I am back in the city where they sell peas in the candy section. Yes, that was the most striking thing tonight as I strolled through the well-known Coop store. Actually, the thing that was even more noteworthy – almost shocking – was when I rushed outside the terminal (still foolishly thinking I would make it to the 20:12 train when my plane landed 19:55) and was not as usual met by the King and Queen of Sweden. Okay, no, I am not usually personally picked up by the Swedish head of state when I come to Stockholm (but if he wants to consider that, fine by me, it would spare me some pendel-pains), but as every passenger who comes to Stockholm, I passed through the corridor where the King and Queen welcomed you in almost-full size, followed by Astrid Lindgren, Björn Borg and other Swedish celebrities saying, “Welcome to my home town”. Now there is an Ericsson advertisement. I do wonder how that is in line with the overall nation branding strategy.
There are few, possibly no, other places that evoke such conflicting emotions within me as Stockholms with its well-walked ways, familiar sights, predictable routines, an incredible load of distinct, significant memories – the beaten and beloved track, kind of. Now I am snug and warm in the comfort of Marita’s and Fredrik’s home, one of my second homes in Stockholm. I even got a cherry stone pillow belt (I wonder if that is something non-Germans know) from Marita who is a devoted caregiver to the disk defected friend. Tomorrow I’ll hit town (read: slowly walk) to meet near and dear ones!