Archive for the 'Travel' Category


The Borg have landed – in Uppsala, Sweden

When I first saw this structure in Uppsala, I thought it looked like a Borg cube from Star Trek had landed plonk in the middle of town. A reasonable assumption since we know that Sweden is already full of the Borg (a common surname amongst the locals).

It is in actual fact a concert and conference centre known as Uppsala Konsert & Kongress. And I was there for my last full day in Sweden to attend a concert from the fabulous Nanne. Unfortunately I was there by myself since Gustav (a big Nanne fan) had a big exam the next day that he had to study and prepare for.

Uppsala is a small city, north of Stockholm. It’s not too far away and is only about 40 minutes on a train. In Sydney, of course, you’d still be in the suburbs! It is known for its university and I even spent a couple of months there back in 1997 doing a summer course in Swedish. Not much has changed except the cube, er concert hall is new.

The concert itself was fabulous. The theme was a celebration of Nanne’s 25 year career including her solo career, Sound of Music and One More Time. With the SoM and OMT songs, Nanne sang the full versions instead of truncating them into a medley like she normally does so I was happy.

A surprise opening to the second act was one of my favourite Nanne singles, “Svarta Änkan” (Black Widow). A surprise since it wasn’t a hit (crazy, I know) and Nanne rarely performs it.

There was a heavy emphasis on the new album, especially in the first act. Although I would have liked more songs from across the whole 25 years, it was still good to get better acquainted with the new stuff. Up to that point, I had been having trouble connecting with the new album but now I love it. Nanne performs with such an energy.

It’s hard to believe that this was 6 weeks ago. It has taken me a while to write about it since I felt like putting fingers to keyboard would make me feel sad. But it hasn’t.Makes me yearn for my next trip though.

Anyway, here’s a performance of “Svarta Änkan” filmed at another venue on the same tour.



Some more shots of Stockholm

Some more shots of Stockholm taken while I’ve been in this wonderful city.

A Swedish Royal Guard

One of many narrow laneways in Gamla Stan

Kungsträdgården in the autumn

A view of the water from Nacka Strand (where I have been staying)

A typical Swedish house nestled amongst the trees

Helen Sjöholm looking unusual on a giant poster in Sergelstorg in the city centre


Random shots of Stockholm

I love to walk, especially in a city like Stockholm which has so much history, beauty, water and nature.

Here are a few random shots that I’ve taken durng my wanderings.

One of many street kitchens - the Judge should remember this one from 1993

A view from Katarinahissen - the Stadsmuseum is the main building in shot

A street in Gamla Stan, away from the main tourist trap

A Swedish mail van

Another street in Gamla Stan

A Swedish beer (not a bad drop)


Liesbeth Salander was my neighbour!

Liesbeth Salander was my neighbour!

So she’s a fictional character and the time period was slightly wrong but it still felt bizarre to realise that the big apartment that she bought in the second book of the Stieg Larsson Millenium trilogy was right next to where I used to live in Stockholm. We even used to go to te same 7 Eleven.

The other day I took the Stieg Larsson guided walking tour which takes people around several locations as described in his Girl With The Dragon Tattoo novels. It is a fascinating tour and one that I would recommend if you have read the novels. The guide describes some of the key scenes in the novels and it helps the novels come alive.

Even though it’s not the tourist season, there were about 30 people in our walking group from all over the world. I was the one who had come the furthest from Australia.

We also heard about how the Hollywood version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is currently being filmed in Stockholm. Apparently they are aiming to make Stockholm look dark and foreboding and have it raining most of the time. The director has this vision of Sweden as being a socialist society with facist undertones.  I don’t what he’s thinking because that’s certainly not the Stockholm I know and love.

Back to the walk, if you’re in Stockholm and are interested, check out the City Museum’s website at the following link. Tours are conducted in English and Swedish. As an alternative you can buy a map and do the walk yourself.

Here are some photos that I took during the walk.

