A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
OMG! What a week!
Last week was crazy with terrorism acts in London, yet again. But you know what, we’re not going to panic or let ordinary people scare us, we’re going to keep calm, and get on with things.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Facebook, you would have seen the brilliant photography and quips that I put up about both Sweden and Slovenia!
And if you’re just joining in, I’ll repeat the good news that I had.
I’m sure you don’t mind!
I’m going to be one of a five (5) member academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin!
I’m awfully excited and very proud to be asked.
It’s going to take place on 24.06.17 as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies, My discussion panel will be at 20:00 and the topic will be Brits in Berlin after Brexit, so if you’re in Berlin at this time, come and watch me, and hear me speak!
I was also featured as a guest blogger on the University of Chester Alumni website, and I’m going to be on the University of Chester’s official Case Study posters for postgraduate recruitment too!
Now isn’t that cool!
If you’re just joining here’s what you missed:
Sweden, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Sweden, really needs no introduction, and is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.
It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest, by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.
Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union with a whopping mass area of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles, and a population of just 10 million people!
The capital city is Stockholm.
I wanted to Visit Stockholm because I had never been to Sweden before, as the prices used to scare me to death. But really, it was rather wonderful, and if you’re careful and budget it just right, you’ll be fine.
Besides, there’s an ABBA Museum where you can sing and dance to your hearts delight. And who can say no to ABBA. I adore them so much that I actually cried!
And I’m not the only one. There were scores of straight men, all singing and jiggling away.
What can I say?
Getting from anywhere in the world to Sweden, is easy-peasy.
You can fly, sail, drive, take the train in Europe, or if you’re looking for an adventure, or you’re on a tighter budget, you can use the bus-coach right here!
Obviously, you know me long enough to fear that I would never take the straight and easy path. It always has to be complicated, slightly weird and kooky to match!
Ha! Ha! Ha!
Yes, we did it.
We travelled from Berlin – Stockholm – Berlin entirely by coach-bus!
What did you say now?
You heard me.
I know you’re crazy Victoria, ‘cos the last time you took a 26 hour bus from Estonia – Berlin, didn’t you say that you would never do that again, and yet, here you are!
Doing it again!!!
Now I was originally supposed to be working with an entirely different company which would have meant flying to Sweden and cruising across the Baltic Sea. It would have included Finland too! However, the confirmation of our partnership was taking far longer than I expected, and so I decided to make my own arrangements while I still had a window open!
And when I saw the price of flights and trains, I almost had a heart-attack because the prices had inflated to the verge of €600 – €700 for two people. Remember, smart travel means that I do a lot of travelling either during public holidays, through the summer or at the weekends.
And that didn’t include the price of hotels.
I’m a clever girl so I put on my thinking cap. And voila! I was able to work something out with the lovely Stockholm Visitors Board team while I was at the ITB Berlin. They totally saved my bacon when I told them that I was planning to Visit Stockholm.
They not only offered me a complimentary Stockholm Pass, but also put me in contact with the Hobo award-winning design hotel that was just launched in March!
I’ll tell you a bit more about this further down below.
Organising partnerships, marketing campaigns and the like takes time. Sometimes I’m enormously lucky, like the time when I contacted the wonderful Visit Amsterdam team who didn’t mind the fact that I was begging them for help on their private mobile phones on Boxing Day! And sometimes, I put my money where my mouth is, and get the damn tickets myself, before it’s too late!
And that’s exactly what I did!
FlixBus, previously known as MeinFernbus is a young German mobility provider that has been changing the way millions of people travel in Europe over the past 3 years. It’s a combination of a tech-startup, an e-commerce-platform and a transportation company, making FlixBus one of Europe’s largest intercity bus networks!
One of the reasons that I’ve put all my trust in FlixBus is because we’ve travelled with them from time to time over the years, and just recently, we used their services while we were in Croatia from Zagreb to Split to Dubrovnik!
It’s definitely an adventure!
Travelling with FlixBus across Germany, Sweden and Denmark, is certainly different from any other bus-coach company that I have either travelled with. And I’ve travelled with a lot LOL!
And was it worth travelling by bus-coach from Germany to Sweden?
The bus-coach was comfortable and had free WiFi which sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. It also had a toilet on board and because there were fewer people, was fairly clean!
The seats were fairly wide and you could recline back quite well. Most importantly, each seat had its’ own individual socket, and you could eat your own snacks and refreshments, and buy tea, coffee and beer (as long as you’re over 16 of course)!
The journey from Berlin to Stockholm was 20 hours.
Having said that, on the way to Sweden was quite awful.
Our FlixBus was a double-decker inter-city bus and was 40 minutes late.
