A JOURNEY TO SWEDEN
By Stefan Posthuma
So I packed my bag and loaded up the car. Shit, a drive to
Sweden today. According to the maps and stuff, it should take
about 15 hours. Right. 15 hours in my car, with a box full of
CDs to choose from and the promise of a nice stay in Sweden
ahead of me.
I drove off at 8 in the morning, my head fresh and clean, some
Gandalf in the CD player and the weather mellow and dry. One
hour later I pulled into the driveway of my aunt's house
somewhere right in the middle of Holland. My cousin was ready,
his bags fitted nicely in the booth and off we were again, this
time in the direction of the German border. The little bread
rolls he brought tasted nicely, nothing beats a breakfast while
cruising down the motorway, wash it down with some Coke, put my
foot down a bit more, no cops around in this place.
I realized we were on the wrong road not until we nearly got
off it again. Consult the map a bit and another road will take
us to Germany. Getting lost in Holland, this only happens to me,
I can tell you. One hour wasted on this, but I cannot let this
get me down, no way, I am headed for the Viking countries, I am
headed for the Dragons Mountain!
Germany was as exciting as Germany can be. The autobahn long
and straight, the gas open all the way and speed something to
concentrate on. Have some more rolls, down some more Coke and
follow the signs. I never realized the countryside of northern
Germany could be so boring but a nice singalong with Slayer
keeps you busy for sure.
Puttgarden is nothing more than a port for the ferries. Now I
didn't have any German money and the guys in the little booths
don't take plastic so we first exchanged some money. 165 marks
for a two-way ticket to Sweden. Right on, I thought it would be
much more expensive, so I have some more money to spend in
Sweden. Half an hour later I drove up the ramp into the ferry
and another fifteen minutes later we were in the tax-free area
wondering how much a 1 litre bottle of Glenlivet whisky would
cost in Dutch guilders. After we figured this out, 3 danish
croner roughly makes one Dutch guilder, we joined the masses. It
feels good to hold a huge bottle of single malt 12 year old
Glenlivet whisky, the bottle is just so....big. On the upper
deck we had some fun with the Danish words for lifeboat and
stuff like that. It must have looked pretty silly, two guys
reading the word 'lifeboat' aloud and breaking into fits of
laughter afterwards. Well, never mind us, we're tourists.
I felt a bit excited as I drove off the boat, entering the
country of Denmark for the very first time in my life. I didn't
know what to expect of it and one hour later I came to the
conclusion that Denmark looks exactly like Holland, how very
The ferry from Rodby left at 20:30, and I sat there in the
lounge a bit tired, a whole day of driving behind me. But we
still had to cross Sweden so I'd better lighten up a bit. The
tax free shop here was even more crowded, this ferry only took
like twenty minutes. It was like a mob was looting the place.
People entered with grim determination on their faces and came
out clutching bulging bags full of liquor, tobacco and sweeties.
I watched a family share the loot, the father was unpacking the
bags, the two children grabbing the boxes of candy from his
hands, his wife all over the perfumes and stuff. I guess greed
is something most people are infected with.
We got back into the car and the last joyful remark I made
there was that we were the second car to leave the ferry. Wow,
now we could make up for some lost time and get to Stockholm
"Where are you going?", the lady at customs asked me through
the rolled down window, ignoring the passport I was waving in
front of her.
"Stockholm", I replied, still ignorant to the horrors we would
have to go through later.
"Visiting girlfriends?", she asked.
"Naaah, just friends".
"Right. Can you drive into the first garage over there
please?", she asked with a sardonic smile on her face.
A nasty feeling crept up my spine as I turned the wheel and
pulled into a garage. I wasn't too worried though, customs
people seem to be attracted to me, whenever I travel to England
they want to go through my bags and ask stupid questions about
my box of soap.
So we emptied our pockets and unpacked the car. Fine. It wasn't
until we were asked to follow one of the guys that I started to
get a bit worried. I mean they looked in our bags and in my car.
What more, a stripsearch?
"Take off your clothes please", the guy murmured in that
typical Swedish english.
I sighed deeply and stripped off my sweatshirt and T-shirt.
"Pants too please"
Unbuttoned the 501's and handed them to the guy, he actually
turned them inside-out.
So I stood there in my underwear, with this guy wearing army
green in a little room. I felt rather unconfortable, and felt
downright stupid when he asked me to take off the last bit of
clothing too. I never thought anybody could pay so much
attention to a bit of underwear, these guys must get some
special training or something.
