Boats, trains and automobiles

(this post is for Monday, 12 September, 2011)

As noted previously, Stockholm focuses firmly on water travel. Built on fourteen islands and employing over fifty bridges to join them all, Stockholm integrates boat travel into its metro transit system. We were able to catch a water taxi outside out hotel, and mere minutes later we were dropped off where it would have taken the best part of an hour to get to by bus or train, schedules permitting.

Stockholm is situated between the Baltic Sea and a large inland lake. Water flows from the lake around Stockholm’s islands and into the sea. This causes some awkward currents in certain stretches of the canals, and these are dealt with by locks.

The remainder of the transit system is as advanced and efficient as one might expect. Each bus it equipped with a GPS transponder and communicates with the central computer, giving its exact location. A calculation is made as to when the bus will reach its next stop, and this is displayed on a digital screen on each bus-stop awning. Simple, effective and used throughout Europe. Each bus-stop has a time table of departure times from that particular stop. Should a bus arrive ahead of it’s expected arrival time, it will wait, idling until it’s scheduled departure time. How odd we found this, urging the driver to pull away regardless. I guess we have a different mindset to the Swedes.

Our last day in Stockholm was spent maximising our ‘Stockholm Card’ which gave us unlimited access to the museums and transport. We availed ourselves of the Swedish Architecture museum, the Modern Museum, Nordic Museum and more buses, trams, and trains than you can shake a stick at. Often to hop off one train to jump onto another going in the opposite direction simply because we didn’t know how to get out of the station… Our two cards were those that Stockholm made a loss on, we’re pretty sure of that!

We had jumped on a bus to see some of the city. We had little clue that this bus was headed out of town and was taking us to see the Swedish rednecks. We got wind of this, hopped off and onto another bus that the driver laughingly assured us was going into town. He meant we were off to a train station where we could catch a train to town. Getting there, we found ourselves on the wrong side of the station, and without the northern hemisphere sun to misguide us, we were totally lost. Our only option was to catch a train BACK to Gamla Stan, and from there a bus to our hotel. We managed just fine, proving that even incompetent fools can manage in Sweden. We’re pretty sure the country has a bright future!

     Aperture: ƒ/8 Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Focal length: 50mm ISO: 320 Shutter speed: 1/50s
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