Vancouver to Heathrow to Stockholm

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August 2nd 2013
Published: August 2nd 2013
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We're a bit zombieish. As I said last post, Gill and Rob were embarrassingly generous and thoughtful hosts. We had a wonderful time with them and their two daughters Jenni and Kati and granddaughter Elizabeth. Families are wonderful.

So, we left Deep Cove driven by Rob heading for YVR (as a seasoned traveller I get to use airport abbreviations) and met up with the famed Vancouver traffic snarl up. It made progress slow but we'd left plenty of time; even so the traffic on a daily basis would add to one's blood pressure . YVR got a makeover for the Winter Olympics a few years ago and it looks good and works pretty well as far as I could see.

We were on a Canadian Airlines flight to Heathrow. I know I shouldn''s very xenophobic...probably very colonial as well, not to mention the little guy syndrome..BUT I reckon some of these big airlines have a long way to go to match Air New Zealand for quality of service (and by that I mean flight staff who actually make you feel that you are welcome and they want make your flight as trouble free as possible) and quality of food (and by that I mean well presented, with variety and with some flavour). That's within the limitations of in-flight food of course. So, as you may have guessed we award CA 5 out of 10. Not quite a fail...

Anyway, we arrived at Heathrow after an 8 and a half hour flight, quicker than expected, got through the dreaded Heathrow entry and customs not too badly and then checked in for Stockholm on British Airways. We had a few hours to wait so we mooched around feeling smelly and a bit frayed at the edges ending up in a faux English pub called Huxleys where we had a snack and, in my case, a beer. We still had a couple of hours to wait for our flight so we tried to find somewhere to have a nap in the departures lounge. No sofas to be seen but Lyn (sleep anywhere Lyn, that is) grabbed a couple of chairs and she was gone.... Sleeping sitting up, fortunately not with her mouth open. At one stage I swear I saw another random traveller take her picture! The upshot was that we lost track of time and for the first time in our travelling career were the last to board and just made it before the gate closed. That would not have been fun.

To balance the CA criticism: this time the BA crew were welcoming and helpful and the snack (it was only a 1hr 40m flight) was fresh and tasty. This is our first time to Scandinavia but it was very cloudy so we couldn't see any ground below.We were actually flying at 37000 feet which seemed unusually high to me.

Landed at Arlanda Airport on time, took the 200kph airport express into the city and met up with Gavin, Heather, Raymond and Emmy. It's a really pleasant vibe when you're tired, a bit worn out, in a strange place, to see friendly, familiar faces heading towards you down an unknown street at a cheerless railway station.

Our hotel here is a bit of a dag. Rooms are small and each bathroom/kitchen unit is a moulded plastic self-contained box sitting in the middle of the room. Ours is bright red. It's the same in all the rooms. It seems to work well and probably accounts for the cost here being quite reasonable.

This morning we're off to the ABBA Museum. Some of you will groan and ask why, others will applaud and say, why not. We are looking forward to it. Personally I've prepared by listening to ABBA Gold on my iPod on the way over.

Only one day here before we're on a train to Gothenburg where Raymond and Emmy live.



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