"Wait here", he stated and left.
Damn this. I put my clothes back on and sat down on the only
item present in the room, a wooden shelf.
Half an hour later I decided to go and find out what was going
on. I walked down the corridor and was greeted by a rather fat
official with a little greasy beard.
"So what's the deal here? I have been in that room for half an
hour now, what are you guys doing?"
"Please return to your room, you have to wait there", the guy
I glanced over his shoulder into the garage where I put my car
and was kinda surprised to see another car there.
"Shit, what did you do with my car?"
I was past the fat guy and down the corridor, to find another
garage where I saw my car on a bridge with four or five of these
guys poking around the underside.
The fatty caught up with me and urged me to return to my room.
"What are you guys looking for anyways?", I inquired. This
stuff was pissing me off.
"Anything you're not allowed to take into Sweden".
Yeah right. I returned to 'my room'. The little cell was
getting on my nerves already. White tiles, neon light and
Half an hour later I walked out again and fetched my cousin
from his room. No way, this ain't right. No more than a minute
later we were surrounded by uniforms.
"So why can't I wait in this hall?", my cousin inquired.
"Because I say so", one of the more stupid looking guys
"Well, I don't care what you say".
This seemed to trigger something in the guy and he grabbed my
cousin by the sleeve, intending to shove him back into his cell.
Fuck this, I have had it.
"Wait a minute. Who gives you the right to tell me to stay in
that shitty room, isolated, and with no explanation or
The guy looked a bit puzzled and actually thought for a while
to come up with a dazzling answer.
"Because it's the rules."
"Yeah well, I am pissed off with your rules. I have been in
that room for an hour now and I would like to know how much
longer this is going to take and what the hell you are doing to
Two questions at the same time seemed a bit too much for our
dear customs official, he stated I had to get back into the room
and not whine about this.
So I sat down again on the wooden shelf and one hour later I
walked out again and joined my cousin. We discussed the
situation a bit and decided that there was something very
strange going on here. I mean we get shoved into little rooms,
where you can do nothing else but wait and get pissed off about
the situation. People are extremely uncooperative, don't tell
you anything about what is going on or how long it is going to
take. If you wouldn't know any better, we were under arrest or
something. Where do they get the nerve to pull shit like this? I
mean they are giving me one hell of a first impression of
Sweden. Country of the shithead fascist customs bozos. Man, I
was getting severely pissed off there. We had been stuck there
for over two hours now and still didn't know jack shit about
what was going on. Now I understand these people want to look in
my bags. I understand they want to look in my car and I can even
understand that they want to examine my clothes. But why am I
being shoved into a little room by people who are either too
stupid or too rude to tell me anything? What have I done? Two
hours is very long if you are stuck in this shitty room.
Just when we wanted to go out again and do some more
complaining, another guy came in.
"I need your passports so we can finish"
"That's about time!"
Five minutes later we were packing the car again with extremely
angry faces and the urge to shout abuse at some of the people
watching us do it. But we decided not to provoke these dickheads
anymore and just drove off into Helsingborg with screeching
tyres. It was eleven by then, a goddamn three hours this shit
had taken. I pulled into the first gas station to let of some
steam and examined my car a bit. They had taken off the hubcaps,
messed with the battery, the spare and had done God knows what
else. I even noticed that they changed the time on the digital
clock above the rearview mirror. It was exactly two hours later
than it should be. What did they expect? Some kind of advanced
espionage device? Stupid assholes.
I called Niklas in Stockholm and told him we would be late. It
was eleven so we would probably arrive around four in the
morning. If I knew how wrong this was, I would never have
"Stockholm 565" it said on the sign on the road. I sat back
and relaxed. It was dark, some Tori Amos on the stereo. Full
tank of gas, Stockholm here we come.
It started raining a bit and I was a bit puzzled by the lumps
of sand or salt lying on the road at regular intervals. Like a
truck had passed that dropped bits of it. Some bits were quite
large and I made sure not to hit them, it might be some kind of
strange stone or something.