It didn’t start well.
Now I’m used to travelling in a variety of ways, but the calibre of people that I saw left a lot to be desired and I began to get a little anxious that perhaps, I was too posh for this type of travel after all!
I almost regretted booking a ticket, and then I remembered that I also have another one. For Slovenia. Eek!
It wasn’t particularly crowded so we could in fact, take double seats!
I was travelling with The Tall Young Gentleman, and even though he’s a tall mature-looking teenager, I usually like to stay close. Just in case!
And then the middle-aged gentleman in front of me began to have a telephone conference, that absolutely everyone in the top-deck of the bus could hear. He had headphones on and probably couldn’t distinguish it, but we thought it was endearing.
Until it wasn’t!
It continued for quite some time, bearing in mind it was now after midnight…
Then it got all weird ‘cos I woke up with a jolt and saw this very same gentleman put both his feet on the table of my son’s seat. While my son was sleeping!
I politely requested that he remove his smelly feet away from my sprog.
Which he did, and then when he thought I wasn’t looking, put them back on again!
I told the security officer straight away as I cold see this getting ugly quite quickly!
He was eventually carted off by the Swedish authorities at the border!
On the way back to Berlin, the FlixBus journey was rather nice, smooth and very comfortable, but we were quite exhausted by the end of it.
Cost via FlixBus: Berlin – Stockholm – Berlin. Including the ferry cruise crossing Germany – Denmark – Germany – just €49.00 on a one-way single journey!
I don’t know about you. But I find that pretty amazing!
After that, I asked if they would be interested in a working partnership.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but perhaps for a few hours less. It probably would have been more prudent, and far nicer to have gotten off at Copenhagen, and then to continue to Sweden a few days later! However, if you’re young, absolutely go ahead and do it!
IS SWEDEN GOING TO BE CROWDED?
With only 10 million people, it’s the largest country in the Nordic region, but only 932,917 people live in the capital city of Stockholm!
Moreover, with scandinavian prices being so high, you can be sure that it’s bot going to be the first destination that people think of when they travel!
WHAT IS SWEDEN LIKE?
We were only there for three (3) days but Sweden was awesome.
It’s enormously clean, tidy, and orderly, and the people were friendly, relaxed, helpful, and full of smiles.
It’s a fascinating country packed with wonderful countryside, a most beautiful collection of thousands of islands, islets, and rocks that make up the archipelago in the Baltic Sea, a country of music, design, fashion art, and technology, with a rich history comprising of exciting architecture, museums, a medieval background, and is home to ABBA and the Nobel Prize!
It made an enviable impression on me.
I DON’T SPEAK SWEDISH!
No need to worry.
Everybody in each and every scandinavian country, speaks English.
They also speak German, Finnish, Danish, and possibly a million other languages too.
Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with learning a few basic words of Swedish, as a measure of respect!
AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?
Not at all.
Unless you mean romantic huts in the woods with fireplaces, dark nights, jumps in the lakes, and joint morning saunas.
I’m British, I won’t be doing any of that!
You should forget about your budget right now!
Sweden is expensive.
Terribly expensive and sadly, there’s no getting around it!
However, have no fear, there are hostels that cater to the more budget conscious traveller, but I can’t tell you much about them as we weren’t in one of them!
Knowing that Swedish prices would turn my hair grey, I was delighted to be able to work in partnership with the Hobo award-winning design hotel that was just launched in March!
This original art design hotel is a creative outlet for urban farming and innovative tech installation and really is called Hobo!
Hobo is not a hostel, or a home for the homeless, but like the art design hipster-style boutique hotel that I went to in Taiwan, is an artistic hotel aimed at forming a holistic experience for the urban traveller, with a touch of hippy trend!
Hobo, is about a ten (10) minute walk from many historic and tourist attractions. It’s also right next door to TAK – a rooftop bar, and a few minutes from other bars, restaurants, and shops in one direction, and about a seven (7) minute walk to the sea!
Which ever way you go, you’re not far from the delights of a thriving nightlife!
We were in partnership with Visit Stockholm, and a result, they very kindly arranged a complimentary stay.
Thank you so much!
Hobo is set in a building from the 1970’s which has been renovated and made green-efficient. As you enter, a warm welcome smile awaits you, and a floral comfy technologically inspired clean, colourful, artistic space!
It has 201 rooms on seven (7) floors, in four (4) categories, a restaurant, bar, pop-up areas, and a chill-out area that also doubles as the restaurant, on two (2) other floors!
The bedrooms have a sort of minimalist German design, a modern décor, parquet floors, nice comfy beds, wide windows, speakers, technical toys, and a large flat-screen TV!
