Well, across the street from it, anyway. I went to the only Laundromat in Stockholm, directly across from the Gustav Vasa church. There, for 200 Kroner (that’s $25, approximately), I did two loads of laundry, including soap and full drying time. Believe it or not, that price is about 1/5th what it would cost to have the hotel wash my clothes. I even washed my shoes, they were so dusty! I didn’t have any other shoes to wear though, so I bought some new canvas shoes while I was out for $50! Ouch, this country is EXPENSIVE. It’s so costly that I ran out of money on day one but would exceed my daily $600 ATM withdrawal limit if I went back for more. I had to call the bank for an exception. And they tell me that Norway costs even more.
While the wash was going, I ate lunch down the street and met a bartender who plays hockey professionally during the winter. He’d been to several places in the US so we talked about home for a while. When the chef arrived for work, we began to talk about what he might fix for lunch. He didn’t speak much English and asked halfheartedly if I spoke French, and since I did, we covered possible lunch options that way. I got a grilled salmon salad with a fish that tasted perfect. No wonder they keep this cook when he’s 45 minutes late. When I found out he was Tunisian, I used the opportunity to press him for travel tips. He was quite happy to advise me – lucky me! The Swedish hockey player was shocked and asked me how it was possible that an American spoke French. I told him there were only three of us, one of whom was my French teacher, and they don’t let us out of the country very often.
I went back to put the stuff into the dryer, and in talking to the very nice man who owned the Laundromat, I found out about a nearby camera shop who could probably help me. This saved me a big cab fare to a more remote part of Stockholm. I walked the three blocks up to the shop and got my sensor cleaned, and, get this, bought some rolls of 120 (medium format) film. Yeah, that’s right: specialty film. Since the Hasselblad is made here, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After I picked up the wash, I went to the cobbler’s via metro. My shoes were ready and looking decent again for a mere 15 dollars. Finally, something I can afford in Sweden. But it was not to last – there was a Swedish hand-goods shop, so I stopped to buy some souvenirs. It’s Midsummer’s Eve tomorrow which means most shops will be closed for about 2.5 days. By the time I got back to my hotel, I was exhausted. I had carried a 25-pound backpack full of camera equipment all over town, plus another 15 pounds or so of laundry, then the shoes and finally the souvenirs. Even using the metro, I know I walked a few miles like that. Time for some supper!
Dinners here are expensive, but they give you a lot of food. I am ordering appetizers and side dishes of vegetables now because it’s the only way to keep the dinner bill under $20, but it’s so much food I don’t feel deprived. There are fruit stands around – I found cherries. The strangest part about being in Sweden is that it doesn’t get dark here until after midnight and only stays dark for about two hours this time of year. That’s kind of making it hard to get to sleep. I brought a sleeping mask so we’ll see if I can manage to stay on target. I’m not so far – it’s 1:20 AM and I am just now thinking I should go to bed because it was dark 45 minutes ago.