Lillehammer was more or less developed around the 1994 Olympics. Its main street was empty at the early hours of the morning but anyway we could not spend too much time because we had such a long way to go so we left around 9:30 am for a 600 km/8 hours ride to Stockholm.
After a quick stop at the border that is represented by a road in the woods where the locals are walking their dogs where we got the shopping taxes refunded we crossed in Sweden where we found the roads being larger and in a way better than the small and narrow Norwegian roads. The road from the border to Karlstadt is more or a less a highway, with parts that are interrupted but even then the lane is very large with shoulder and good pavement. Around Karlstadt we stopped for lunch at a beach place. The sun starved Swedes were swarming to the beach that was on the shore of the sea, or a fjord going to it. Played with pigeons, took some pictures and left for Stockholm. The highway continued and you could drive with over 120 km/h an improvement after the 60km/h we had to drive in Norway. The pattern of the highway was new to me, 2 lanes on one way combined with one lane of the other that changed at every several km. It was actually a 3 lanes highway!!!! The drawback is that at one point it was an accident on the one lane section and police had to detour the traffic on the incoming lanes. But the best thing of the drive, otherwise a boring one through a not so great landscape, was admiring a parade of old cars drove with enjoyment by the Swedes. On the entire drive, hours after hours, you could see 2-3 old cars every 5 minutes. There were hundreds of Buick, Chrysler, Volvo, Opel and Oldsmobiles sometimes painted in pink, red, white or green caring behind them an antique camper. Most of them were convertible drove in a glorious sunny day. Sometimes the drivers, women or men, were dressed in matching dresses and suits including the hair do of the 1950, 60s and 70s. Without that parade the 8, that was actually 10, hour drive would have been boring.
We arrived in Stockholm around 7:30 pm and we started to look for the hotel address and after many investigations we were able to find Alexandra Hotel. A working GPS would have been great….. Unfortunately we found out that the Internet was down at the hotel but the good news was that we could park the car on the street over the weekend. Parking in Stockholm’s secondary areas is about SK15/hour, about $2. Not too bad like all the prices in Sweden that are way lower than in Norway. We took the car and parked close to Gamla Stan, the island that has on it the old town, and we walked and took pictures in the sunset light, watching occasionally glimpses of the small final game in the World Cup between Germany and Uruguay. After we got a pretty good idea of the city layout we were able to have dinner. We were billed SK30 for water, plain tap water with ice and asking about this the Polish waiter told us that nothing is free anymore in Sweden and started to complain about the very low level of life here with working people having to pay for African immigrants that bring their entire families and do not want to work and live on welfare… Food in school is mediocre; medicine is expensive; hospitals are not good, etc. Nobody is happy…..