Turning Japanese, I Don’t Think So

Ever wondered what it’s like to sleep in a capsule hotel but a bit scared of the whole morgue-like experience? Don’t fear. Japanese food king Yo-Sushi has come up with a compromise for anyone passing through Gatwick. Behold, the Yotel.

These are ‘cabins’, and while not really anything like actual capsule hotels (refer to my trip to Kyoto, Japan), these are a nifty thrifty use of space in the South Terminal. Perfect for a pre-flight kip if you are hauling ass from somewhere else to grab a early morning flight.

I do love a novelty hotel, after all. Somewhere on a hard drive, I have pictures of the McDonald’s concept I briefly lodged in round Zurich Airport way, circa 2003-4. Golden Arches over the bed, very romantic (fortunately this was a solo trip).

Don’t expect a mega bargain on these though, much like the ‘snack’ you’ve hoovered off the conveyor belt, this is pricier than you think. Still fun though.

Posted in The Husband, Travel, Weird shit | 4 Comments

Stockholm pårt one

A few weeks ago, The Husband comes home to tell me that he’s got good news and bad news. The good news is that he’s been given a free ski trip to France for work. The bad news? Plus-ones are not included. Given it’s my winter sport of choice and something I have been perfecting the art of not sucking at for 30+ years, I was understandably annoyed by this news.

But not for very long.

Because I’m not the kind of wife to either insist on coming along or sit at home and stew, purse-lipped on the fact I’m not invited. I immediately sought solace in my Skyscanner app to find my own fun. And that’s when I clocked a cheap-ish ticket to Stockholm. A quick note to an expat pal to confirm she would also be around for lunch. Lock and load, I was ready to see what the Swedish capital had to offer.

Being the hotel junkie that I am, I decided to book 2 hotels. Excessive I know for a 2 night stay, but what the hell. It takes what, an hour to de-camp and re-check in somewhere across town? If you are only hauling some carry-on like me, this is totally doable.

So, first digs: Langholmen Prison. The former cell block on an island near the centre of Stockholm is

This is an even better example of the conversion from prison to hotel than the one I stayed in back in 2006 in Ljubljana. More authentic and at £40 a night including an ensuite, it’s not too hard on the wallet.

Doors are modified with a regular access card entry, but otherwise retain the character of the former prison.

It’s cell-sized, but for one person is perfect. I like the novelty of a cosy room and this one felt big enough for a short stay.

So as not to aimlessly wander the streets on my own, I checked out what music was playing at the world’s largest spherical building and grabbed a seat up front…

Yes, I am middle aged and yes that is Paul Simon and Sting performing together. Say whatever you want, but they both sounded great and while I’m not a massive super fan of either, it was a great show and I knew far more songs than I care to admit.

Waking up the next morning with no hangover I decided to get my runners on and do a lap of the island. A couple of inches fell overnight, but I didn’t let that stop me.

This is the entrance to the prison. A welcome sight after a lung burning jog in sub-zero temps.

I venture into town and found a trendy area called Sodermalm. As I posted before, groups of hot looking Swedish men hang around these places. I should definitely drink coffee. At least, in Scandinavia.

Sweden is a very connected place, internet-wise. I struggled to find anywhere that didn’t offer free wifi. Airport train, hotel, coffee houses, even H&M shops – all free too. Perfect for goading a loved one that you are indeed having a brilliant time not skiing.

Then I checked in Nobis Hotel which, other than being centrally located also has a handy tram stop out front that takes you to other interesting places. It is also fascinating for being the spot where Stockholm Syndrome came from. Back in the 1970s the building was a bank and a gunman took several people hostage for a few days. They developed such a sympathy for him that when he was finally released, they campaigned for his release. This was called Stockholm Syndrome. True story. 

Here endeth part one on account of the crap wifi I’m on failing to allow me to upload any more pictures. Frankly, if you are reading this at all, it’s a miracle.

Posted in Friends, This Expat Life, Travel | 3 Comments