Sweden 2002

Nyår

Jan 01, 2003 in Sweden 2002

Nyår

We saw in 2003 in Sturecompagniet. It was a pretty awesome club, if a little bit more pretentious than my normal sort of place. But at some point in the small hours they played some ABBA, and everyone forgot just how cool they were trying to appear and went crazy for them.

For some kind of licensing reason, many Swedish bars had casinos in them. Sturecompagniet was one, and when we finally decided to leave at about 4am, Dan was at the poker table. “You coming?” we asked. “I’m just going to win back what I’ve lost”, he said, angrily, and we left him to it. I wondered if we would ever see him again, but luckily he appeared back at the hostel the next morning.

It was only -6°C on new year’s day, and it felt warm. With all the soon-to-be-destroyed hope and optimism that a new year brings, we headed back to Västerås to fly home. It was a very long journey to an airport that markets itself as serving Stockholm, but at least the two hour ride took us through some amazing winter scenery.

People were complaining about the cold when we got back to London. The only possible response was a hollow laugh. “Let me tell you where I’ve just been…”

Katarinahiss

Dec 31, 2002 in Sweden 2002

Katarinahiss

It was new year’s eve. During the day we headed through Gamla Stan to Södermalm, and went up Katarinahiss. This strange structure juts out from the hills of Södermalm and allows the lazy to avoid walking up from sea level to the moderate heights. The views of the city from the top were pretty awesome. I finished a film while we were there, and changing it required me to take off my gloves for a few seconds. The pain of the cold was stunning, and as I hurried to get the new film in I could feel my fingers becoming unresponsive. Luckily I did the job, closed up the camera and got my gloves back on before I got frostbite.

Stockholm

Dec 30, 2002 in Sweden 2002

Stockholm

We thought that Gothenburg had been pretty cold, but Stockholm was chillier still. The skies were clear, the ground was covered in snow, the lake was frozen solid and all looked beautiful, but -15°C was punishing. We went to Kaknästornet, the TV tower on the outskirts of the city which was the tallest building in Scandinavia at the time. At the top, a howling gale was blowing, and the wind chill must have been tremendous. We discovered that if you dropped some water it froze within a couple of seconds.

By wearing two pairs of gloves, three coats and two scarves, I felt reasonably content despite the cold. Ground level was a bit tamer, but finally the inevitable happened and someone slipped over as we walked to the bus stop. Dan was the unlucky victim, and in the evening we found an excellent bar for him to pay his forfeit in.

Canals

Dec 29, 2002 in Sweden 2002

Canals

It was cold. Chunks of ice were floating down the river, and the canals around the city centre were frozen. Wandering through the icy streets was tiring. Helping us all to survive the conditions was the old Scandinavian standby of hot dog. Pylsur, pølse, pölse or whatever the local variant happened to be, they were always a cheap source of hot food.

Gothenburg

Dec 29, 2002 in Sweden 2002

Gothenburg

We tried to go out on our first night in Sweden, but we came up against the breathtakingly severe licensing laws. We were all 25 or over, but not all of us could prove it – Dan had left his passport at the hostel. All the decent-looking places were out of bounds to us, and we ended up in a fairly rubbish bar, that did at least play some ABBA which was quite amusing.

I woke up at 8am the next day, and it was pitch black. When daylight finally arrived we went to look around the city, which was covered with snow. We walked up to Skansen Kronan, a fort on a hill, and endured the icy wind to take in views of the city. We had a bet running: whoever slipped over first would buy a round of drinks. This was no small penalty here in Scandinavia. On the way down from Skansen Kronan, Dan had a major moment, but after a few seconds of flailing he recovered his balance. We were all buying our own drinks, for now.

Västerås

Dec 28, 2002 in Sweden 2002

Västerås

My trip to Norway earlier in the year had been a fantastic one. Hoping to replicate the experience, I decided to go to Sweden for New Year. If the trip involved even a fraction of the nightlife, scenery, atmosphere and sleep deprivation that the Norway trip had, it would be a good one.

John and Dan were feeling wealthy and flew with SAS to Stockholm. Eldrik and I were feeling not wealthy and we flew with Ryanair to Västerås. We were all converging on Gothenburg. We landed in darkness to find Västerås covered in snow, as we’d hoped it would be. We got a train to Gothenburg, and it was a fantastic journey through the wintry night.