Åland Islands – Checked â˜‘

I told my parents that I am on a weekend trip to Ă„land islands (You pronounce it as Oland), my mom replied, Hey didn’t you just go to Netherlands? Sorry it is not Holland, its Ă„land. This island lies exactly in between Sweden and Finland. Mariehamn is the capital of Ă„land. The best part was we did not pay for the tickets. (No no, pls don’t think we just sneaked in 😛 ) Thanks to PressbyrĂ„n who sponsored the trip through Viking Cruises. You don’t have to feel jealous that we got a free ticket. We ended up paying something at the end. Stay tuned to the story 😀 . We planned the trip for two days. As usual, we got a place to stay, again free of cost. Thanks to Couch surfing. Frans Johansson was our host. He writes many articles for the local daily. While we were sitting at his couch and chatting, we saw him in the news channel too as he also reports news. I was looking at the channel, of course with my jaw dropped! But he is such a humble person that he doesnt feel much proud about himself. Until we reached his home, we took some time to go around the city to have a feel of this charming place. We had gone crazy watching this video,

So we folded our sleeves and started to plan for a big photoshoot. We had high expectations of the city after watching this video. As soon as we stepped out of the cruise and into the city, we had that Meh feeling. Nothing in the video was matching what we saw. We explained this to Frans and later he took us out. In fact he planned to take us in his speed boat but unfortunately we did not have enough life jackets. So he drove us to an idyllic place. He says many guys often come there for booze! It also seemed to be a little adventurous. And there we had the best moments of the trip!

My name is Leif and Let me go!!!! It's time to sleep. 😮😮😮 #couchsurfing #cat #instacat

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I was about to jump. But I remembered my mom's words. 😏 a missed chance. #Ă„land #mariehamn #visitĂ„land

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We also learnt from him that he had already been to India and especially Tamilnadu. What surprised me was he had an album of Danush – Kolaveri. He said that the song was so famous that it was played in so many places. Talking about the places that we visited, the first day was spent in the cargo ship – called Pommern. It seemed to be small from the outside but it was really big inside! It is essentially a cargo ship museum that contain many artefacts. Thi cargo ship was owned by Gustaf Erikson and was used to transport grains from Australia and all the way to England. We got to understand how difficult it was in those days for the people who work in those ships. https://instagram.com/p/5Wz8RfGkEH/?taken-by=sandheepkumarvb The next day was spent in maritime museum which displays the maritime history of mariehamn. The town itself grew because of it’s strategic location between Sweden and finland. As it was in between the trade route, the sailors halted here. So the industries related to shipping grew!

Now, coming to that story of how we paid! We are basically two smart people right? So we decided to make the ultimate use of the tickets for two days. On day one and two, we booked two tickets from Stockholm – Mariehamn. We boarded the cruise on day one and spent that night there. On day two noon we arrive at the port, about an hour in advance. We went to the counter to get the boarding passes. There was a beautiful lady smiling at us, as she got the ticket printout from our hands. In a matter of couple of minutes, her beautiful smile turned into an ugly pout. She responded, “Sir, please go to my colleague’s counter”. We immediately turned back and there was this guy who looked like Stone Cold in WWE. He seemed to have some cold looks too. Nevertheless, we went there just before a huge queue started behind us. Now this man gave us much worse pouts than the previous girl. (Just imagine Stone Cold giving that pout. It was exactly the same). I guess at the first place, he did not understand this “Jugaad” and so says, “Sir, you must have checked in today morning at Stockholm. Since you did not check-in, your ticket was cancelled. So you must pay for the ticket now”. A big lesson well learnt! and we said “Ok!” and happily swiped the card with Prasanth and myself exchanging big smiles. So here ends the story of Ă„land and begins the voyage back to Stockholm 🙂

#finnish #flag #viking #cruise

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Stockholm Postmuseum – An Experience!

Only until recent days, an ultimate aim of a museum has been to impart a sense of knowledge and deep understanding into certain subjects and topics of interest. With the rise of technology, museums today are radically transforming the people’s experience and along with the above two, they also impart inspiration. One such example is Postmuseum situated in the old town, Gamlastan.

Post Museum, one of the oldest museums in Stockholm

Post Museum, one of the oldest museums in Stockholm

Postmuseum was established in 1906 in the same building which dates back to 17th century which also used to be the capital’s only post office until 1869. This makes the Post museum to be one of the oldest museums in Stockholm.

