My First Impression of Stockholm, Sweden

I arrived in Stockholm around 7:30 AM today. My flight from Chicago to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport was on SAS. It was my first time on SAS and that had to be one of the least comfortable business class flights I have ever been on. The seats reclined into a more-or-less flat bed but the bed was hard and short considering I am just over 6 feet tall. The service was so-so with attentive flight attendants and decent food. Lufthansa and Singapore Air still top my list of favorite airlines. Lufthansa’s First Class had pajamas, y’all. It’s going to be hard to top that.

Stockholm2007_0001Clearing customs was pretty easy. Not Barcelona customs easy, but quick and painless nonetheless. There were no forms to complete, I had nothing to declare and I carried on my bags. Being the 5th person off the plane, I waited in line less than 10 minutes for my turn with the customs agent. It would have been even shorter if another flight had not landed just before ours. I had already exchanged some greenbacks for Swedish kronor (SKR) while in O’Hare so I headed straight for the taxi line. The current exchange rate is about 6:1 SKR to USD. Sweden is a member of the European Union but, like Denmark and the United Kingdom, it has not replaced its currency with the euro.

By 8AM I was in a taxi heading south toward Stockholm. By 8:25 we had hit rush hour traffic. I expected the expressway to be chock full of Saabs and Volvos. I guess there isn’t too much national loyalty to the domestic brands as there were probably equivalent numbers of Peugeots, Benzes and BMWs. I even saw several Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers. We eventually made it to the hotel and the 540kr ($90) taxi fare put me in a panic as I only had 600kr. I asked the taxi driver if he accepted Amex and, somewhat offended, he replied, “But, of course!” Cool. Out came the plastico fantastico and a moment later I was entering the wiggity wackest European hotel I have ever seen.

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