September 29, 2010

New York, London



I was starting to get used to Heathrow by my fifth visit and found my way to the Heathrow express to Paddington. With a student fare I was in the city within 20 minutes and made my way to the underground. At the Euston square I was confronted with ever more stairs to haul my year stay suitcase up and down. I whipped out my little map and headed to Astor Hall which was just a 15 minute walk away. On the way I passed the main entrance of University College London (UCL) and what seemed like one of the older buildings, a red brick colossus with all sorts of turrets and 4 distinct wings. Immediately I was in awe of this old institution I would soon be involved in. It wasn't long before I was re-directed to my permanent halls being told that the document I had received regarding early check-in at this Astor wasn't happening. It was just around the corner so I was happy to be able to move straight into my permanent residence rather than having to move out of Astor in a couple of days.

September 20, 2010

Stockholm, Sigtuna and Skånes Djurpark




Arrival in the morning was perfect to get the most of my first day in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Walking along Vasagatan, I was taken from the central station to the waterside and the water took me to Kungliga Operan (The Royal Opera) where I planned to meet Lena. I found the stage door and signed in, receiving my security pass as Lena arrived at the door. She took me to her office where I could drop my heavy luggage before we set on about a tour of the opera house. My first opportunity for amazement was when we slipped through a warren of doors, finding myself right in the middle of an orchestral rehearsal for Rigoletto. The music was exciting and very polished, getting ready for the opening night a couple of days later. We moved on towards the back stage area and then to the under-backstage area where we found interesting contraptions like trap door riser platforms, the heavy mechanisms to change the rake steepness of the stage and even the very low pistons to sink the whole stage down for scene changes.

September 14, 2010

Småland




Taking a thereputic train journey with my digital right hand reattached, I arrived in Nässjö and was met by dad's brother, Peter. We drove through the forest lined highways, passing the occasional elk sign. Eventually we came to the vast expanse of water by the name of Vättern, marking our arrival at Jönköping, Peter took me to the waterside of the lake, remarking about my time there as a young child, playing in the sand in the warmer months of the year. This sight was just minutes from the home of Owe and Ann Marie who greeted us at their door. It was a rather strange experience to walk into this place where I saw old photos from over a decade ago where Ann Marie is sitting beside their white upright piano and I am sitting with her, white-haired and small.

September 9, 2010

Gateway to Sweden: Malmo and Copenhagen



With Niklas and Aija in the perfect position, they were the first people I saw as I came out of the Copenhagen Airport arrivals door. We shot off along the coast for some lunch at the Rungsted Havn, a beautiful marina, covered by a board walk of great lunch restaurants servicing the great Danish thirst for good frokost. With a meal complete with chilled Flädersaft (traditional elderflower summer drink), I was happy to eat something after the rushed morning departure and commute from Kingston in London. We moved on to get some ice cream, indulging in the summer atmosphere of the well-lit harbour side.

September 5, 2010

Performing in London and Recording with Rodolfus



A short sleep in was very welcome after the last 3 weeks of comprehensive singing but I had to get onto some more serious matters. With my primary communications hub (the mobile) lost, I had to communicate my situation to the outside world and also arrange recovery or replacement. Making use of the first wireless internet connection on the laptop I had had in 2 weeks, I got in contact with the police and my parents to figure out where to go from here. I still wanted to explore the very minute possibility that I had left the device on the coach at Coventry but being a Sunday, I would have to wait until Tuesday when they reopened the office.