We were in one of the Hobo Superior Rooms which had a king-size bed (resulting in our son falling out at least once, as he forgot that I was also there with him!), a wide desk and a courtyard view. The room also contains a peg-filled wall, covered by gadgets you can borrow.
Our en-suite bathroom was very clean and had organic bathroom products which I loved, a hairdryer, a huge mirror, and plenty of fluffy towels. The bathroom wall was made of glass which had The Tall Young Gentleman in a panic, as the wall shutters didn’t close properly and we could see each other.
I spent a lot of time facing the window….!
And of course, most importantly, free fast Wi-Fi!
I could have done with a cup of tea, but the room didn’t have a fridge or a kettle!
Hobo also has a very nice breakfast which is not included in the price of the room.
There’s a variety of fresh-home-made organic Nordic food, so you grab yourself a tray, and pick any four (4) of your choice.
The breakfast was great!
There were rye sandwiches with caviar (yummy!), a variety of chia seeds, nuts, coconut milk, yoghurt, fruit, juices, and smoothies. Of course, I couldn’t actually eat most of the items on offer ‘cos of my nut allergy, but the staff were able to make me some nut-free yoghurt! Tea and coffee is complimentary, and you can have as much as you want!
Breakfast is 120 SEK or €12.30.
All this from €140.00 per night in the Hobo superior room, from €132.00 in the Hobo room, and from €115.00 in the Hobo Sleeper Rooms, not including breakfast. For two people, easily €70.00 a pop!
WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?
Sweden is pretty small and the transport possibilities are endless.
My recommendation. Use the water!
Don’t worry about the prices. Enjoy the moment!
I’ve got to go back!
WOULD I COME AGAIN?
Go visit Sweden!
See you next week!
This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit Stockholm, the Hobo Hotel, and FlixBus, absolutely all opinions, and the wonderful time that I had, are my very own!
Thanks so much!
I’ll be there. Will you?
Watch this space!
Please note that The British Berliner is a participant in the Booking.com & World Nomads affiliate programme.
Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks a million!
See you in Berlin.
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Sweden seems like a truly spectacular destination! Thanks for the inspiration, Vic!
Thanks so much Agness! It really is. We had such a lovely time there.
I really hope that we can visit again very soon….! 😀
You really seemed to enjoy Stockholm, that’s great! (Although, if you ask me, I’d say the best thing to do in Stockholm is to take the ferry to Finland, haha! 😀 ) I hope you’ll be visiting the great neighbour of Sweden one day, and please let me know when you do! Stockholm is beautiful, and it’s great fun also in winter. I’ve visited the Christmas markets in Stockholm two years in a row now. The old town is so atmospheric at Christmas time with all the lights and Christmas carols (and glögg, the hot alcoholic Christmas drink, of course).
Thanks very much Saana!
I looooooved Stockholm. It was my first time in Sweden so it really came up trumps. Ha! Ha! I was originally supposed to come to Seden via the sea, and spend a few nights in Finland too. Although I’ve already been to Helsinki! 😀 Here’s the link of my previous visits: here and here! 😉
I hope to visit both Sweden and Finland again, very soon.
I would love to go to Sweden, but it does seem a bit too pricey for us right now, sadly 🙁 Looks like you had a great time though and the bus tickets prices were great, even if you did have to put up with some annoying fellow passengers! Congrats on all your work invites/engagements, sounds like you’re as busy as ever!
Thanks so much Amy!
I totally understand! Hotels are pricey, but the cost of other things are either “London-priced” or absolutely free! And yep! Things are going extremely well. I’ve got a few more things in the pipeline, but I can’t announce them yet!! 😉
It looks like you had a great time! I haven’t been to Sweden, but maybe sometime soon!
Thanks so much Natalie!
I really did! Sweden isn’t the first destination on the list for many people ‘cos of the prices, but when you get there, you suddenly think, why haven’t I gone there sooner?! 😀
Yep..we really liked Stockholm. A return visit would be nice but not in the pipelines. The costs are just too high to justify that. The list is so long that we need to first visits..haha! Glad you enjoyed it. The man on the bus sounds like an asshat and glad he was carted off. The plane prices get out of control sometimes, so it was nice you were able to bus it..headaches and all..it was a good price :-).
Thanks so much KemKem! We really had a great time, but it was just about manageable with cost. Thank goodness for partnerships! 😉
Yeah, that gentleman was a bit of a loser, but it was such a relief when he was carted away as I think he was going all the way to Stockholm too!! However, the FlixBus prices were wow! In fact, I chatted to a few passenengers on the way back and I discovered that it was more expensive to go from Berlin to Copenhagen (about €50.00), and far cheaper to keep on going..! 😉
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