This morning, I suddenly realised that in the T-bana, the doors that are going to open light up green just before the train reaches the station. Then, late this afternoon, on my way home I realised something else. The line 4 bus stops just down the road from the apartment. That’s just annoying. I only have one more day to take advantage of it.
I was heading to Skokloster today, except it wasn’t quite Skokloster. It was a little place just before Skokloster slott, called Slottskogen. Not that that makes a lot of difference but I do like being accurate. Sometimes. Anyway, it meant getting a train to Bålsta first. I figured I’d leave late enough to avoid peak hour so left the apartment at 9am and reached Stockholm Central half an hour later.
I went to one of the ticket machines only to discover that the 10:14 train was full. Why? Beats me. They run hourly so it meant a bit of a wait. Then I discovered a Starbucks.
Frankly, I was quite disappointed with the Starbucks. It may have been the lack of blonde roast or maybe because it wasn’t silky like Sue insists on. I don’t know but it wasn’t that good. I obviously should have gone to Espresso House.
Apparently the Rolling Stones had a concert in Stockholm last night. A woman and her dad went and were waiting for a train home to Malmö. Clearly a lot of people went because there were a lot of Rolling Stones t-shirt roaming around Central Station with fans inside them.
Her dad, she said, left the concert an hour early because he was feeling a bit tired.
We started talking because we admired a small dog which looked exactly like Emma when she was young. The woman, who couldn’t have been more than 30, was obsessed with the music of the 1960’s and was quite upset that the Stones only played new stuff.
We managed to wile away the time before my train was due and I soon bade farewell and made my way down to platform 16. Eventually I was heading out of Stockholm, towards Bålsta. By the way, and in case you ever have cause to say it, it’s pronounced ‘ball-sta’.
The train was very comfortable and in less than half an hour, I found myself high up on the platform, the bus station very obvious down below. They’re doing a bit of construction work at the station so it’s all a bit messy but that doesn’t affect the buses.
I had about ten minutes to wait for the 311. On weekdays they run every hour. The route is a loop which, all up, takes an hour so the bus is running almost constantly.
I wasn’t the only person heading out towards Slottskogen. There was an old man who seemed to know everyone and had a jolly good chat with them each in turn before getting on the bus. He also got off the bus at the same stop as them all so I guess they’re all neighbours. It all sounded happy and jolly until the old man’s phone started playing Lollipop, Lollipop really loudly and he struggled to turn it off. Which only goes to show that old people should have to sit a test before getting a smart phone.
I left the bus and stepped into a wonderfully silent bit of road cutting through a forest. Most of the passengers walked off into the forest, down a little track. All except for one lady with a shopping trolley who went via the proper footpath. I crossed the road and started heading into what I figured was the centre of town.
I was on a dual mission. Firstly I had to check out what the place was like, sound-wise among other things but I also had to check out one particular house that Mirinda found that might be perfect for us. I found it almost straight away. It’s the one in this photo with the orange roof tiles..
The house is one of a small collection of houses, surrounded by forest. As I continued walking along the footpath, heading towards what was supposed to be a shop, I realised there were several of these little groups of houses almost carved out of the forest but with a good distance between each group.
The soundscape was excellent. There was the odd car but there’s no way the road could be considered busy by any stretch of the imagination. I did hear a couple of planes – Slottskogen is about 40 km from Arlanda airport but, the planes have climbed pretty high by the time they fly over. In fact, they’re not as bad as the Lear jets and Chinooks we regularly get over Farnham.
I continued walking until I reached the ‘centre of town’ except it’s basically a cross roads with a bus stop on one bit of it. There’s a school and some buildings being constructed – housing units by the looks of it. But no sign of a shop. I kept walking.
I had to make sure I was in time to get the next bus because if I missed the next one it would be an hour before the next. There wasn’t a lot to do in Slottskogen for an hour.
I did find the ‘shop’ which is actually not a shop. There’s a big leisure centre with football pitches and tennis courts and a big swimming pool and the so-called shop, which serves drinks and ice creams.
I then managed to get the next bus back to Bålsta. I managed to get a pretty good look at Skokloster slott which looks like it could be like Tyresö slott and Northolmen. Though obviously not as good as Northolmen!
Eventually, I returned to the bus station and made my way across to the centrum.
Bålsta has a proper little centrum with a few shops undercover, including an Espresso House, an Apotek and a Coop as well as a few other shops, including, I’m happy to say, a Systembolaget.
Sadly, the Espresso House was pretty useless. The system they use appears to be based on the non system principle. They don’t always make people’s drinks which doesn’t say an awful lot for the computer system they use. I gave up waiting and asked for it in a takeaway cup because I had to get to the station and, besides, I’d finished my bagel. Both of the people working there were utterly flustered. And my coffee wasn’t the only forgotten one. This is not what I expect from Espresso House!
The train ride back to Stockholm Central was as smooth as I’ve come to expect and I was soon coming up from the T-bana stop near my accommodation. I had to pop into the Systembolaget because I promised Dave the Gardener some proper Swedish aquavit.
I only have one more day in Stockholm and then I must start the long trip home. I’m really going to miss it.
Okay, we’re not going to live on Söder but, still, I’ve loved doing just that.
I realised that I hadn’t wished Sharon a happy birthday for a few years, so, thus the title.