Mikael Blomqvist's apartment

Mikael Blomqvist's favourite cafe

Offices for Millenium magazine (above Greenpeace)

Liesbeth Salander's luxury apartment building (I used to live just behind it)

Not part of the tour but I loved the name of this hairdressing salon


No Jetlag – Phew

I still can’t believe I’m not suffering jet lag! My sleeping patterns are defiiotely out of whack but that’s par for the course even home in Australia.

It helped that I picked a good airline in Thai Airways. The two reasons I picked them were that they fly direct to Stockholm (even SAS don’t do that anymore) and they have about 3 inches extra legroom when compared to most of the other airlines who cram people in so that your knees are around your ears. It was great that on the first leg, we had an ultra modern A340-600 and that I had a spare seat next to me.

Another plus was that I discovered I still had some frequent flyer points from when I flew with them in 2007.  They are about to expire so I was able to use some of them to get lounge access in Bangkok including a nice hot shower. Thai definitely get my thumbs up.

I was still quite zonked out when I finally hit Stockholm town. I did plan to have a little nap when I got to where I was staying but I was so excited to be there and it was sunny (albeit zero degrees) I just had to get out there. So I got the bus back to Söderholm and just wandered around. Söderholm is quite a cosmopolitan area and there’s always something going on. I used to live there so for old time’s sake I revisited my old apartment (from the outside anyway) and just wandered around my old haunts. I think that this really helped with the jetlag being out in sunshine and fresh air.

Thai Airways A340-600 - pure class even in economy

Peter Jöback was there to welcome me to Stockholm (almost)

A view of Stockholm from Söderholm

Another view from Söderholm

My old apartment (behind the bushes) - the cobblestone streets used to play havoc on my ankles

The beautiful Katarinakyrkan (church) just around the corner from my old apartment


First Snow and First CD Shopping Trip

I woke up on my second day in Stockholm to the sight of the first snow for the season. This is what I saw from the balcony:

Then from another part of the balcony:

And then on the way to the bus:

I had to walk carefully to the bus since I didn’t want to go arse over tit and do myself some damage. It’s not so easy the older you get. I made it in one piece but unfortunately my bus did not. It got part of the way to Slussen and then decided to go no further due to mechanical problem with the rear door. The bus was full of grumpy looking Swedes which was bringing me down so I braved the icy  streets and walked the rest of the way to Slussen. It was a pleasant walk with some great views of Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and I didn’t slip once.

Then it was time for the traditional walk from Slussen, through Gamla Stan and right up to the city centre. It’s a good walk and one that I have done many times on past trips. It felt good to do this familiar walk and it was time for another Swedish tradition – CD shopping.

I normally hate shopping but when it comes to catching up on Swedish music then I make an exception. I covered quite a bit of the city, including the second hand mecca along St Eriksgatan. By the end of it I was quite weary though. I didn’t get everything on my list but managed the following.

I was happy with my stash although a couple of the rarer items on my list (out of print albums from Caroline af Ugglas and Pernilla Wahlgren) remain out of reach. I also have a couple of titles to get for the Judge but I still have plenty of time to get those.


Pining for the trains…

A colleague at work sent around a Powerpoint presentation of the amazing artwork on the Stockholm metro (tunnelbana) system. He didn’t realise that I had a connection with Stockholm and had even lived there for a couple of years. So I immediately felt homesick as soon as I saw pictures of familiar stations with their unique art and colour schemes.

The idea to make art more accessible to the general public started in the 50s and in 1957, T-Centralen was the first station to unveil its new look following a competition the previous year.

More than 90% of tunnelbana stations now have some sort of artistic feature making each one unique. Since the tunnelbana notches up 110 kilometres, it is considered the world’s longest art exhibition. Very impressive.

Here are some of my favourite stations that I have been known to frequent while in Stockholm. You can read more about the art at



Solna Centrum:


I found another website which has lots of information and photos about the tunnelbana if you’re interested.