We woke early and travelled to Manchester airport by train, arriving nice and early for our lunch time KLM Cityhopper flight to Amsterdam. There were no other passengers waiting to check in at the KLM desk so thankfully it only took a few minutes to complete formalities and pass through security in Terminal 3.
Before the flight departed we had ample time to look around the airside shops and settle down with large cappuccinos and a complimentary copy of The Times newspaper. Our Embraer 190 Cityhopper departed on time and the 50 minute flight over to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport sped by as refreshments were served.
The friendly cabin crew handed out small cardboard boxes decorated with Dutch houses containing a ham and pepper sandwich, biscuit and a carton of water. There was even time for alcoholic beverages and coffee to be served, making for a very pleasant short flight.
Touching down in Schiphol we were shuttled to the terminal by awaiting buses. As we were transit passengers, it was not necessary for us to pass through security and we were able to take advantage of the express lane at passport control as we had a short transit. There was then just enough time for a brief wander through the terminal before heading to our gate to board our KLM 737-700 series aircraft to Stockholm. This 90 minute flight was also full and departed on time and as it was such a clear day we had some splendid views looking down over Amsterdam city centre.
On board this flight, a similar snack box was distributed to our earlier flight containing two sandwiches. I accompanied the snack with a glass of lager and a cup of coffee. The service was again very good but I would have preferred fresh milk in my coffee rather than the sachet of milk powder provided. I then glanced at the KLM iFly magazine before having a short rest ahead of landing into Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.
We quickly disembarked from the aircraft but then had to wait what seemed like ages for the baggage carousel to start operating and for our luggage to appear. The baggage hall seemed particularly quiet so I’m not sure why there was such a delay retrieving our bags. Finally reunited with our luggage, our first stop was at the SL Information Centre in the arrivals hall where we purchased 2 SL-Access Travel Cards at SEK 20 (£1.75 each) and loaded them with 7 day travel passes at SEK 325 (£28 each). We actually needed travel cards for 15 days but as these are only available in 24 hour, 3, 7 day or 1 month blocks we decided to buy two 7 day passes each. These can be purchased at the same time with the second one lying dormant on the card until the first one has expired.
Having sorted out our travel cards we obtained a small amount of cash from an ATM just in case somewhere didn’t accept cards and then trundled our luggage outside to bus bay one (on the right as you leave the building) for the 583 bus to Mårsta station. Buses run every 15 minutes with the journey also taking approximately 15 minutes. Passengers need to tap in with their SL-Access cards on boarding the bus. The bus terminates at Mårsta station and from there we caught the 41X commuter train which takes 40 minutes into the the centre of Stockholm. We actually only took the train as far as Solna as this was where our accommodation was located. Getting into the city by our method is by far the cheapest even with a single ticket SEK 44 (£3.80) which is valid for 75 minutes including transfers between bus, train and metro. However, if time is of the essence then you might prefer to take the Arlanda Express direct from the airport to the city centre in only 20 minutes, but this option costs SEK 280 single (£24) and SEK 540 return (£46.60). It’s a good idea to check the website as sometimes discounted offers are available though it’s still very expensive.
After checking the route to our accommodation on our phone it took us about 15 minutes to reach Biz Hotel Apartments where we had booked a medium sized studio for our holiday in Stockholm. Check in was speedy and we were soon taking our luggage up the lift to the top (9th) floor to room 918, our home for the next two weeks. The studio was modern and spacious with typical Nordic furnishings in shades of grey and brown. The studio was equipped with two comfortable arm chairs, a large bed, dining table and lots of useful storage space. The kitchenette had two hobs but no oven, a microwave, and fridge with a cupboard full of pots, pans and utensils. There were two large windows overlooking the front of the building which we opened as wide as we could as it was extremely hot.
A helpful fact sheet in the room indicated that there was a supermarket just across the road so we popped out to stock up on supplies before having a light snack, unpacking and going to bed.
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