Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hej! (pr. hey)

My backyard view
Today was my first full day in Stockholm. I woke up around 7:30 this morning and decided to sleep a little longer then didn't wake up again until nearly 10:30! I did a lot of running around this afternoon - I had to go to the Karolinska Institutet to pay my rent, get my KI student ID, and get screened for MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). Because I didn't get going very early and I forgot my confirmation letter (which I had to go back to Jägargatan to retrieve), I was only able to pay my rent and get my KI student ID. The student health center took walk-ins from 1230-230 only and I needed my KI ID in order to get screened which I couldn't get until after I got my confirmation letter. 

from my backyard
On my way back to Jägargatan, I stopped at T-Central which is the main transfer center of the Tunnelbana (Stockholm's metro/subway/light-rail system). The Swedish Tourist Information Center is near this stop and I stopped by to pick up some brochures for ideas for exploration during my time in Sweden. On my way to the Information Center, I passed a really nice running store and wandered around there for a bit. It's definitely all the athletic clothing that I love, and I didn't stay for long...I'll probably end up going back and buying some stuff at some point. Since this seemed to be a pretty happening area, I wandered around some more and stumbled upon a huge department store, Åhléns. In the basement of the department store was a grocery store and I picked up my dinner before heading back to the T-bana which was connected to the store.

My backyard view at sunset
The T-bana is a very efficient, clean way to get around the city of Stockholm. I have never had to wait longer than about 2 minutes for a train even during the slow times of the day. The places you can't get to by train (or ones that would require a long walk), there is an extensive bus network that goes throughout the city and my SL card works for both the T-bana and the buses. I get a chance to learn some Swedish as well since all the signs are in Swedish and all the announcements are in Swedish and all the people around me speak Swedish - well except for the two girls singing an American song playing on an iPod they were both listening to. It's also a great place to do some people-watching. I have noticed that most people use smartphones and most of them are iPhones. Steve Jobs's death made the front page of the news magazines here as well. I have seen no morbidly obese people and only a small minority that I would consider to be overweight. Most of the women wear tight, skinny jeans and almost all wear boots over their skinny jeans. A fair number of people smoke, but probably not more than I see when walking around in the US. 

Park in Söder - used to be the working-class suburb
Other things I've observed: The current movies playing at the Filmstaden (literally, movie town - I pass it on my walk to the T-bana station) are Midnight in Paris, The Help (called Niceville in Swedish), and Bridesmaids. McDonald's, Burger King, and Pizza Hut have all made their way into Stockholm. Tons of people bike commute and their are bike commuter lanes on every road. My walk to the T-bana is along a path for pedestrians and bikers only. Everything is extremely well lit and I feel very safe walking around everywhere that I have been so far. There is a park near my dorm that is also well lit and is a nice green space for walking/biking/running. 

Park near my dorm - very well lit at night
Tomorrow afternoon I leave for my week in Paris. I will try to continue to blog from there and keep you updated on my travels! Hej då! (pr. hey doe-ah)

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