Scandinavia 2017

After touring Berlin, it was off to visit Scandinavia! Over two weeks, we’d visit Sweden, Denmark, and Norway as part of a Rick Steves’ Scandinavia Tour. Was this tour in May 2017? Yes. Am I writing this in September 2018? Yes.

Not all of this trip was new territory: I previously explored Stockholm and Copenhagen in 2011. The rest of the journey, including all of Norway, is going to be my first time.

The itinerary started in Stockholm, and spent a night in Kalmar before heading off to Denmark. Urban and progressive Copenhagen was contrasted with the idyllic island of Ærø. Tracing our steps back to Copenhagen, we took an overnight ferry to Oslo. Spending a few days in the bustling capital of Norway,

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The itinerary

May 14th, 2017: Arrival in Stockholm

Germany has the reputation of being an orderly and well-managed country. This perception should be examined in light of the Brandenburg Airport project. During the Cold War, Schönefeld Airport served East Berlin, and Tegel fulfilled the same role for the Western part of the city. After reunification, 15 years of planning culminated in ground being broken in 2006 for the new Brandenburg Airport that would replace both aging facilities. With a targeted opening year of 2011, we certainly flew out of Brandenburg. Being 2017 and all. Right?

Well, not exactly. 2011 turned into 2012, and then 2013. And now somewhere in the range of 2020 or 2021. A combination of corruption, poor planning, management, and many other un-germanly traits has doomed this airport into perpetual delay.

All this to say, the flight to Stockholm left from a terminal in Tegel airport that was a glorified warehouse with some seats bolted onto the concrete floors.

One fast train later, and we were in downtown Stockholm.

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Everything is overcast in Sweden

There were a few hours to use up until the tour introduction meeting at 1700, and an impromptu visit of the stations of the Stockholm Metro was in order. While I’m always in the mood for exploring a new transit system, the Stockholm Metro is particularly special because it’s essentially a large transit art project.

Each station had a different theme. Some had detailed “graffiti” on the walls.

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Others embraced their subterranean nature by using the rough-hewn walls as a canvas for colorful patterns and colors.23728055958_9ca70b2e72_k

This stationeries featured matching walls and floors while retaining a plain rock ceiling.37580555461_b56936094b_k

Harsh lighting beckoned travelers to the escalators that climbed into the rock. Continue reading