The rain turned into snow and the snow started to get pretty
dense after about two hours. In fact, it was being blown with
such force that it didn't actually hit the windshield. I turned
off my wipers and the glass stayed dry. Very strange indeed. The
snow got denser and denser and it started to become a pretty
weird experience. I had never driven through a snowstorm before
and the little white specks racing towards you like a maniac
starfield tend to make you feel very strange. Then we also
noticed the snow on the trees and houses along the road. It was
then that I realized that the strange lumps were actually lumps
of snow that had fallen off cars.
I stopped for a pee-pause and pulled into a parking lot next to
a closed gas station. I noticed some cars sitting there, and a
glance into one of them revealed two huddled up figures sleeping
in it. These guys must be cold...
My car had some trouble plowing through the about 6 inches of
snow on the parking lot and the road started getting worse. The
snow was frozen at points and it was getting slippery. But I
went on, things were still manageable. It wasn't until we got
onto the motorway at Jönköping when things went wrong. I saw
lots of trucks standing still in the right lane and very few
cars who were also driving slowly. At a certain point things
came to a total standstill, a bloody traffic jam at 2 in the
From that point we moved very, very slowly. Most of the trucks
were standing still, so were most of the cars. The blizzard was
still going, and the road was getting more and more icy. Then we
stopped again and when I wanted to get out to get some fresh air
I noticed the thick layer of ice on the road. It was totally
frozen over, and I discarded the idea of getting out, it was
very slippery and there was an icy wind that made my eyes water.
Great, stuck on a frozen road in the middle of a blizzard. I
put my seat back, got my winter jacket from the bag on the back
seat and used it as a cover. I had to turn off the engine to
save fuel so after about half an hour it started to get pretty
cold. But there was no movement or whatsoever and it seemed to
me that this could take a long time indeed.
So it did.
Three hours later, it was getting light again, I woke from my
half-sleep, a state of frantic, short dreams and strange visions
and saw the cars and trucks around me start their engines and so
did I. I had to unfold myself first though, my legs were cramped
and very cold, and I felt like shit. It had stopped snowing, and
I had to get out of the car to clear my windshield and get some
of the ice off the windows. We slowly started moving again, at a
very slow pace. It was five o'clock and we were about half way.
Great. Just great.
The rest of the journey was pretty intense. The roads were
still partly frozen, and tracks had formed with large barriers
of ice and snow in the middle of them. Every time I hit one of
them, the car would skid and I had to struggle to get it back
under control. Then there were the trucks. Mad people drove
them, some of them in a hurry, driving insanely fast considering
the circumstances. Being overtaken by a truck when there is tons
of snow and ice on the road is quite an experience. Visibility
drops to nil and your car is sprayed with brownish snow. You
just clutch the wheel and hope your car doesn't sway and hits
the truck. Also, sometimes you encounter trucks that drive
slowly so you have to overtake them. Now the roads are narrow,
and there is no way to see past a truck so at a certain point
you just put your foot down and plunge yourself into an
armageddon of spraying snow and ice and just pray that there
isn't another car coming from the other side.
Driving under these conditions is pretty devastating to your
fatigue and around nine I started to doze off behind the wheel.
So I pulled into another gas station and called Niklas again to
tell him we were still alive and on our way. It was another 100
kilometres to Stockholm so we should be there in an hour.
After a small pause to get myself back together again I
continued and 50 minutes later arrived in the area of Stockholm
and promptly encountered another traffic jam. Now I was too
tired to get annoyed by this and another half hour later we got
out the little map Niklas drew me and I was extremely pleased to
be able to pull into the parking lot next to the flat Niklas
lives in some ten minutes later.
I stumbled out of my car and into Nik's place. Warm and dry,
some breakfast and we could finally open the immense bottle of
Glenlivet. After a big shot of this gorgeous stuff and a shower
I crashed on the nearest bed and slept and slept and slept....
When I finally woke up the next day we decided to have a look
around Stockholm. It turned out to be a rather beautiful city,
especially the 'Old Town' is something worth hanging around. It
is a maze of tiny streets and alleys with lots of antique shops
and little cafes and 'thingy' stores. It is indeed old, dating
back to the middle ages and even before those. Look at the map
of Stockholm and the Old Town is a tiny isle right in the
middle. Also, in the Old Town, we got our first price shock. I
got a can of Coke from a coffee-shop kind of thing and paid 15
krones for it, about five guilders....FIVE GUILDERS??? And the
bloody thing wasn't even cooled! A careful inquiry about the
prize of a piece of apple pie gave another shock, 30
krones....10 guilders. Deep sigh, forget about the apple pie.
