After a month, I’m finally blogging about my Sweden trip!
The Schengen visa application was not as complicated as I thought. Since I was applying for a business visa, I just had to secure the following:
- duly-filled application form
- original passport with 6 months validity and stamped residence visa
- 1x recent photo with white background
- Preliminary flight & hotel booking
- company NOC and trade license
- Invitation letter from our business partner in Sweden
- Travel insurance
Unlike a tourist visa application, I didn’t have to provide any bank statement. I applied thru VFS global and paid AED385 upon submission of my documents. I got my visa after only 3 days. So fast and convenient!
For more info, visit VFS Global’s website.
As soon as I secured my visa, I confirmed all travel bookings and prepared my training materials, itinerary, maps, winter clothes, Swedish currency, etc. I also did a research about local transportation and weather. I really made sure I was all set since it was my first ever trip to Europe. Add that to the fact that I was travelling alone!
Day 1 (10th November 2015)
My company arranged a driver to pick me up from home. I left around 5:30 am and reached Dubai Airport Terminal 2 in less than 20 mins.
My flight from Dubai to Copenhagen (Kastrup Airport) was scheduled to depart at 8:20 in the morning. Travel time via Emirates Airlines was approx. 7 hours.
By the time I finished watching Crazy Beautiful You, the pilot announced that we were about to land. We safely reached Copenhagen at half past noon (their time). Overall, the flight was smooth and comfortable except for some minor turbulence in between.
Since it was my first time in Copenhagen Airport, I just followed the crowd. When I reached passport control, the official asked me whether I was there for leisure or business. I was also asked which city I was going to visit and which company invited me.
After passing thru immigration, I headed to baggage claim and realized I had a big problem…
I CANNOT REMEMBER WHICH ONE WAS MY LUGGAGE!
Sorry naman, medyo makakalimutin lang! hahaha.
In fairness to me, the luggage was not really mine. I just borrowed it from a friend because I needed something which was sturdy and light enough to carry around.
I ended up waiting for the other passengers to first collect theirs until only few luggages were left. Then I checked the leftover bags one by one and crossed my fingers that I’d still find mine.
Luckily, I found it after a few tries.
Whew! Muntik na!
After my baggage mishap, I headed towards the exit and on to Kastrup station’s ticket booth. I would only have to take a 15 mins. train ride from Copenhagen/Kastrup Airport to my hotel in Malmo Sweden.
The train will cross the 16km long Oresund Bridge which serves as a direct link between the two countries Denmark & Sweden.
As per my research, the hotel where I would be staying is located just opposite Hyllie Station (first stop from Kastrup station). Using my debit card, I bought a one-way ticket worth DKK89 (approx. AED48) and waited for my train which will take me to Malmo.
The train I boarded was a bit congested but still comfortable. I was actually looking forward to seeing a nice view of Sweden’s coast while crossing Oresund Bridge but all I saw was an endless track of steel, thus, no pictures.
After approx. 15 minutes, the train approached Hyllie Station and I hopped off as fast as I could.
Just like that, I was already in another country!
It was drizzling when I got out of the station. The wet and cold weather reminded me of my college days in Baguio. Parang deja vu. Suddenly, I was taken back to those petrifying moments when I had to live independently for the first time. It was also bitter-sweet to realize where I was 10 years ago and how far I’ve reached since then (literally & figuratively speaking).
I walked towards the hotel and took more photos along the way. By this time, my feet were already hurting so bad. All I wanted to do was reach my hotel room, take my boots off and finally free my tired and aching feet.
Malmo Arena Hotel, Best Western
I reached the hotel just in time for check-in. I was assigned a standard room on the 13th floor which gave me a pretty good view of the city.
Seeing my hotel room, I realized just how spoilt we are in the UAE. Before this trip, I heard my colleagues complain a lot about European hotels. I thought they were just exaggerating until I saw it myself. Well for one, this room doesn’t even have a wardrobe. Likewise, there were no complimentary toiletries, slipper, coffee pot, not even a bottle of water!
Not being too picky, there were still some good points of course– hot and cold shower, hair dryer, strong wifi connection, clean bathroom, friendly service, decent buffet breakfast, central location, etc.
By 3 pm, I headed down to the nearby mall to grab some food and other supplies. I finished shopping after an hour and was surprised to see that it was already dark outside! hehe.
I spent the rest of the evening Skyping with my husband and watching a few episodes of Suits.
So that summarizes first day in Sweden. Next up: Sweden – Dream Office