July 29, 2002
night was quite restful, despite the wake-up call at 8 in the morning. We
completely slept through the stop in Aland, about 3/4 the way to Stockholm. We
beat the madness around the elevators by bringing our belongings to the car well ahead of everyone
else, and we could enjoy watching the docking at the harbor. Or not: the Silja
Line doesn't dock in the center of Stockholm, unlike the Viking Line, but rather
into a remote industrial dock which is not worth the look.
followed was some 700 km in the car, more or less non-stop. The art museum in
Stockholm was closed because it was Monday, very much to Essan's distress. Minor
confusion about the menu at the rest stop was the biggest excitement of the day
(of course it was once again about Essan and her fish), and so it happened that
around 17:00 we were in Malmö, ready to cross the toll bridge to Copenhagen.
They had very modern means of payment - they took credit cards at 4 booths, and
cash at one. Strangely, everyone was in that one cash line, which further goes
to show that Europeans have not discovered the convenience of the credit card,
or are rather suspicious of them. At any rate, after about 5 seconds I got rid
of some US$40 toll for the bridge. This is what bugs me: the outcry when the
toll at the San Mateo bridge (longer than the bridge from Malmö to Copenhagen)
was increased from $1 to $2, due only one way.
in Copenhagen the search for a hotel started. Not too expensive, please, and
with a possibility to park, too. It was difficult to find both, so we ended up
at the Radisson SAS
hotel, within walking distance to city center (by European
walking standards, that is). I felt proud to be staying with style, like my friend
Peter, who on our space shuttle trips tends to stay at the hideously pink yet
very comfy Radisson in Cocoa Beach. Finally, I was almost as cool as him; this
Radisson was not pink but rather a big concrete block.
The receptionist was probably inspired by Essan's appearance and so we got a room on the 21st floor with view of the town, decorated in Chinese style. I didn't dare to approach the window, but Essan used it to scout for targets. You will be very thrilled about living on the 21st floor when the elevator dies, though. When we arrived, the ABB technician was already busy fixing it - but all 5 elevators were down. So back to the service elevator, everyone! The hotel manager was personally apologizing and handing out cups of water in the somewhat shady and suspicious corners labeled "Employees Only".
And off we were
to the old town, hunting for a place to eat. Unless you want to pay $50 per
person you will have a hard time to find some non-burger food here, or at least
we did. We ended up at a Mediterranean restaurant, which even though not
locally authentic was very good. Especially the curiously strong garlic paste
was great, not something I would have eaten in such high quantities had we still
been in a tent.