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Travel blog I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I'm intercontinental and I eat French toast (Beastie Boys) | | | Photos available at www.istockphoto.com/georgeclerk

Stockholm by Segway

SWEDEN | Wednesday, 12 September 2007 | Views [4086] | Comments [1]

I arrived in Stockholm on Monday 10th, and after three nights here, I'll be leaving very early tomorrow morning to head for Finland on the ferry.  I've been staying in Fridhemsplan (a few tube stops out), at a massive hostel with several hundred beds.  The kitchen's got thirty fridges, numbered to help you remember where you put the milk!  Like many others in Scandinavia, the hostel is spotlessly clean and efficient too - the byproduct of that seems to be that many people here on conferences or in Stockholm for meetings seem to use the hostel rather than a hotel.

Church Roof Appeal: Urgent help needed

A football legend but he couldn't control his temper on the pitch

Anyway, instead of boring you with details of the art galleries, open air museums and architecture, or any of the things that Stockholm is rightly famous for, here's details of my tour of the city by Segway:

Having never had a shot on one, 250 'Crowns' (about twenty quid) seemed well worth it, so I paid up and we set off with two guides to a city centre underground car park.  There we were told that it is illegal to use Segways anywhere in the Stockholm city centre area, or on any roads, pavements or on bike lanes in the wider city area.  All of which we were going to do.  But if and when stopped by the police we should say nothing and let the guides do the talking and pay the fines.

But before that we needed to get accustomed to using the machines.  For those (like myself before the tour) who don't know about Segways, they're electrically powered, go up to 20kmph, and have no controls as such.  You stand on the self-levelling platform, and whichever way you lean, the Segway moves or turns in that direction.  They're quite nimble and can accelerate and spin around surprisingly quickly. 

Previously I'd thought that it was almost impossible to fall off one, and that George Bush had only famously managed it by forgetting to switch the thing on. But not so.  First up was an American lady who boldly got on hers, and straight away started slowly gliding forwards.  Rather than leaning back to slow down and try coming backwards as the guide was enthusiastically instructing her, she soundlessly gathered forward pace, until eventually she smacked quite hard into the back of a brand new Saab estate, before falling to the tarmac to be followed by her Segway.  The rest of us gulped and tried not to laugh too much.  But to her credit she got up and straight back on.

While avoiding the occasional car going into or out of the car park, we all had a quick introduction to using them - the first 10 seconds are very strange, as you get used to the machine compensating for your movements, and getting on and off is surprisingly hard for the first one or two times - then off we went up the car park ramp, and out onto one of the busiest shopping streets in Stockholm, at lunchtime. 


The bizarre thing was that we, a group of tourists on a guided tour, quickly became objects of tourism ourselves, being videod, photographed and pointed at as we went.


We were made up of four Americans, who tried to befriend or at least wave at every single person we passed, three Italians, who treated the hour and a half tour as a race with no rules (apart from when they were making or receiving calls on their phones) and three Brits who made good solid progress while steadfastly maintaining our positions in the line.  Apart from a couple of spectacular wipe-outs at top speed on gravel (Segways don't seem to cope very well with any skidding or wheelspin), we zipped along, gliding by shopping streets, past marinas, around and through huge parks and past cathedrals, art galleries and Swedish royalty attending an opening of some kind.


Unfortunately there wasn't any time for our tour guides to tell us what anything was, but we were all having too much fun doing slalom at top speed to care!

Despite all that, I still found time to make some coffee:

 This is not a pub

In Sweden there's no escape from this rubbish either

This way for fish

Tags: On the Road




Looks like you're having uber fun. Keep up the good work ;)

  Baggsy Sep 13, 2007 7:10 AM



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