Sitting at a window seat on an SAS flight from Stockholm Arlanda back to Heathrow.
The last blog gave you some background on how a travel trip comes into being. I'm writing this one as I head home from the trip, so I'll give you some idea of how it went and what happens now.
I'm feeling a sense of achievement because I managed to keep my incidental bill on the Gota Canal cruise down to zero. That meant not a single drink with any meal or at either of the bars. Not even tea and coffee. Two days of tap water.
But I'm cross with myself for getting my currency calculations wrong and buying a wonderful melon and blueberry ice cream cone in Stockholm, not for the bargain 60p I'd thought, but for the more Swedish price of £6. My only other expenses were a small bottle of water for £2.20 and a 'gourmet kebab' from a street seller for £6 that turned out to be tasty but mostly the pitta was filled with mashed potato.
You might be thinking, yes, yes, but what about Sweden, the Gota Canal, the experience? Well that was all much as I'd expected from my research and the hundreds of similar trips I've been on before.
It took hours of complicated travelling to get to the start of the canal cruise, on board I discovered I was the only English speaker, the cabins were the smallest I have ever seen, the Gota Canal was pretty without ever being stunning, after a while I started feeling like a prisoner, I didn't sleep well in the stuffy tiny cabin, the food was good, everyone else seemed to drink enormous amounts of the alcohol. One old chap sat and chatted to me for a couple of hours on wicker chairs on the aft deck and ploughed through two bottles of wine at £70 each.
The Swedes love their Gota Canal, its history, the preserved pristine nature of the locks and buildings along the banks and the efficiency of the staff operating them. They all downed schnapps on the first day after a rousing drinking song.
So it's an interesting snapshot of Swedish lifestyle. It's a relaxing genteel cruise in a period boat with appropriately period facilities (ie no TV, radio, and shared bathrooms the size of a wardrobe - oh and there weren't any wardrobes).
I'll see. For now, i'm just looking forward to getting home, relaxing my financial constraints and maybe even treating myself to a beer tonight.