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Stockholm 2010, day six (final), going home

Final day, and time to just wake up, pack up the last few things before I check out of the hotel and start my way towards the airport.

I was a bit worried about getting the spin art from the day before with me home, but after a few tweaks to my suitcase (if I open up a special zipper in the lid, the suitcase can contain about 2-3 cm more stuff), I was able to carefully squeeze the frame into the lid. I was already looking up options for mailing it home or cost for extra pieces of luggage on my flight (the first piece of luggage is free with SAS, anything beyond that costs extra), but the fact that it managed to fit into the lid made me relax a whole lot more.

I had been up almost all night surfing the web and didn’t get around to really turn in for the night before closer to 6 in the morning. I already had my phone’s alarm clock set to a 8:30 wake-up call, since they stop serving the breakfast buffet at 10, with an additional wake-up at 11 (final check-out is at 12, or noon). I woke up just slightly at the first wake-up call, and decided I could just catch a few more hours of sleep and find something on the way to the airport instead.

I’m thankful for almost eternal repeat (the app I use for my phone’s alarm clock makes me solve mathematical problems to completely shut off the alarm) – I didn’t get my ass out of the hotel room until it was closer to 11:55, which is really pushing it. I took the bus the usual three stops to where I can switch to the subway. There’s a Burger King right next to this stop, and I had originally thought about grabbing me a burger menu (I didn’t have to be at the airport for another 2 hours at least), but I decided to just travel all the way to the airport, get myself to the baggage drop and be done with it. The subway leads about 4 stops to T-Centralen, which is where just about all public transportation in Stockholm meets, including the Arlanda Express, which takes me to the airport in 20 minutes or less.

Yes, this little folder

Arriving at the airport at about 13:10, I felt I had all the time in the world, and after walking about 5-10 minutes around the check-in area to find my airline’s check-in terminals and baggage drop-off counters, I suddenly realized I had forgotten my folder aboard the airport express train.

Now, this is where I kept a written copy of the booking reference code, one of my credit cards (more specifically, the credit card I used to pay for this trip), and last but not least, my passport.

You can imagine the sense of panic I felt at that moment. I rushed downstairs to the airport express trains and waited for the next train to arrive. I tried looking in through the windows around where I sat, hoping it was the exact same train I arrived on myself, but without luck. Finally, one of the train staff noticed the slightly confused and worried person that I had become at that point, and approached me. I explained the situation, and he managed to call up the train central for more information. The train he was operating was at its last stop, and would be switching tracks to leave for the city about 5 minutes later, but he would meet me again at the track at the other side of the platform to give me an update.

Sure enough, the guys at the central had found my folder, and the person now holding my travel folder would be on the train arriving at 14:10, about 40 minutes later. I patiently waited at the platform until the time came, and I finally got it back, with an immense feeling of relief.

I rushed back upstairs to check in my baggage (SAS lets you check in to the flight and select seats up to 22 hours before the flight, so I did just that the night before), first via one of the check-in terminals (for a baggage attachment), and then over the the drop-off counter. When I had dropped off my suitcase, I looked at the clock up on the wall; it was now 14:30. The flight takes off at 15:35, and baggage has to be checked in no later than an hour on international flights (this was for a flight from Stockholm, Sweden to Oslo, Norway). So much for that relaxing extra time I was hoping for.

Next up was a quite long walk through the security checkpoint and to my gate (which was probably as far away as you could possibly get – if you’re on an international-bound flight at Arlanda airport outside Stockholm, try walking the distance to gate 10A, you’ll see what I mean). I managed to grab me a cinnamon bun and a croissant along with an orange soda (Zingo) when I had found my gate, just to eat at least something (and those were the only things I found tempting at the time).

The transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight at Gardermoen airport (outside Oslo) was no picnic, either. I now remember what I hate about travelling internationally, especially if the first airport I arrive at on an international flight isn’t the airport of my final destination. I have to walk a long way to the baggage pick-up, take my luggage, haul it through customs and outside the security checkpoint, where I have to check-in my baggage again (I can go directly to the drop-off counter this time, though) and go through the security checkpoint all over again. I don’t think I’ve walked that far in a very long time.

Good thing the next flight of my trip wasn’t leaving for another 2 hours or so. After finally finding some decent food (the choice finally landed on a heated ham and cheese ciabatta), I found the right gate for my flight (which wasn’t up on the boards yet when I first arrived through the checkpoint) and sat down for some eating time. The flight appeared to be slightly delayed, and seemed to be the last of the 19:10 flights to start boarding, but this slight delay allowed me to finish my ciabatta and soda before the boarding started.

Some flights can really be tiresome. I just hope the flight portion of my next trip goes more smoothly. I don’t know when or where my next trip will be, though, but I hope it won’t be too long.

And for those who are interested, I’ve uploaded all photos from this week to my Flickr account:

Flickr photoset: Late Summer Vacation 2010