A few months ago myself and a couple of friends picked up some dirt cheap airline tickets to Stockholm. Better still, we were flying into the flagship Arlanda Airport, not the ex-military base, poor excuse for an Airport Ryanair flights land at, requiring a further hour and a half of bus travel to get to Stockholm. Nope, we arrived in style.

Stockholm is a city that knows all about snow, unlike London which shuts down when a centimetre of snow falls. We were greeted by a fleet of 8 snow graders driving down the runway in formation quickly and efficiently clearing the enormous volumes of snow, leaving flights running smoothly.

We hopped on the Arlanda express train into the centre which was so incredibly smooth that upon departing the station I did not instantly realise that it was, in fact, us that was departing, not the station. Exactly 20 minutes and 0.00000 seconds later we arrive in Stockholm. We’re soon queueing at the central station for taxis that did not seem to be arriving. It was -11 degrees Celsius outside and this was not fun. We eventually gave up and wandered down the road a bit and found a taxi that would take us to our boat that we were to stay on.

Yep, we stayed on a boat. It sounded like a real good idea at the time of booking but actually it was pretty rubbish. I did not get any sleep the first night due to constant coming and going of other guests throughout the night. Everything was creaky and groaning making sleep for light sleepers like me more or less impossible.

The next morning we ventured out into the extreme cold to find breakfast wearing many many layers of clothing. The first day was mostly spent by wandering around in the old town which is on one of the islands in the harbour. Everyone seemed cheerful, doing their Christmas shopping with layers and layers of padding on.

On the second day we attempted to have breakfast in an area of town that we were told was good for food venues. Well that didn’t work out. We didn’t find anything that was open and finally had to settle on a less-than-satisfying breakfast at Burger King.

We then ventured over to the Vasa museum which contained a 17th centuary warship which was famous for having being built, then sinking on its maiden voyage after short 1.5KM trip. D’oh! Sadly I didn’t get many good pictures as my camera was still frozen up for most of the time I spent inside the museum.

Interesting fun fact I learned in Stockholm: When it’s darn cold i.e. -10 degrees, You can’t make Snowmen or Snowballs. The snow is so darn dry that it won’t stick to its self. Does that suck or what!

I enjoyed Stockholm but photographically speaking it was a bit of a downer for me. Throughout the whole weekend I was dogged down with tiredness and coldness making it difficult to concentrate.


On the 12th of November I flew out to Budapest for 2 days. This was to be my first time in Eastern Europe. Except it wasn’t very eastern, rather more western actually. We found ourselves in what I did not realise was a former Soviet state, with few obvious signs of this communist past. Today they have all of the western like stuff there: Modern cars, McDonalds every few hundred meters, Tesco but no KFC (What’s that all about?)

The City is divided into two parts: Buda, and Pest. Buda on the west of the River Danube, and Pest on the East. Buda is a nice touristy area with a big palace and lots of other cool looking stuff, but me being me, I found other things more interesting:

What are these wooden troughs all over the place? Heaps of buildings have these erected at their base. Well it turns out they’re for catching bits and pieces that fall off the buildings. What an eyesore! Yes sir, I have visited my first Non-stinking-rich country (where everything in the inner city is usually perfect and immaculate).

Because we were only there 2 days we didn’t see an awful lot. On the first day we went on a “Free” Walking tour. Well if by “Free” you mean “Not free” then yes, it was free. I’m used to doing walking tours where donations are appreciated at the end but this mob practically has us in cuffs until we’d paid up. This did leave a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth if nothing else. Still, We got to see places and were told the stories, even if a little fleeced afterwards.

On the second day we visited the House of Terror which despite having a slightly misleading name (Well in my opinion it does) was a Soviet history Museum. We finished the weekend with a visit to the Turkish Baths (Left behind after that pesky Turkish occupation) which unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of as it was an absolutely spectacular place!