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Letters of the Week

Want to see what other Savvy visitors have to say? Read our letters of the week, and be sure to tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you!

January 11, 2002

Exhaustion, Starvation, Frostbite: A Traveler's Trials En Route to Stockholm

Dear Savvy Traveler,
My trip to Stockholm started in California. Despite all of my confirmations and reconfirmations, my kosher meals were nowhere to be found (at least nowhere between Chicago and Stockholm). So, after missing lunch during my Chicago layover, I now missed dinner, and then breakfast. Let's just say that my growling stomach was drowning out the screeching brakes as we landed in Stockholm. To compound my weakened state, in the 40 hours preceding touchdown, I'd managed to sleep about four.

My visions of dozing off during a cozy cab drive to my hotel were soon dashed when I discovered that it was a $75 cab ride. Instead, I opted for the bus/cab combo. What a modern, efficient transportation system these Scandinavians boasted: The bus driver would order my cab, drop me off at a sort of cab stop and -- voila! -- what could go wrong?

As the two people in front of me were whisked away by waiting cabs, the system took on a slightly different pallor. There I was, reeling from exhaustion, hunger pangs jabbing me as if with a machete, precariously balancing all of my luggage while trying desperately not to go slipping to my demise on a bumpy frozen road.

My boots were in the suitcase I was trying to maneuver, while my Keds were on my feet, making the maneuvering next to impossible. Progress was slow, but that didn't bother me, in principle, since my destination was a deserted cab stop with no cabs in sight. The bench at the stop was inaccessible from all the mounded snow which had apparently been shoved off the road to make travel easier. (Glad it was easier somewhere.)

I started wondering how long it takes frostbite to set in. My feet, in nothing but stockings and tennies, were feeling like awfully good candidates. Why did I keep picturing myself spread-eagle and face-down in the snow? This was definitely not positive imagery at its best.

Suddenly, an angel of mercy appeared. (I knew this as soon as I saw his cellphone.) "Where's your cab?" he asked with authority, as if to imply that he could produce one. Before long, he did produce one. Every transportation department should have an Angel of Mercy Division. As I said before, what a country -- modern, efficient ...

Soon the Grand Hotel loomed before me. Before long, my freezing feet were tucked with the rest of me into a delicious down comforter for a long-awaited sleep. I procured food later once I was out of my exhausted stupor. And now I'm happily settled into my elegant room, writing this at 3:44 a.m. Ah, the luxuries of vacation living!

Rosalind Dimenstein


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