quickly, i’d like to apologise for not finishing the previous series of posts, trying to convey my utter despair. Internet issues once i got back meant it became more difficult, and quite frankly, i got tired of telling the story. Anyway, another trip, another story! Read on:
Monday 9th September; Stockholm Sweden
It’s been a bit of a torrid time when it comes to trips this year: hounded by bitter cold or boiling heat, rained and snowed on repeatedly, delays, breakdowns, you name it. So you can imagine the nerves i was feeling as i got to New Street station, already realising how fine i had cut the timing of my travels, only to discover my train was delayed by 20 minutes. By the time we pulled into Euston, this was well over an hour.
Kicking myself for not expecting this, all things considered, i got to the top of the platform and was ushered to the left, being told “free taxis this way”! Finally, over a year since my last comprehensively successful bouldering tour, i felt my luck had changed. The taxi brought me straight to Stanstead, avoiding lots of faffing on buses and trains, prompt and early, and after several abrupt conversations with people in the airport (for some reason, everyone in Stansted was quite grumpy, although that may have been as it was 4am…) i am now safely on board my flight, listening to weather and cruising height, my eyes slowly drooping as i struggle to stay awake.
I think i shall give in, if i’m honest, yesterday being no less than eventful with training in the morning then getting to here, a little over 12 hours since leaving the Idwal slabs, but have no doubt: this time, for once, i shall sleep with a smile on my face.
5 hours later, in a cafe in Stockholm
As far as journeys go, that surely has to be the smoothest i have encountered in quite some time. The only thing of note to happen on the plane was where i briefly coughed myself awake, to find the large, loud and abrupt Glaswegian next to me asleep on my shoulder. Otherwise, it all went fine! Even my bag made it through the airport quicker than me (which wasn’t slow) and was waiting for me on the other side of passport control.
So i bought a bus ticket, for an unknown amount of money as i neglected to look up the exchange rate, and bumped into a guy with a La Sportiva bag and a large rucksack. No more hints required to start conversation there! and before i knew it, we were deep in conversation about climbing in North Wales, famous climbers and european bouldering venues. At least it beat watching trees go past the window for an hour…
And true to form, i now find myself sat in a WiFi cafe; my only task more pressing being to get a Swedish phrasebook. I’ve said before that i find it rude to go to someone else’s country and expect them to speak my language, although with only three days notice last time, i think i could be excused. However, this has been in the planning for about a year, so really have to try.
It helps that Sweden is so nice; a place i will undoubtedly return year after year. Even if i do have to use my own teabags to get a decent cuppa in the cafe…