See Warsaw

Sunday, July 24, 2005

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Back to Stockholm and the familiar green scaffolding
Well, I got mostly rained out of Stockholm (it poured the first night and was on and off the second day) but I'd not taken a three and a half hour train to get one more day in a Stockholm hostel, no sir. Or ma'am. As the case may be. It was also rather exciting as it was my first chance to use the little device on my backpack that covers it so the contents don't get soaked. And I got to unfold my rain jacket.

A band playing outside the train station
I strolled around the town, hunting down my hostel for some time, with an American couple in tow who hadn't booked a place to stay. Sadly, my hostel had filled since I booked it, so they were off to try another place, and I searched even longer through the streets of Gamla Stan (Old Town) until finally I got a map and found it. I also hunted down an ATM, because my card hadn't worked in Goteborg, only to find that ATMs here wouldn't give me money either. I had changed the last of my money from Euros to SEK and it looked like that was going to have to do me. It was worrying/frightening that perhaps I'd already exhausted my monetary supplies. I obviously had no idea why it wasn't working.

Given that it was already early evening, I went out for a quick/cheap dinner, if you can call a McTasty that. And, I assure you, I can't. I'm not one to send stuff back, but the salt to beef ratio was high enough that a cow would happily munch down on it, blissfully unaware that there was a hamburger patty at all. The second attempt wasn't much better but I definitely wasn't complaining twice, plus the woman gave me a flurry while I waited, so I was full enough by then anyway to throw out the other half.

Sweden is full of pregnant ladies and carriages
I went out to a few bars, chatted with some guys from Africa, and then met two girls (in the washrooms' common sink, believe it or not) who invited me to sit with them. Now I know you're worried about me meeting girls in sinks, but they weren't the small imaginary variety, I promise. Anyway, I sat with them and their friends, one other girl and two guys, and wound up going to a house party with them. I'd heard the Swedish like their candles, but you should've seen this guy's house. It would be such a joke back home, it looked like a make out paradise. Except that it was completely normal for them all to just have a bunch of candles. I jokingly asked if he'd payed his power bill, and I cemented myself as most whimsical chap of the evening. Homer style. Anyway, I got home around 8 AM and grabbed two hours before checkout, then explored the town a little more. It was raining off and on again so I had little chance to take many photos, but I decided to take what I like to call, "Stockholm - the REAL story. The real people." photos instead.

The big Palace of Culture in Warsaw
Then, an overnight train to Warsaw, spending my remaining dollar (so my wallet was completely empty) on a snack that would have to pacify me until tomorrow where I HOPEFULLY would have some money again. Thankfully, I did get on the net and discovered I actually have more money than I thought, and also that my stocks have gone up quite nicely . Which means I should be okay for even longer than I'd thought! This seemed like terrific news coming from someone who thought they might somehow have been broke.

Anyway, night train to Warsaw, where I am now, leaving at 4 PM and arriving at 12 PM the next day. I was in a room with some Spanish kids, and got to catch up on my reading a little bit. Well, a lot. I bought another round of English books, having completed For Whom The Bell Tolls, How To Be Good, and Foundation by Ernest Hemingway, Nick Hornby, and Isaac Asimov respectively, thinking that Sweden would be an easier place than many others to get English books since EVERYONE speaks English. I bought Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of the Universe, a biography of Winston Churchill, a really interesting history of science and where we're at today, and some other book whose name is eluding me. I started the science history book on the train, which, again, is well written, funny, and as much about the characters that made the discoveries as about the discoveries, their meanings and implications, and am about 300 pages in of 550, so, considering I slept a lot on the train, it's obviously not bad. The train itself went pretty fast actually, and now I'm here at the Oki Doki hostel (sleeping in a room with a bunch of people who decided, with their extra sheets, that they'd make a little fort out of their bunks... I can't wait to meet them!) and will be meeting a few Contikites that went to Russia tonight who happen to also be in town. This is the beginning of my southern trek to Greece, I'm very excited to get there and see the fam as well as Johnny boy, not to mention Greece. But Warsaw seems cool so far, and I'll let you know all about it soon.

<Sweden Part Deux Photos>
<Warsaw Photos>

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