It felt rather glamorous and grown up to be flying off to Stockholm on Friday night with no children with us at all. We hadn’t got rid of them on purpose, but all four were otherwise engaged – something which is bound to happen more and more. We even flew Ryan Air, which as anyone with kids knows is pretty much like doing the assault course they used to have on the Krypton Factor, only blindfolded, with your legs tied together and with a mule repeatedly kicking you in the shins.
Without kids, it’s a whole different and altogether not-unpleasant experience. Admittedly, TL had booked the tickets and had opted to reserve seats and get us in the priority boarding queue, which I would have been too mean to do. And we also took the precaution of getting our supper from Leon at the airport, instead of buying a dodgy-looking panini on board for £75.
Because I didn’t have the stress of packing for all kinds of small (and not so small people), I managed to forget all kinds of things – we didn’t bring an adaptor, I brought the wrong laptop cable and I even forgot our stash of Swedish krona. This made me rather anxious, especially as our flight arrived at Skavsta quite late in the evening. As I thought, there seemed to be nowhere to change money when we landed, but in fact the airport bus into central Stockholm took cards. Phew.
And, in fact, that was the last time we even tried to change any money. For the first time ever, we managed the whole trip without any local currency, just using cards. Maybe we’ll be charged hideous rates of interest for this, but I must say it made everything seem a lot easier (though it did mean I never fully got the hang of the exchange rate – divide prices by 12, anyone?!). A couple of places even specified that their tills were cards only, no cash. I did think, on the last day, as I attempted to use a loo in the huge Ahlens department store, that I would finally have to crack and get some change – but no, even the public loo had a special card machine for its charge of less than £1.
There are loads of things I love about Sweden but one of my favourites has to be the fantastic design sense that the entire population seems to share. Nothing is garish or badly put together, and that includes everyone’s outfits. We were in a trendy bar one night and everyone except us was wearing black, white or charcoal and looking as though they’d just stepped off a catwalk. And all the interiors are to die for. Love it.