Hello! Swee Swenden

Finally! Got down to blog about my recent work trip to Stockholm. The title said it well – Sweden was really very Swee (beautiful in hokkien). 
The journey from Singapore to Bangkok and then to Arlanda Airport is not that perfect though. I was on board a red eye flight for 13 hours! and on economy class (cry). Well, my boss had warned me about it and I did tried to apply for economy premium seats but they were all sold. 
It was not that bad, really
I was seated right behind a lovely couple and their gorgeous toddler who did not cry throughout the flight; she cried throughout the time she was awake. In between, the stewards and stewardess walked up and down the aisle and in and out of the food preparatory section which was strategically located just beside me. But what tops it all was my much coveted window seat (check out the magnificent view from the window), the elderly folk seated by the aisle was very sick, he could not stand nor walk without support. In order not to trouble him, I’ve kept my bladder tight for a good 10 hours throughout the long haul from Bangkok to Stockholm. Miserable was an understatement. 
The awe-inspiring view of the morning from 1158km altitude. AWWWWW!
The flight ended and my day began at 6.30am CET, Arlanda Airport, Stockholm. 
That is 11.30pm in Singapore (OMG). Sleep deprived? I was beyond. I went through the ordeal of custom checks and baggage pick-up, it felt almost like an out-of-body sort of experience until the sobering moment when I pushed open the heavy glass door at the exit. COLD BREEZE! It was -6 degrees in Stockholm that morning. 
Where I rested my head for that 3 nights
I took a taxi to the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, which is about a 5 minutes walk away from my office in Stockholm. It was a cosy and nice place to put up for a work trip. Nothing too fancy or posh but comfortable and warm enough for me. Basic shower toilet with no bath tub (much to my disappointment but still), that was fine. What was not so fine was that toothbrush was not provided(I thought it’s a given). And silly me, did not check the souvenir corner at the hotel lobby (they actually sold toothbrush and toothpaste at the lobby!) before venturing out to the town area after work that day just to buy toothbrush. 
Cosy room with bed and desk.
I did my work on the bed most of the time. 
Breakfast at the hotel cafe.

Off to office for meeting at 9am CET. 

I couldn’t figure out if I was more worried than excited or the other way around. I wasn’t too sure if I could indeed complete everything on the agenda for the trip within a short 3 work days. Thankfully, things somehow all fell in place. 
Electrolux Head Office
Reception area.
Pantry area where the folks there have fika (tea break in Swedish)

Out and about
Albeit, the very severe schedule. Somehow, in between work, jet lag, more work and sleep, I took some time out to see the city. All the while, I was looking out for snow. Despite it was very cold throughout the trip, there was no falling snow, just patches of melting snow on the ground.

Red bus and some snow along the street.
I thought this look really retro.
Once upon a time, I think I saw it in Singapore or was it Malaysia. 
Retro phone post at Old Town.

Subway. It costed me about 75SEK(to and fro) to travel a distance of about 8 train stations. That is more that 10SGD! 
Me in my pretty pink down jacket on board the subway.
Upclose with the royal palace. 

I love the Old Town. It feels like I’ve traveled back in time and I could the splendor of this kingdom in the olden days. The Old Town is within walk-able distance from the Gamla Stan Subway Station.

At the other end of the Gamla Stan Subway Station. Check out the frozen lake! 
Evening, on my way back to hotel

I love the pastries in Stockholm. You’ll be spoiled by the choices of bread and cakes. 
Dinner at hotel cafe. Meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingo cherries and pickles. Yummy! Worthy a note, the meatballs are about 1.5 times bigger that those we get at Ikea in Singapore.

In between the many conscious, subconscious and unconscious moments away from home. I was missing the kids real bad. I bought postcards and wrote to them at the hotel cafe. I know they would received the postcards prior to my return, but I wanted to let them know that they were on my mind even when we were miles apart and I supposed, it would be fun for them to receive mails from far far away.

The trip ended with hugs and goodbyes from warm-hearted friends in the head office. The journey home seemed longer, I think it was the anticipation to be home, to embrace the people that I missed. I recall, looking out from the plane, seeing our lovely island on the canvas of blue (okay, I know the sea we see at east coast an sentosa aint that blue but it seems blue-er from a distance) waters. Stockholm was beautiful, but nowhere in this world makes me feel more at home then my home itself. So yup, I love my humid, sunny, and mostly air-conditioned Singapore.

VERY IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: The trip was meant for work and work was what I did, mostly. I did not skive nor sneak out of office when I was not supposed to. I did not abduct my colleague (who had a leg injury) to risk her health in the cold to wander around the city with me. Absolutely,  no work related matters suffered in the process. 

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