Having internet access aboard the train today was a new and interesting experience. It took a while to get it working, but once it was up and running it worked reasonably well considering we were probably travelling up to 200 kph at times and through long tunnels. Some day I'll have to find out how they make this system work.
The biggest challenge to getting the connection working was that there were no English instructions. Fortunately, there was another older fellow behind me from California struggling with the connection at the same time as me and a fellow beside me from Denmark knew how to get it going, although his English was limited. We had two separate problems. First it took until we were a ways into Sweden for the connection to get successfully established, but after that we had trouble logging in. The fellow from Denmark had purchased his ticket and it came with an access code on it for logging in. The older fellow behind and his wife were travelling on a Eurail Pass like me, so we didn't have the access code. We both tried every combination of numbers on our Eurail Passes and seat reservations and got no where. At that point I decided to just try the option to buy access time with at credit card, but that went no where because you need to have a SMS capable local cell phone so they can send you the access code. We finally decided to try to get help from one of train attendants. At first she said she didn't know much about the internet connection, but once I explained the problem to her she said all we needed to do was to take our Eurail Passes to the dinning car to get a voucher with an access code. Once we did that we were in business.
Had we asked for help sooner we might have been connected sooner, but I might not have had a chance to get to know the couple behind me. They were on a long vacation as well. They started in Italy and were on their way to Finland to visit some friends. One of their stops was in the Netherlands and it had an interesting story to go with it. The older fellow was a United Nations Weapons Inspector in Baghdad a few years ago and one of the people he met there has since moved to the Netherlands with his family, so they stopped there for a bit.
Once we got the internet connection working I did some typical internet stuff to try it out. I sent a few email, made that earlier posting to my web site, did some internet banking, and read a bit of news. One news articles I thought was interesting was called "Passport requirement won't hurt economy" on the CTV web site in Calgary.
The reason the article is interesting is that here I am travelling in Europe, I just entered my 12th country and in all that time my passport has only really been looked at twice. Once while entering England from Calgary and while entering France from England. Actually those are the only times I saw border guards. In all other cases it wasn't always obvious that I crossed a border. So, to see the border crossing between Canada and the US gong the other way, getting more secure, is interesting. I don't think the problem the US is trying to solve can be done with tighter borders.
Anyway, once I got to Stockholm it was the typical routine, find a hotel and get settled. After that I needed to spend a bit of time planning my next few stops in details and make some bookings. It is peak tourist season now and trains, boats, and some accommodations are filling up fast so the "decide at the last minute" approach I used until now doesn't cut it up here, advanced booking are required.
I headed off to explore Stockholm after taking care of some of the arrangements, the rest will have to wait until the morning.
This is Stockholm's city hall. It was built between 1911 and 1923 using a total of 8 million bricks. This building is used to host the annual Nobel Prize Banquet.
The central train station is to the right of city hall in this photo.
This is one of the entrances to Gamla Stam, home of the Royal Palace and Stockholm's Old Town.
The World Trade Center in Stockholm.
The rest are just interesting photos. I could spend a lot of time here with my digital camera. There is plenty to photograph and it's lots of fun trying to find just the right angle and lighting conditions. Sunset seems to provide some very interesting photo opportunities around here.