From the Old Town we went north into the 'new' centre, this is
the usual big city centre, large shopping streets, squares with
enormous buildings, lots of stores. We saw the palace of the
king while the watch was changed. Strangely clad young men
bearing automatic weapons (which had no clips in them)
performing strange drills in front of a few dozen people. Quite
amusing, but quickly boring.
We decided to fill our empty stomachs with a hamburger. Niklas
took us to a place called 'Big Burger'. And big they were, I
haven't seen burgers this big since I was in the USA. They
tasted pretty good too, so the fact that they were rather pricy
didn't matter all that much. After this we walked back to Nik's
house, a very nice walk along the many bridges of Stockholm. We
came into an older part of the city that is built on some hills
and entered this area with streets going over other streets,
sometimes giving great views of the houses and streets
underneath, forming a multi-level maze that brought back
memories of those fascinating H.P. Lovecraft stories. A few
hours later we picked up some pizza (normally priced!) and sat
down watching some of the many videos that Nik has collected
over the years. It became very late that night, the bottles of
Glenlivet and Plantiac suffering some heavy drainage. The next
day after finally waking up around one in the afternoon we set
out to Uppsala to visit the Mega Leif party. After about an hour
driving from Stockholm we got lost in Uppsala and half an hour
later I pulled into the parking lot of the school where the
party was held. So I finally got to meet some of the people I
hadn't seem for some time. The members of DeltaForce including
their 'mascot', the female member who's name has temporarily
escaped the confinements of my brain. A charming girl
nonetheless. Also, I met my good old nutty pals, the
Norwegians!! Lord Hackbear and Karl Anders were there and so
was.....Gard! Gard the Insane Antibeing, Gard the Mutant Mini
Monster, Gard the Tiny One.
Well, maybe not so tiny anymore.
Two years ago we had loads of fun with our friend Gard when we
were in Norway, he was a rather tiny nutty that we would be able
to bash, pack and fold. Now he has changed into a metalhead,
with long hair and a moustache and typical clothes. I had to
admit when I first walked into the room, I did not recognize him
immediately. But he is still as insane as ever and it was good
to see him again. He promptly produced a video camera to shoot
some footage of me walking around the party. I greeted the
people of Elektra and went on a search of all the rooms to find
people I knew. Boy, I have never seen so many unknown faces on
an ST meeting before. Lots of Swedish crews, some with pretty
interesting material. After a few hours we decided to head back
for Stockholm, we had to return the next day (Sunday) anyways to
be in the jury for the competitions. On the way back in the car
my cousin, who doesn't know anything about computers and has
nothing to do with them, remarked that he had never seen such a
strange thing before. He said he felt like he had ended up in
the middle of 'Revenge of the Nerds II'. Well, I don't blame
him, it must be a strange experience if you have no idea what
the computer scene is like.
So we returned the next day, and immediately had to go to this
room to judge the music competitions. I heard many mods, some of
them appalingly bad, some of them quite good. One of them with
some nice heavy guitars in it appealed to me. We selected the
top five, and the winners were to be selected later. Niklas got
quickly bored, computer music isn't something for graphics
people so he left the jury. After the mods we took a break, to
return later for the blipblop musics. We selected the music by
Synergy to be the winner. I later found out that Synergy is a
Dutch group. Way to go!
After another break we contiued with the graphics. After
relocating all the members of the jury including Niklas (I think
the jury consisted of: Tyrem and Duke from the Respectables,
Daryl from TEX, Achim Hierstetter from TOS magazine, some
Elektra members, Tanis from TCB and myself) we had a look at the
pictures that had been submitted for the graphics competition.
Again, good and bad stuff was showed to us and we finally
selected the winning picture to be the one by Agression, an
interlaced piccy of a red dragon. It just looked the best. Then
on to the big one, the demo competition. Now not everybody was
finished, so we decided to wait an hour so give them some more
time. I was a bit annoyed by this since we wanted to go to
Niklas' parents house somewhere in the woods between Stockholm
and Uppsala. Also, it already had taken some three hours and I
was getting a bit worried about my cousin. I mean the poor guy
must have been bored sick.
Anyway, finally, after one and a half hours we got together
again to watch the demos. Some of it was pretty clever stuff,
there were some 3D screens that were particularly impressive.
