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Author: Scott Ritcher (page 23 of 24)

Public transit

Here are a few pictures of the public transit so you can see a bit of how nice it is. Yes, the buses have curtains! The blue and white sign in the window is an ad for their schedules which you can view on mobile phones. It says, “Pssst. We left a trip planner in your pants.”

Inside one of the Tunnelbana (subway) trains. I live off the last stop on one of the lines so sometimes at night there are only a few people going to the end of the line. The seats are cloth and have little cartoons of famous sites in Stockholm like the old city hall, the harbor, Storkyrkan (big cathedral), and Globen…

This is one of the transit centers, Gullmarsplan, with Globen behind an office building in the background. Globen is a big indoor arena that is shaped like a gigantic white sphere. It looks like the future used to look. It’s lit up with different colors each night. I’ll try to get a better picture of the whole sphere for next time.

One of the T-bana stations. Each station was designed by a different artist and many of them are really retro, having been decorated in the 60’s and 70’s. This black and white photo helps that look but doesn’t really show how long the stations are. The tiles in this station are all different shades of yellow. The advertisement is for SAS Airlines and says, “More cheaper trips than ever.”

Obama


This is a lady I saw on the train this morning in Stockholm reading Barack Obama’s “Dreams of my Father” in Swedish. It made me happy.

The Swedish title is “Min Far Hade en Dröm” which means “My Father Had a Dream.” Not exactly the same thing, is it?

Space Invaders


Secretly snapped photo of someone on the train with a Space Invaders bag.

NK department store


NK is one of the big department stores in Stockholm. These stores are enormous and pretty expensive. Another one, Åhléns City, is also 5 or 6 stories tall and takes up an entire city block.

Ingen reklam tack


The mail slot on one of my neighbors’ doors. Almost every mailbox says “ingen reklam tack” which means “no advertising please” – a request that is honored by law if you have it posted. These people added an extra line “but gladly Ikea catalogs!”

Bulleit Bourbon and Systembolaget


Bulleit for sale at Systembolaget which is the state-owned liquor monopoly. The price is 279 kronors (about $35) and it says, “Tasty, burned whiskey with barrel character, elements of liquorice, caramel and vanilla.” It’s actually cheaper than Maker’s and Jack Daniel’s. Of the seven whiskeys Systembolget carries, four are Kentucky bourbons. Noice! I haven’t splurged yet. I may save it until May when Sammy and Alex are coming up from Germany for Derby Day!

Systembolaget locations are the only liquor stores in the country. It’s a non-profit operation owned by the government and the products are taxed based on their alcohol content; so bourbon, vodka, and things like that are expensive while beer is affordable, but they’re only sold as single bottles. You can’t buy a “case” of beer, just a bunch of singles. They close at 6 every day and are closed Sundays. On Fridays you’ll see everyone in the city and on the trains carrying their green and purple bags of alcohol. Some of the locations have an amazing selection (each shop is a little different). Because Systembolaget is buying alcohol for the entire country, they are one of the biggest purchasers or alcohol in the world, so some of the prices are quite good. I’ve seen a few good and rare beers that we paid $7 or $8 for at Rich O’s going for around $2 or $3 there.

Dressing the statues


This is a strange phenomenon in Stockholm. If someone loses a glove or jacket, instead of taking it or leaving it on the ground, people pick them up and put them in nearby trees or on statues to make them easy to find if the person comes back. It’s pretty nice to see the statues keeping warm.

Ranch


Yes, it’s not just Hoosiers who love ranch. Hilbilly cuisine has been exported. “A fresh taste of tomato and onion.”

Kylskåpsmagneter


Someone was getting rid of an old refrigerator but they left their poetry magnets on it. I took a few good ones for our refrigerator, like “älskling” (lover), “kylskåp” (refrigerator), “varför” (why), etc.

When it’s cloudy or snowy at night, the sky glows a sort of pale orange/pink from the city lights reflecting back like in this picture. The past few nights, however, have been really clear, super black, and starry without the moon.

Gamla Stan


In Gamla Stan (the old town), the electrical boxes are painted like little houses. This parts of the city dates back to the 1200’s. Reeeaaal old timey! I presume the electrical boxes were added later.

Mat folie


This means “food foil” but when I saw it all I could think of was, “My name is Matt Foley and I am a motivational speaker.”

Frozen

Sunset over the frozen water between Södermalm and Gamla Stan.

Södermalm


A nice scene of Södermalm (the south island) which is the “hip” part of town. This is close to Chutney, one of my favorite restaurants that has all vegetarian food.

Vasastaden


Frozen rivers, trains, narrow roads. Almost looks like a painting.

Iida & Erik


My friends erik and Iida. She is drinking blood because Swedish people are vampires. He is wearing a Mets shirt because they don’t show baseball on television here so he doesn’t know how much the Mets suck. Oh, zzzing!