Two external factors inspired me to visit this museum. One was the delivery cycle and the other being Riktiga Vykort – an app. The Delivery cycle is a no ordinary cycle. It is so carefully designed that it eliminates the stress on the postman and the compartments in the bicycle are ergonomically arranged. The application is a smart move by the Postal department to boost the use of postal system. Users can use their own pictures in their smartphone and send it as a postcard to the people they wanted. The bottom line here is Innovations! I fell in love with the postal department of Sweden and I understood that they are quite different and dynamic. Myself being an enthusiast of Postal system, (I used to send home a postcard on several occasions including birthdays and whenever I am in a new city, I send home a post card from that place, thereby having a big collection of postcards), I decided to pay a visit to Post Museum to understand further.

Some interesting points to note:

Although the postal activities existed as early as in the beginning of 17th century, the foundations of were laid in 1636. Before the establishment, much of the work was undertaken through farmers. Horse drawn carriages were deployed and because of bad roads, it took a long time for the parcels to reach.
Surprisingly, it was quick in winters because of the frozen lakes and streams and so these horses can be manoeuvred in the shortcut routes. These are clearly demonstrated in the post museum through artefacts.

One motivating factor to establish the postal system was that during the Swedish war, when King Gustav II Adolf was shot dead, it took several weeks for the message to reach stockholm. So a royal charter was passed and the postal system was established.

The replica of the royal charter at the museum

With the improvement of technology and upliftment of society, the postal service was also improved with the usage of all means of transport – be it boats, trains, and now through air to the latest usage of electric vehicles, making the process as environmental friendly as possible. Posten has to its credit that it has the highest number of electrically operated vehicles in the world.

Apart from the main activities, Postal service in Sweden was the first to publish newspaper in the name of “Ordinaries Post Tijdender”.

The post office was built in such a way that it was a place to hangout and chat to exchange news and information. Usually the retired soldiers became post masters and it was their home which was usually a post office. The post master puts up the names of the people who have got a mail in the board outside his home. People used to flock there enthusiastically to share news and catch up with new buddies!

Posten, the then Swedish Postal Network again differentiated itself in 2011. It established the Climate Foundation and the money was used to implement the ideas of the Posten employees. Almost 100 million Swedish Kronas was generated in one such year.

During the times of Industrial era, where there were shortage of men, Sweden was a bit clever in utilising the resources of women, who were mostly free at their homes. They also were happy with less wages.

Likewise, the innovations that happen in Postal department in Sweden are countless. One such big project was called “Letters to myself”.

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In 1994, 20000 people were asked to write letters to themselves and the concept was that they shall get back in 20 years. “As said, they were exactly returned back to them in 2014 which created a lot of buzz”, says Lotte Edsbrandt, one of the directors of the museum as her face gleams with happiness and excitement. She also added that there were lot of emotional moments when some people wrote letters to their spouses and now they have been expired. Some of their letters are displayed in the exhibition and it was fun to read. You must visit it if you find time as these are soon gonna be removed!

Lotte gets excited as she explains me about some interesting cases of the Project,

Lotte gets excited as she explains me about some interesting cases of the Project, “Letters to me”

Another engaging section in the museum is “The Little post Office”, an exclusive section for the kids where they can drive a postal van, learn to sort the cards and deliver them at the right place and make their own post cards.

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If you think its the place only for kids, you might be wrong. There is another interesting section called “Hej”, where there are typewriters placed and you can type a letter and send to your loved ones! I typed a letter to my dad on his birthday and he was happy to read a typewrited one!

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Listen to what Lotte says to me about the Museum,

Special thanks to Lotte for letting us know more about the Museum in detail

Special thanks to Lotte for letting us know more about the Museum in detail

Midsummer – The gala festival of Sweden

You might have not seen a Midsummer celebration happening in Sweden but the chances are that you might have heard about this famous Swedish gala.

If any Swede is asked about the Midsummer celebration, the common answer that one could get is that, “Hmm, Yeah, We celebrate the festival by erecting a maypole, singing and dancing around with wineglasses in hand”. But, getting the facts straight, “Mid”summer gives the meaning. It marks the summer solstice when the people experience the longest day of the year. In fact some people say, the sun never sets. Although assuming the truth was a bit stretched here, for the past few days, we did see that the daylight was available for most of the time. A lot of green will be seen during the celebration because the vegetation shall be seen at their highest. Its also interesting to notice that exactly 6 months down the line, people shall be celebrating X-mas!

