Manchester to Stockholm

One of the highlights of my stay in Manchester was the Museum of Transport. We saw retired double-deckers and were allowed to board two. The buses were all parked close together, like dominoes, so you couldn’t see the sides of some of them.

Mark on the upper level of a double-decker

I might have taken this bus to Leigh to buy my copy of Abbey Road

So many double-decker bus models on display, and many were for sale in the gift shop. I had my eye on a boxed large red metal bus for only £20 but it was too heavy to bring back and would have been too large for my small double-decker bus display (that is, it wouldn’t have fit on the same shelf as all my other buses).

The buses in the above display were far too big to be considered toys. They were probably display models or prototypes.

A poster of bus accidents!

I did buy the smallest double-decker the gift shop had for sale (£1.70), plus two small books on the Manchester-area buses of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which were full of colour photos. I also bought a squat mini double-decker at a Manchester souvenir shop:

Mark and I left Manchester for Stockholm via Brussels Airlines, with a transfer in Brussels (makes sense). We got to the airport easy enough by train, since the Manchester Piccadilly train station was only a short walk from our hotel. However the walk to our check-in area at the airport took forever, yet we made it to the flight in plenty of time. When we landed in Brussels before we could go to the gate for our connecting flight we had to pass through passport control. This wouldn’t have been a requirement if the UK was still in the EU, but we arrived at the passport check to find all of the stations unstaffed. We were among the first passengers to get there since Mark and I are fast walkers and we had a connection that was departing soon. Not long afterwards more passengers from our flight arrived. Some of their connections were leaving before ours, and they were certain that they would miss their flights. No one was around and all we could do was pace and worry about getting through. Plenty of staff and security were in the area yet no one was from passport control and nobody could help us. When one officer finally arrived he took a long time to set up, such that a second officer who arrived later was already taking passengers before the first man was ready. We allowed two passengers to go through passport control before us because they were pleading to make their connections (one of those passengers didn’t plead; he just told Mark he was going to jump in front of him), then we drew the line there, otherwise the rest of the passengers would have seen that these two Canadians were a soft touch.

Mark and I were processed together and then had to run to our gate, which gave an estimated walking time of twelve minutes. When we arrived, people were standing around yet boarding had not started. Brussels Airlines flies into Bromma Airport, which is located closer to downtown Stockholm than Arlanda. We wanted to board a tram to take us to the subway yet couldn’t find a kiosk on the platform to top up our transit cards that we had saved from our time there in 2019. We returned to the airport to see if a transit kiosk was located there, yet didn’t see anything. Mark did use a free phone to ask for assistance yet when the wait took so long we decided to return to the platform and board the next tram–without a ticket–and plead our case if the transit inspectors caught us. It was then when we returned to the platform and saw a city-bound tram waiting that we saw a solitary kiosk where we could top up our cards. The crowd of plane passengers had obscured it such that we avoided that area of the platform and missed it the first time. The tram driver waited for us to top up each of our cards, and we were finally on our way to our hostel, Zinkensdamm, where we had stayed in 2019. We did a little bit of grocery shopping then checked in, and had dinner at the same Thai restaurant Thongwiset as we did after we arrived in Stockholm three years ago.

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