Was she Chinese? No, she was from Hamilton…

A Belated A to Z of Sweden

A – All you can eat China Wang – chosen for it’s name alone, we decided to eat Chinese on Saturday evening. We drank some lovely Swedish cider and ate Chinese food and refused the ubiquitous Ryvita.

B – Boats – lack of. Try as we might, our planned boat trip was not to be! We should have listened to the scary boat lady who told us to be at the dock for 4am to bag a ticket.

C – Crafé/ Columbian mud slides – the crafé, our multi-million pound idea! Watch this space. Columbian mud slides were the talk of CNN, along with the Pope dying and Vivienne Westwood for some bizarre reason.

D – Duvet/Derren Brown look-alikes – my duvet was possessed by some sort of evil, sleep-depriving pixie. It was from Ikea of course (See I). Why do all the past kings of Sweden look like Derren Brown?!

E – Expensive/eggs – Man, Sweden’s expensive! Take plenty of spondoolies should you go yourself. Don’t even try and ask for scrambled eggs – there seems to be no word for scrambled in Swedish.

F – Fika/ former hostel – it’s fika time! Gotta love those Swedes, they have a word for having a sit down and a nice bit of cake in the afternoons. Who were we to argue – when in Rome and all that! Our hotel was a former hostel – as every service worker in the city insisted on telling us.

G – Gravel/giblet/gatan – who’d have thought one city could house so much gravel on it’s roads!? Every street is lined with gravel and it makes it sound like all the cars have flat tyres. Giblet stan, or Gamla stan to give it it’s correct name, is the Old Town and where we did most of our sight seeing. Gatan, is the Swedish word for street – Stockholm is right up my gatan!

H – hej!/homs – Such a friendly race! Hej, pronounced hey is the word for hello, which makes everyone sound like your buddy. So many homs in Stockers – and we have an uncanny ability for hom-ing in on them.

I – Icy showers/Ikea – After Jo used every drop of hot water in Sweden, I had the coldest shower in history. So cold I thought it was actually hot. Really set me up for the day! Every stick of furniture in Stockholm came from Ikea – right down to the soap dispensers.

J – Jelly like jam/Jet propelled hand driers – Jam or jelly? Jelly or jam? Who knows, but it tasted marvellous. Hand driers in public toilets (mostly very clean, loo fans) are so strong, they make your hands look like your face on a rollercoaster.

K – Kulturehaus – Our idea of heaven – a huge building full of crafty things! Sadly closed every time we passed.

L – Language – easier than you think! A lot of Swedish words are vaguely similar to their English counterparts,

M – metro (and/or T) – Metro! Again, so efficient and clean! And the stations are whole other worlds, with statues, plants and sculptures in the stations. Worth a trip just for that.

N – NK – Stockholm’s famous department store – sadly closed by the time we got there.
O – Open top bus/Olaf – open top bus fun was the order of the weekend, but the commentary, although in 8 different languages, was a bit disappointing. A lot of Olafs in Stockholm, there’s even a little statue of a man with binoculars who may or may not be called Olaf in a very picturesque square.

P – Plastic bottle collecting hobos/Post boxes – Like California, Stockholm has a very efficient scheme of recycling plastic bottles, meaning a better class of hobo, as they collect money from cashing in the bottles, reducing litter and begging – what a marvellous idea. Post boxes are so sweet! Pastel coloured and modern looking.

Q – Queen and king – Stockholm revolves around the Royal Palace and is very pretty.

R – Rip off taxi! Ryvita – £9 for a taxi about half a mile?! Jeezo! Ryvita with EVERYTHING – how bizarre!

S – Shabby chic – Stockholm is very big on shabby chic. In fact it’s a very stylish city. Where else can you find heart shaped ramekins, a dish cloth with skulls on and an elk cookie cutter all in one shop?

T – Tack! And sheer tack/TGI Fredags – one word for please and thank you! Tack! So efficient. A lot of what we call sheer tack around too – plastic Viking hats, elk antlers, etc. TGI Fredags is the best named restaurant in town – for some reason, this caused endless mirth between us.

U – Utfart – again, endless, school girl-ish mirth over this. An utfart is an exit, apparently.

V – Vasa/vaults – The Vasa museum is apparently the thing to see in Stockholm, but the bus commentary persuaded us otherwise. It is essentially a big old boat with it’s masts sticking out the top of the roof, which is sprayed periodically with lucozade. Or something.

W – Warmongering king – the warmongering king stands in a nice park and looks over the sightseeing boats. He looks like Derren Brown too.

X – X-ray of my left knee – is what I shouted in that embarrassing gap between songs in the nice bar we found. One of the barmen had a Derren-esque look to him too, so he may have been the king undercover.

Y – Young people – where were they all on a Saturday evening! The streets were deserted! This may be related to the fact that apparently all of Stockholm gets paid on the same day – at the end of the month.

Z – zzz! Reception man at hotel – One man cannot run a hotel 24 hours by himself surely? He can if he wears incredibly bad 80’s clothes and is in Sweden! Although he will take your comments about Fanta in the vending machine in entirely the wrong way and fail to understand the concept of scrambled eggs, even when you do the actions.


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