Friday 9 June 2017

Very early start, the taxi arrived to take us to Heathrow at 4:30. The driver had the election news on the radio; a fascinating morning to be up early.  The sun was coming up over the river as we drove past Battersea Power Station. We were quickly through security and into Pret for breakfast.

Stockholm airport is of course very efficient and within a few minutes of leaving the plane we were on the platform waiting for the express to Central Station. It’s a 30 minute journey into the city. We were staying out of the city centre so we left our bags in a locker and went to explore.

The city is built on a number of islands; there is water everywhere. It’s a short walk from the station to the bridge to Gamla Stan Island. This island holds the oldest parts of the city. The majority of the buildings are old and ornate, painted in warm reds, oranges and yellows. We planned to explore this area on the next day so headed across the island and onto the larger Södermalm island. This island is home to residential and shopping streets and a number of highly recommended bun shops and cafes.  Our first stop was Fabrique bakery, this chain has a number of outlets in the city as well as one in Hoxton. The Swedish concept of Fika involves coffee, usually accompanied with buns, pastries or pie, traditionally this would be cinnamon buns – who are we to argue with tradition.

Next stop was Coffice coffee shop, recommended but a bit disappointing.

Lunch was a treat. Herman’s has a large buffet with many hot and cold vegetarian dishes. The garden rambles along the edge of the island with great views back over the old town. The food was very tasty, lots of variety of colours and flavours.

We walked back through the old town to retrieve our bags and get a metro and bus out to our AirBnB. We’d chosen somewhere about half an hour from the city centre; it felt much more. Behind the house there’s a Nature reserve with a large lake in the centre. This has a path right round that was well used by walkers, joggers and cyclists.

Not surprisingly the apartment looks like something from an IKEA brochure, but everything was comfortable and worked well.

No need for dinner after our large lunch so after a bit of a walk around the lake, I headed back into town for the reason we were here – Radiohead at the Ericcson Globe.  The globe is the largest spherical building in the world, as well as being an event venue, it forms the centre of a huge model of the solar system.  Each body is to scale and, the Earth (65cm diameter) is at the Natural History Museum 7.6km away. Jupiter (7.3m diameter) is at the airport 40km away and Pluto (12cm diameter) is 300km to the north.

We’d seen a surprisingly large number of French people around the city centre earlier, the sign outside a bar explained why – Sweden v France in a world cup qualifying game close to our apartment – Sweden won 2-1 with a controversial 93rd minute winner.

I’d been looking forward to the gig for a long, long time and although expectations were high, it exceeded them all.