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Midsummer Maypole

It certainly is the day for children, as a lot of kiddos shall be seen looking so happy. A number of games are held to engage them. I too did participate in one such game, where I figured out that its a trick, but still children feel happy playing it. Fish a parcel, Nail it fast, Spin the wheel were some games being arranged in Vitabergsparken.

More people spreading the spirit of summer day! #midsummer #visitstockholm #visitsweden #sthlm #stockholm

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The traditional dresses are worth to make a mention. One such person, whom I met was with her daughter. She said me that, the dress what she wears belongs to her grandma’s and the dress what her daughter wore was worn by her when she was young! And she was proud to say that!

Flowers are also an integral part of the celebration. You can see a lot of people wearing flower head garlands. I too managed to borrow it from a benevolent soul! 😛

😎#midsummer #picoftheday #sthlm #visitstockholm #visitsweden

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Another interesting belief is that, as said by one of my friend, young girls keep the flowers beneath the sleeping pillow during the midsummer night and the tradition is that they shall dream about the man of their lives. It would be funny to see if they dream an animal, a cow or something! 😛

You can ask me that being Midsummer, why does it rain! Hell yeah, that bewilders me too! :O Check this video and see what people say to me during this midsummer.

Don’t forget to enjoy this crazy song in the video! It’s damn good.

SmÄ grodorna, smÄ grodorna Àr lustiga att se. (The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.)
SmÄ grodorna, smÄ grodorna Àr lustiga att se.(The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.)
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.(No ears, no ears no tails do they possess.)
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de. (No ears, no ears no tails do they possess.)

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa. (This is super fun!)

A day in Startup Day đŸ’ž

I believe that the ultimate purpose of any conference would be to kindle lots of inspiration and motivation. At the end of the day, meeting passionate people, hearing to those who have accomplished a lot, generates new thoughts and gives a more holistic perspective on what we do. Startup Day 2015, organised by Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship was no way different. But wait there were some unique differences! Continue reading

Best time and best place to roam around in Stockholm

Especially hailing from India, where its colors and light all around, Oh boy! Stockholm was rather gloomy for past 6+ months! Now since the sun has started to remove its shades, it’s time here in Sweden to put on shades!

While this goes on, I get a number opportunities to go around the city in the night especially after I got a cycle.

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The ferry from slussen to DjurgÄrden gives you a breathtaking view of the land and the waters.

Best thing with Stockholm is,

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How Stockholm developed a world class Transportation Network?

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Stockholm Lokaltrafik

A time pass visit to SpÄrvagsmuseet, the Transport Museum of Stockholm, with Vajresh Balaji, has turned out to be a day of Inspiration and big time knowledge about Transport history of Stockholm.

SpÄrvagsmuseet

The entrance to the museum

A few words about the museum,

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Solar Eclipse in Stockholm, the best eclipse I’ve seen so far.

Until today, the best eclipse I have seen were only through the pictures in internet or books. Today, for the first time, I saw the best eclipse of my lifetime. I was worried that, I couldn’t get a solar eclipse safe glass to watch although the weather was not so favourable. Most of the time the weather was cloudy and hence a sharp image of the sun was not able to obtain. Just somewhere before 80% eclipse, I was able to see a nearly crisp image of sun, but just for few minutes.

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How Game Of Thrones exhibition changed my last weekend?

Well, not as squiggly as Joffrey

I had been of a notion that “Game of thrones” was a computer game until my friend corrected me two weeks back when we were about to step into the Exhibition, a few days later! 😛 I had been that bad in TV serials. A person who knew nothing about it, except for the title, now have a big understanding of what the story is about, the characters (most of them). Last weekend was one heck for me. 4 seasons, 40 episodes, almost 40 hours in 3 days! Isn’t it earth-shattering? Yes it was to me as well. Now I can’t wait for the fifth season! Now I understood why people exclamate “Game of thrones”!

The exhibition itself was a thrilling one. Two hours to stand outside in chilling cold in long queues before we step in!

Just before the entrance was the famous Iron throne!

Well, not as squiggly as Joffrey

Well, not as squiggly as Joffrey

Sandheep Kumar, house of Skrapan (well, thats the name of the building I live in 😛 ), first of his name, King of the Andals and the first men, Lord of seven kingdoms and the Protector of the Realm 😀

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Why should you consider coming out of your comfort Zone?

We get to see the best things once we step out of the periphery of the comfort zone

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The best experience stays with you forever – First day of cycling in Stockholm

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When you ask, it shall be given

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