hour leg. Watched some TV (couldn’t tell you what I watched, was just using it to kill time and to drown out the sound of the babies on the flight!) and the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2. Played some games on my phone and read my Kobo. More lovely food, another lovely middle-eastern steward who was fascinated by my hair, as she saw it as the light caught it and “thought the colour was beautiful”. I’m guessing that purple hair is rather unusual 🙂

Landed in Stockholm a little bit early at about 11:30am – baggage arrived with no issue, NO customs (which was scary…seriously, we just walked straight through!. There was a bit of drama finding the rental car company, ended up having to ask at the information desk. Short bus trip to where the rental companies are located later and got the car – free upgrade and free second driver (yay for dropping the honeymoon word!) but no satnav so we had to go back to the airport terminal to buy a SIM. Bought a SIM card, could only get Comviq…but couldn’t get it to work (cue drama/stress/tiredness tears). Finally got it to work and then headed on to hotel as we now had satnav!

Drive there was scary as all hell – driving on right side of road and Alex hadn’t adjusted mirrors at first, few scary moments, but we got to the hotel fine (Hilton Slussen) and checked-in. Had dinner at a little place up the road from our hotel after going for a wander. Was nice, but we were falling asleep already (at 6pm!). Headed back to hotel and we were fast asleep by 6:30pm

Woke up super early (4:30am), chilled in hotel room for a bit on the wireless, spoke to family via Skype (Hi Carol & Tony!) and checked TripAdvisor for somewhere to have breakfast. Showered & got dressed for breakfast, wandered outside and headed to Wayne’s Coffee for croissant, cronut (oh…my…god!) and a blueberry muffin for Alex. Coffee wasn’t too bad, we both had double shots just to try and keep us awake!

Finished breakfast then decided to go wandering – was still super early, so nothing was open. Headed to a supermarket (Coop) for some required supplies – moisturiser (there is NO humidity here), toothpaste (because Alex refused to pack any and I only bought enough for one), and travel cookies (the most amazing cookies I’ve EVER had – chocolate and hazelnut, we’ll get to that bit later). Wanted to buy headache tablets, but couldn’t…very odd. You can buy beer/wine in supermarkets, but not headache tablets.

Wandered off to find a pharmacy to buy them – finally found one. Swear the pharmacist was laughing at us the whole time. Got some ibuprofen (heavy duty shit too, first pack she handed us was for 400mg O.o) and then headed out to try and find a SIM that we could use when travelling…cue another tantrum because after trying at least 7 different places with 6 different companies (no, I’m not exaggerating!) still couldn’t find one. Resigned to the fact that we’d be stuck having to use a different SIM in each country we travelled in…would just make satnav difficult when we first entered each country :S

Bolted back to the hotel before check out time, stashed our luggage and was told we could leave the car there (thankfully!). Then wandered off for lunch – went and had some mega amazing food at a local pub. No idea what it was, just know that it was potato and sausage and bacon and creamy and delicious – and insanely filling. Then wandered around a bit more in Stockholm (clocking up the km’s on my fitbit!) and went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and car so we could head to the VikingLine ferry to take us over to Helsinki.

Another fraught drive (because Google Maps fails when it has no internet…like when you’re underground in a tunnel!) but made it in the end. Boarded super early and headed up to our top deck super deluxe room with deck (which is lovely…and scary, especially for Alex who’s not fabulous with heights). Munched on the amazing super-cookies of awesome which is when I memorised the brand so I could buy them again when we’re back in Sweden. Now on the way to Helsinki in style – dinner shortly. Next post – Boat trip and arriving in Helsinki!

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