Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 17 - Stockholm rest day

I managed to wake up at 7.30am before the others as planned, so that I could finally wash my disgusting clothes for the first time of the trip. I spent a good while washing the last 2 weeks worth of dirt and sweat out of everything before draping everything over the balcony rail outside (it was a nice warm, sunny day). I also spent some time fixing a stool that had broken with a combination of screws and little bits of wood that I'd found a few days ago. I can't remember exactly what time the others woke up but it was probably 9-9.30am. It was Kinza's last day, and Mark was staying in Stockholm for a bit and then staying with another friend in Berlin before rejoining us at a later stage. I opted to cycle into town with Kinza and Mark whilst the others chose to take the metro, with the plan being to meet them at The Stockholm Palace in the city centre a bit later. We found our way into the centre OK, but me and Mark got separated from Kinza. As we were close to the Palace it wasn't an issue and we were able to find our way there without any problems. When we got there Kinza was already there, as were the others, and we took some touristy photos. After a short while Kinza had to go to a nearby bike shop to box up her bike - I came with her to help with this and the others agreed to come and meet us at the bike shop slightly later to help carry the boxed-up-bike to the coach station. We found the bike shop alright (Kinza had looked into this before) and they had ample boxes that we could use. The mechanics were very helpful and let us use some of their tools and packaging tape. Taking the bike apart was relatively straight forward, and we padded out the box with bulkier items of clothing/small bits of cardboard to offer a bit more protection for the flight home. The others (minus Mark who had left to meet up with his Stockholm friend) arrived just as the boxing process had finished, so we thanked the mechanics and made our way to the coach station (one person taking each corner of the box). We got to the coach station with maybe 10 minutes to spare, found the coach and saw Kinza off. In the space of a few hours the group was down to 4 - it instantly felt very different. One thing I wanted to do today was try and get an ipad - I was jealous of Michelle's ability to access the internet whenever there was a wifi spot with her ipad, and knew that this would come in useful for navigating and blog notes over the course of the trip too. The others were more keen on a lazy stroll around the centre/getting some food, so I borrowed Chris's Garmin and typed in the address for the Apple Store in Stockholm. I left the others outside the coach station agreeing to meet back up with them later on. It was nice to have a leisurely cycle through the city - from what I saw Stockholm had some very picturesque bits. Anyway after maybe half an hour I found the address where the Apple store was supposed to be - it was on a random industrial estate on the outskirts of the centre with nothing but a hotel and garages around. I asked a few people about an Apple store and they didn't know where it was - I was clearly in the wrong place. Feeling a bit dejected I headed back to the others - the ipad would have to wait until Copenhagen. I met back up with the others at the bridge outside the Palace (the same place as earlier to avoid any confusion). They had been for an expensive spaghetti bolognaise in a nearby restaurant. We then strolled around some souvenir shops as thought it would be cool to get a Stockholm sticker to stick on the bikes/something similar. I think Michelle got something with me, Chris and Tom not bothering as nothing stood out. The next thing was to get the food in for tonight and tomorrow. With us being in the centre there were very few supermarkets within close proximity. After strolling around for a bit we found a shop that sold a mixture of food and homeware. We didn't want to trapse around Stockholm any more so made do with the limited choice they had here. It was also pricey so we only got the essentials food wise, whilst I also got a new 'stanley' snap-off knife. After eating some of the food outside I left the others to make their way back to the campsite via the metro, whilst I cycled back. I saw a proper supermarket on the way back so stopped off to buy more food - it was very cheap so ended up getting a lot. I found my way back to the campsite fine, and the others were already there. It was early evening so we had time to sort the stuff out, cook a meal and do anything else we needed to do and still go to bed at a reasonable time so that we could get going at a reasonable time in the morning. We cooked up some pesto pasta on the cabin cooker with some baguette on the side. Packing up was made easier by the fact that there were only 4 of us here now (more space and less stuff in the cabin to sort through). I was also hoping to clean my bike at some point - I decided to sack this off as although the bike was in need of a clean it was working OK. The same went for Chris and Michelle. Tom ended up cleaning his bike. We were in bad before 11, with a reasonably early start planned for the morning.

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