Sweden: Day 1. The travel.

Dear Reader,

I am right now somewhere in the island of Björkö, in Sweden. It is located to the northeast of Stockholm, about 2h40 min by bus (actually, one metro and two buses).

I came from Germany, where I was before, by train. 16 hours. Except for not sleeping very much, and feeling very tired at the end of the journey, it was not bad. I normally prefer travelling by train than by plane, especially these days.

A PCR or antigen negative test was required for the travel. I took two, just in case, but no one checked them, at least mine and those of the passengers nearby. However, while I tried to sleep as we were travelling from Germany to Denmark, I’ve heard that a passenger was apparently booted out of the train by the controller for not having a valid test. I am not sure what happened exactly, but something along those lines. I think this was still on the German side, near the border.

The train from Hamburg to Copenhagen was comfortable enough, even if not great for sleeping. Seats however are wide, and if no one is sitting by your side, you can lie down a bit and sleep a bit better. However, the bright lights were never turned off, and you were not supposed to take off your mask, so I didn’t sleep much.

On the Denmark side, the police entered the train. A speaker voice informed that people should have a vaccine certificate or a PCR test, but the police asked only for passports (real passports, not vaccine ones). Afterwards we went through.

I stayed for half an hour at the Copenhagen train station. Here, in the station and train, masks were still mandatory, although they didn’t need to be the FP2 type (these are the only ones accepted in OCD Germany now), and apparently there was some sort of “corona pass”, but I was not asked for one at the station’s cafe. Soon it was time to take the new train, from Copenhagen to Stockholm (about 5 hours).

As we crossed into Sweden, things changed. The police did not come in, and the controller asked only for tickets. Many people were no longer using masks (they are not mandatory, just optional in Sweden). People seemed calm and relaxed. Apparently, Omicron, or at any rate Omicron panic, forgot to cross the border.

Arriving in Stockholm, the station and the whole block around it was without electricity. I walked a bit outside. The day was grey, cloudy and rainy, but there was no snow. I entered into a Mongolian restaurant, which was also without electricity and was illuminated only by candles; they offered a sushi takeaway, but just as I was to accept the offer, electricity came back. So I just sat at a table to eat the Asian buffet, accompanied by a Swedish beer. A strange combination, perhaps, but not a bad one.

Then, to get to my final destination, I still needed to take a metro and two more buses. In the first bus, a drunkard was loudly singing what I guess was an old Swedish song. He sang for about half an hour. But just as I decided that perhaps it would be a cool idea to record it, he suddenly stopped singing. The travel was silent from then on.

Now I am here in a place isolated from almost everything. There’s only forest and a few houses around. Also a small church. Other than that, the closest grocery store is 7 km away. There are no bars or restaurants, nor anything really. I’ve heard that there are deer and even lynxes roaming around. I saw some pretty big animal footprints in the snow. Not sure if it was a lynx or just someone’s dog.

I’ll be here from now on, and I’ll be posting daily updates and some pictures. See you around.

Best regards,