Large, complex shapes in 1 VBL and stuff like that. Not very
original, but technically impressive nonetheless. So after quite
some deliberation and viewing and re-viewing demos we finally
decided Omega's entry to be the best. They had some very nifty
3D and it was rather impressive. Immediately after the decision
was made, I gathered Niklas and my cousin and we were off for
the woods. Too bad about the ceremony where the prizes would be
handed out, but it had already taken too much time. So we headed
back for Stockholm but at a certain point Nik instructed me to
take and exit and we got on this road that was extremely
straight and extremely long.
We entered forest land, and about 45 minutes later we left this
road and entered an even smaller one that wound itself through
the forest like a snake in a death-struggle. It was getting dark
already and I had to drive carefully, the road was very narrow
and I had to be careful with cars coming from the other
direction. Because of the many hills and sharp turns in the
road, it was hard to see them coming. It was fun driving though,
I had to suppress the urge to put my foot down and test the
abilities of my Alfa to stick to the road. After a while on this
road we got on an even smaller one. It wasn't a road really,
more of a dirt-track full of potholes and puddles. My poor car
was getting some punishment now, but luckily it didn't last long
and we entered a clearing where I brought the car to a
standstill and beheld the 'little house in the woods' as Niklas
used to call it.
A full-blown house made out of wood, with soft light coming
from the draped windows and an inviting porch was there, and as
we entered we were greeted by Niklas' mum and a fireplace with a
nice fire burning. I walked around the place in awe. It had
everything. Kitchen, three bedrooms, large living room with
fireplace, another room with some sofas and a television,
bathroom, the works. This was a dream, a place in the middle of
the woods with everything you need. A place for writers to seek
refuge, for loving couples to get away from prying eyes, for
city dwellers to escape the madness, a place everybody wants and
needs. Niklas' mum went to the kitchen to prepare us some food,
and we went out for a short walk through the forest while it was
still light enough to do so. I felt great walking around this
amazing forest, enormous trees, large boulders overgrown with
moss. Now there was no path or something so we had to scramble
over fallen trees and the rocks, careful not to slip on the wet
ground, covered in melting snow. Before we knew it, it was
totally dark and we had to rely on our sense of direction to get
us back to the house. Now I was sure we were heading directly
towards it, until Niklas spotted a tiny light somewhere in the
distance that turned out to be the house. Good thing he saw it,
we would have been seriously lost otherwise.
When we returned, we warmed ourselves at the fireplace and
found a kitchen table filled with food. Roast lamb with mint
sauce, potatoes and raw salmon filet for us to enjoy. And enjoy
we did, eating the last bit of it all.
After watching 'Edward Scissorhands' we decided to head back
for Stockholm. It was totally and utterly dark now and since I
have a black car, it was actually hard to find it. And when I
found it and wanted to drive off, I got stuck in the soft
ground. It was a good thing Niklas' dad and uncle were there
also, they managed to push me out of my demise and soon after we
were heading down that dirt track again. It was better driving
now, oncoming cars could easily be spotted now because of their
headlights and I got quite enthusiastic and increased speed. Now
I had to keep my eyes on the road very carefully, but I am sure
that Nik and Odin (my cousin) had some tense expressions on
their faces when I zig-zagged through the night. It's great fun
driving like that, but you have to be very careful not to end up
in a ditch next to the road if you know what I mean.
About an hour later we were back in Stockholm and we finished
the bottles of Glenlivet and Plantiac before going to bed. The
next day we didn't do all that much, it was easter Monday,
everything was closed and everybody was home sleeping late and
being lazy. So did we and the day passed without anything
happening really. On Tuesday we went into Stockholm again to do
some shopping. I was delighted to find the new Cure CD and since
I was a tourist actually got it for a reasonable price. We also
went to this park with lots of old Swedish buildings in it, a
kind of outdoors museum. It was also a kind of zoo, with
elephants and monkeys and some seals that looked immensely
stupid by sitting on a rock in the water and clapping their paws
agains they bodies. We spent quite some time in this park, even
if it was totally deserted and they were rebuilding or repairing
half of it.
Since this was our last night, Mrs Malmqvist decided to make us
some Swedish food. Herrings with vodka, potatoes and Knackebrod
followed by lamb with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Very
enjoyable indeed! Wednesday we got up at six and left at six-
thirty. Fourteen hours later I came home and crashed on my bed,
I had to work the next day...
Two days later I was in London, but that is a whole different
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.