Partly because she's generally a lovely person, and because we got to continue this marathon conversation that has been in progress for over a decade now. I feel surprisingly comfortable gossipping with Bat, I think because she instinctively sees everyone as people. But doseybat is a wonderful guest in more minor ways than that too; she was gratifyingly enthusiastic about every suggestion I made, but also really laid back when plans didn't quite work out. She even likes matzah! And if all that wasn't enough, she insisted on doing all the washing up.
The flight back was amazingly easy, almost relaxing; this is partly because any kind of travelling is immeasurably better with company, but also because SAS is vastly better run than Ryanair. It's definitely worth the (proportionately small) extra cost to fly with a real airline, and I'm thinking it's even worth the hassle of ending up in Heathrow.
Still, even though things went smoothly, we got back fairly late and we were both sleep-deprived, so we didn't get up tremendously early on Friday. My plans to do some lab-work were thwarted by the fact that a colleague who was supposed to prepare some cells for me had forgotten to do so, so instead we went into town. We had planned to do some wandering in Djurgården and possibly visit the open air museum, Skansen, there, but the weather turned weird as we arrived in Stockholm (very cold and with a flurry of hail), so indoors seemed like a better plan.
We therefore headed to Naturhistorisariksmuseet, which means "the national museum of natural history". They have an anniversary exhibition about Linnaeus, which seemed appropriate for a botanical taxonomist and complemented nicely the stuff doseybat had been showing us in her herbarium the previous day! Also explored about half the permanent gallery of Swedish wildlife, which has a lot of taxidermy and some quite well thought out, mostly child-centred info. Like a lot of Swedish museums, the natural history museum has enough info in English to know what you're looking at, but the detailed info is in Swedish only. Which is fair enough, when you think about it. I had not known that Sweden has lynxes (that plural looks wrong!) and wolverines.
Having been away for a week, I really needed to buy some fresh food, so since we were in town anyway and to make grocery shopping slightly less boring, we did this at the ludicrously posh supermarket. This is how we ended up finding all the new and exciting foods, not to mention some less novel but very tasty things like pickled garlic and smelly French cheese.
Saturday we were Organized and did the classic tourist thing of a boat cruise round the nearest part of the Archipelago. It's still early enough in the year that most tourist boats aren't running yet, but Strömmakanalbolaget's weekend brunch cruise was just perfect, a three hour cruise starting at midday. The brunch looked tasty and reasonable value, but I couldn't really deal with a brunch when I was trying to keep passover restrictions, so we just brought a matzah picnic. The tour itself was very well done; the commentary was informative but unobtrusive, and the islands are really very pretty indeed.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon doing the other classic tourist thing of walking round the Old City. It's the kind of place where the street layout can change on you unexpectedly; I had a really hard time finding the spiky dragon which is normally the first thing I stumble on when I enter the island. And I couldn't find the metro station at all, until just when we were ready to leave and it was suddenly exactly round the corner from an intersection we'd crossed several times before. On the other hand, I managed to find the huge science fiction bookshop which everybody raves about and which had previously eluded me. It has a good English selection and had it not been shabbat I would have been extremely tempted to buy a copy of Carcassonne. We also found some of the kinds of lovely hippie shops where I did all my clothes shopping the previous time I tried to reinvent my style. Smelling of incense and selling lots of brightly coloured and eccentric garments from Nepal and such places, and they considerably undermined my resolution to dress more respectably.
Anyway, I am so glad that doseybat made it out here! Her visit was just idyllic, relaxing and enjoyable and cultural and I feel so much better for it.