Dagensparty

My friend Johanna and I at a Dagensparty in Iida and Erik’s apartment. Dagens are a drink made of white wine, Sprite, and frozen strawberries. Sometimes they are frozen raspberries instead. The name “dagens” means “daily” or “today’s” and is usually used for the daily specials at restaurants. I’m not really sure why this drink is called the daily special, unless you’re supposed to have it every day.

Maoam candy package


A really hilarious – almost profane – logo on a candy box. Those cherries are waiting in line to get licked by that jelly bean!

Everything I own*


A couple days after moving into my apartment, I took this picture of everything I own fitting nicely into these closets, with room to spare.

*=Not pictured are some boxes of photos and other “archives” I have in my parents’ basement in Louisville. Those boxes would fit here in this photo, though. I also have a guitar case that isn’t in the picture. But, okay, other than those things – which would all fit in these closets – shown here really is everything I own.

Oh yeah, and I guess you’re not seeing the clothes I was wearing or the camera I used to take the picture. But seriously, other than those things…

Home sweet Hagsätra


After a few days, I moved in with a Dutch guy named Sander in another suburb of Stockholm called Hagsätra. I found him and the apartment on the internet and made contact with him from America, so I already had this lined up. He is a carpenter who moved to Sweden about a year ago. Because of all the snow, moving in took a few days, even though I only own two bags of stuff.

These are some photos of the apartment. It’s about a 10-minute walk to the Tunnelbana (subway) and from there it’s only about 17 minutes to the center of Stockholm.


The living room.


My room. Nothing fancy, but I don’t really have any stuff.

Map of Hagsätra in relation to Stockholm.

Coffee cup


A paper to-go coffee cup with the heat sleeve built-in!

Night views in Haninge


Night view of a frozen park and forest seen from Iida and Erik’s kitchen window. They live on the eighth floor, which Swedes call the seventh floor. The ground level is always zero. You can’t really see it in the photo but there are some people out there cross-country skiing.


A quiet scene of the courtyard between the apartment buildings. I thought this looked kind of scary and reminded me of the awesome Swedish vampire movie “Låt den Rätte Komma In” (trailer).

Haninge

When I first arrived in Stockholm, I stayed with my friends Iida and Erik in a suburb called Haninge. This is the Handen station of the Pendeltåg (commuter train) near their house in Haninge. I was greeted with several days of heavy snow. Welcome to Sweden!

This is an attempt at a self portrait in the swirling wind and snow.

Map of Haninge in relation to Stockholm

Billy Mitchell is a winner


This is a photo of the television playing the amazing movie “King of Kong” which is a documentary from 2007 about the fight for the world record Donkey Kong score. As you can see, it is subtitled in Swedish. All the programming shown here is run in its original language with subtitles. This is part of why Swedes speak perfect English. An interesting fact I learned about the Swedish language is it contains no words which are considered inappropriate for broadcasting. Every word in the language can be said on television.

Stockholm


A mail train passing through Stockholm Central Station – quite pretty compared to US freight trains.

Malmö, Sweden


My dear friend Emma Pettersson and her cat Skrållan, whose hair is still all over my stuff. This was the third occasion in a year’s time that I have stayed in her Malmö apartment. We also met up last summer when she and fellow Malmö friend Wictoria Trei were visiting New York City.


The cold scene on the bicycle/pedestrian lane near Emma’s apartment. It’s a long way from New York last July when it was so hot and sunny that we were sweating all day and had sunburns at night.


The train I rode from Malmö to Stockholm.

Stockholm


A mail train passing through Stockholm Central Station – quite pretty compared to US freight trains.

Copenhagen, Denmark


Jackie picking up her little boy Oscar from daycare.


City of Louisville sticker on Jackie’s bicycle in Copenhagen.


Scott Ritcher for Senate sticker Joen put on a pole near their house in Copenhagen (“South Harbor Place”)

Evanston, Illinois


Coffee with Greta and Brian who were coincidentally in the process of moving to Louisville after many years in Evanston, Illinois. They were staying in a hotel.

Greta and Brian with all their stuff in storage, shortly before they dropped me off at the O’Hare airport.

On the runway


In the months leading up to my departure for Sweden, I had a countdown clock running on my iPhone. It was counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until I left. I took this screenshot of it as I was sitting in the plane on the runway in Chicago. This was right when they were asking everyone to turn all their shit off.

At the time, I was really sad. I had just said good-bye to my sister and I was thinking about how much I was going to be missing my friends. As I’m posting this photo about six weeks later, all I notice about it is the AT&T service in the top corner and how much I miss unlimited data plan on the iPhone. Of course, I miss everyone a lot, but I can’t think about it too much.

This image also reminds me of how I searched the O’Hare Airport for a burrito while I was waiting for my flight. I knew from previous visits to Sweden (and Europe in general) that Mexican food is either nonexistent or a pale imitation, so I wanted to have one last feast. My search for a burrito was fruitless. I ended up having a deep-dish pizza and a local Chicagoan dark microbrew. Worked out great.

Chicago



Photo booth fun with Mary Regal at the Rainbo Club in Chicago the night before leaving America.