Monday, April 28, 2008

Next Trip, Stress and Stuff

I can't believe it's been a month since I last updated my blog. Time has flown by so quickly. It's not that I've had nothing to say or nothing has been going on in my life, quite the opposite in fact. I actually came to my blog determined to update it last week, I had so many things running through my mind. But after staring blankly at the screen for ages, I thought I'll give it a rest until I can bring myself to write.
The last month has been a particularly busy one. When I wasn't busy with work, I was travelling, and when I wasn't travelling, I was stressed out with my writing career. And upon all, I have been feeling ill with all kinds of unusual symptoms! I feel a lot better now health wise, I didn't go to work today so tat I could go and see the doctor. But I'm still stressing over some decisions that I have to make, and the answers seem to be eluding me. I guess I have to pray harder. Anyway on to the gist:

I've heard that once you get bitten by the travel bug, there is no cure! I've found that to be very true. It's like once you go on one trip, you want to go on more! So it is with this in mind, that soon after hubby and I came back from Belgium, we planned two short trips when we both had a break from work. We went to Sweden first, then Italy.
I'm getting used to Passport Control officers scrutinising my passport more closely when I arrive at airports. When we arrived in Sweden, we were in front of a queue that was moving quickly until we got to the desk. The lady stamping the passports spent less than 30 seconds looking at the red British and European passports, but when shown a green one, she checked on a list beside her desk and asked us many questions, before she was satisfied that we were okay to enter her country. Hubby and I just smiled when we finally got to the other side. It seems like when it comes to immigration matters, Nigeria is always on some dodgy list or the other so immigration officials have to ask us more questions.
We found our way from the airport into the main city centre by taking one of those airport transit coaches, that dropped us right in the Central Station. We walked around for a while, comparing the city of Stockholm with cities in UK and Belgium. I thought it looked quite different as the architecture of the old buildings were slightly different in Scandinavia compared to Western Europe. Again, we were glad to find that a lot of people speak English quite well. It was interesting to hear English spoken in a Swedish accent. I liked the language because it's somewhere between English and German so it was quite easy to guess what the signs and words on display meant. When we started getting tired and cold, we had lunch and then set off to find our hotel.
Either we suddenly became bad at reading maps or we were reading Swedish maps upside down, but it took us ages to find our hotel. We got lost a few times, but in the end we managed to find it. For the rest of the evening, I was too cold and tired to go looking for any more excitement so we just chilled indoors eating dinner and watching Swedish television until the next day.
The next morning we headed out to the town centre again, first we wanted to go to the Tourist Information Centre to get maps and guides to the city. But we couldn't find the office anywhere! So we decided to just wing it, and wander around on our own. What's the worst that could happen? We didn't get lost in the end, we managed to find a lot of interesting sights around Stockholm by following other tourists and checking the Street Maps in the city centre. Eventually we found the Old Town, the museums, Old Royal Palace, shopping area and a few other interesting sights. We stopped to have lunch at the Central Station and chilled out for a bit. We resumed our exploration of the city till evening, strolling through the city centre when we noticed a group of people of all races coming out of a church. Out of curiosity, we decided to pop in. It seemed like the Sunday evening service had just ended and people were meeting and greeting each other. It felt exactly like a church back in England, except that they were speaking a different language. A few people smiled at us, some people just looked at us with curiosity. We didn't stay long, we just strolled in and strolled out. It was a bit silly, but fun actually. On our way back to our hotel when it was nightfall, we finally found the tourist information office. Typical! After we had navigated our own way around the town. In any case, we noted the spot and decided it was still worth a visit the next day.
The next morning, we checked out of our hotel because we were flying out that night. We decided to make the most of our limited time in Stockholm. I wanted to browse the shops while hubby wanted to do other things, so in the end we split up and went separate ways. I went to the main shopping areas and noticed that there were a lot of H&M shops around, then it dawned on me that H&M is a Swedish company, so it made sense. I had fun wandering around, window shopping and mentally converting all the prices from SEK to pounds in my head. Eventually I bought a lovely scarf and a top and went to the tourist info centre to pick up a list of more attractions. But there didn't seem to be anything else I could do in a few hours so I met up with hubby for lunch, again in the main central station. We swapped gists of our adventures and while we relaxed, we were people-watching and noticed a difference between Stockholm and London. The people seemed to be a lot more laid back and chilled out compared to Londoners. Even at 5.00pm when we were expecting the hustle and bustle of rush hour, most people still strolled around casually. We took one last stroll around, but soon it was time for us to head back to the airport, so we said our goodbyes to Stockholm and got on the coach back to the airport. The next day we headed off to Venice... but that is another post for another day.

Here are some photos from Stockholm:

I'm excited at the moment though. I've got a birthday coming up soon and it's a milestone! I'm excited to be reaching another milestone in my life, but I'm thinking it's almost unbelievable! When was I a 9-year old running around and getting excited about reaching double figures? Now I'm a big girl! I'm planning to have a get-together with my friends next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes! Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

PS: Thanks to the "update police" for checking up on me!
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