University, of course, that along with job applications is the standard answer for anything right now. However, these past few weeks have also offered me something else that I have been missing: both holiday and free time (it is not given a 'holiday' will not include coursework), and some new places.
The week before Easter I packed my red suitcase and headed to Helsinki, again from my favourite airport Bromma near Stockholm city centre. (Which reminds me that I should return to airport reviews - I have material for so many more!) The flight was very early, and having to check in luggage meant leaving just after 5.30. I made my way home, unpacked and repacked the suitcase to catch the overnight flight to Delhi. Flight went ok, I managed to sleep a little between dinner and breakfast. The fingerprint check for the electronic visa is always an exercise, I don't get the machines or they don't get me :D The connection was pretty smooth, and we refuelled with overpriced airport Starbucks, but the breakfast options were quite limited.
Next flight to Bangalore as again quite fine, I think we were delayed, but I read and slept so it went fine. It keeps amazing me that Delhi-Bangalore is 2.5 hrs, just a bit shorter than from Helsinki to London. India is huge. Bangalore traffic is still bad. I didn't check how long it took for us to cover the 40km journey, but probably it was around two hours. I had an accidental nap to compensate for the two short nights which made the drive much nicer. During travels I am a chronic napper though - as soon as we had had lunch, I went to take another nap, and slept for couple more hours.
Bangalore overall was nice, quite relaxed, and a mix of things that were new to me (cake, tea shop, some restaurants), and returning to old favourites (clothing shopping, food at home and out). Even though we did not have too much to do, it was still hard to relax. I realised I am not used to the noise levels, and street sounds are quite high at night too. Additionally, it was very hot during the days (30-35), so air-conditioning and fan were needed. They of course add to the sounds as well, so there is background noise even when you are sleeping.
The newest aspect of the trip was Delhi where we stopped on our way back for the last day. We went around some sightseeing things, and it was interesting to see a third major Indian city and how different it was again to the others, Bangalore and Mumbai. Flight back felt again forever long, even though it is only around an hour longer than the other way. I watched a movie, which for me is always a nice bonus on long-haul flights. I get to see films that I would like to go and see in theatre but then I just don't get round to it.
We came back on Easter Monday, it was stand arrival due to construction work. I had sandals and it had snowed 15 cm... I managed to stay dry thankfully. The time difference is not much, only 2.5 hours, but somehow it was very weird to be back. Both of the experiences, home and India, were real and true, but on that Monday they felt like a world apart. I am so happy I planned to stay home for few days before returning to Stockholm. That enabled some more easy-going days, and an opportunity to take care of the less pleasant side of travelling that involves unpacking and laundry. On top of that, my suitcase was damaged on the way to Delhi from Helsinki, so I had to deal with that as well. It is very unfortunate the suitcase was damaged as it was only three years old, and otherwise would have been good for many more trips. Luckily there was a renovation sale in the luggage shop that I went to, and I did not have to spend much money on getting a new one. It is still Samsonite, just like my two previous ones, and the same extra light suitcase material as the red one.
My flight back to Stockholm was during the day, I think by the time I booked it I thought I am done with too early mornings. 6.50 is not an ideal time to take off. Having an ongoing university project meant that I was not done for the travelling when I reached my Stockholm home. It was quite the opposite. I had some 1.5 hrs to unpack, and repack for an overnight trip to Malmö where we had a workshop with a client. I took the train, which took in total little over five hours with the delays. Thankfully the internet was quite good, and I also had time to grab a small meze plate and tea from the station before departure.
Friday was spent in workshop and travelling back to Stockholm, and I got to repeat my post-travel routines by doing laundry on Saturday morning. It has been nice to be back, despite the laundry :)