Part II of my Scandinavian adventure began on Friday morning when I departed from Hjørring. I checked out of my hotel and walked two blocks to the train station. Inside, there was a 7-Eleven store and this is where I purchased my ticket. I exited the train at the Linholm station, where I planned on catching a taxi to the Aalborg airport. I was approached by a small, white-hair lady who asked if I was going to the airport. When I answered yes, she kindly told me the bus would drop me right at the terminal and cost about a tenth of a taxi. She was also headed there, so we chatted for about fifteen minutes, waiting for the bus. Her name was Beatrice, she told me and she had worked two years in Los Angeles for a Danish opera singer. She was sweet and friendly. We bid each other farewell and went off different terminals.
My flight to Stockholm was uneventful, arriving about three in the afternoon. I like to think of myself as a sophisticated and seasoned traveler, pretty hip to what’s going on around me but even so, I can occasionally make boneheaded mistakes. I deplaned and walked down the concourse and found my hotel which was right there in the airport. I was booked for two nights and the next day, Saturday, was my visit to Bålsta where Mattias Boström lives. My concern was how I was going to get back in the hotel, thinking all along I was still in the security zone. I took my concerns to the front desk and she explained that I would be able to check-in twelve hours before departure. When I got back to my room, it hit me that I would have to check-in without bags, the go out through security the next morning with my bags and go back through the security lines. I went back to the front desk with my new concerns. After several minutes the girl at the desk realized my error and kindly told me I was outside security- problem resolved. Nearly as soon as I had deplaned, I had exited the secure area. It was not well defined as it is other places. Oh well, you live and you learn.
I awoke on Saturday and had a leisurely morning. I ate breakfast, showered and then played on the computer. I needed to catch bus 579 from terminal 5. This bus travels between Aranda (the airport) and Bålsta. The entire trip is just under an hour. Mattias told me to take the 1:08 bus and when I arrived, he was there awaiting. He had invited his friend and fellow Swedish Sherlockian Morgan Malm. He lives in Uppsala and his bus arrive about four minutes prior to mine. The three of us piled into Mattias’ car (not a Volvo) and headed out. We made one little side-stop for a photo-op at Holmes Street. I was pleased to know I am not the only one that does these sorts of things.
Mattias lives on a quiet residential street in Bålsta. We were greeted at the door by his wife and small daughter. We removed our shoes as is the Swedish tradition and ushered in to a house full of books – my kind of place. Right off the bat, Mattias pulled out a large box that was full of duplicates. He told me I could have as many as I needed. I selected maybe a dozen, I had limited means of getting them back with me. It was my first time to meet Morgan, so the next hour was spent chatting over the many filled bookcases and exchanging Sherlockian battle stories with each other. Mattias drifted in and out of our conversations, sharing his time between cooking dinner, tending to fatherly/husbandly duties, and adding his own Sherlockian battle stories.
Mattias’ collection has many, many one of a kind Swedish treasures. Several things I simply drooled over, wishing they had sisters and brother in Texas. Of course there were plenty of things there that I did have copies of at home. Mattias works at a publishing company in Stockholm and Morgan teaches high-school literature. He held edited, proof-read and offered suggestions to Mattiäs’ books From Holmes to Sherlock. He also helped with Mattias’ other literary works. They told me about their upcoming trip to London and Leeds. We talked all things Sherlockian for another two hours when it was time for dinner. If Mattias ever decides to give up being a Sherlockian, he might want to become a chef. Morgan and I were served roast beef, done to perfection, potatoes, and sautéed red bell peppers, carrots, and snow peas. This was accompanied by a delicious Spanish red wine. Homemade apple pie and vanilla sauce finished the meal. All that remained was another ninety minutes of more Sherlockian conversation. One can never get enough of this fine thing. After a long final round of good-byes and photographs, Mattias drove us back to the train station, where once again our buses were four minutes apart.
During the course of the afternoon, I discovered that I was the first member of the BSI to have visited Mattias. He thanked me several times for coming but in reality, it was me that was honored. I am very thankful being a Sherlockian and having the ability to visit great people around the world. The world is such a large place and because of the world’s first consulting detective it makes nearly every place 221b Baker Street.
|Three amigo, Mattias, moi and Morgan|