Applying for a new Passport
As you know, I will go by bicycle from my hometown Katrineholm in Sweden to COP27 in Egypt this year. I guess I have to start 1st July. My current passport is only valid until 14 July this year and I have to apply for visa almost for Egypt. Though, I thought, I have to apply for a new one three month before my passport will run out. In the middle of March I checked how long it will take to get a new one. On the Internetsite for passports and Swedish ID-cards it was stated, it will only take a week. Therefore I closed that page again and was thinking to fullfill my plan.
Only a week later I read in the newspapers, that there are long queues to get an appointment at a police station for applying for a new passport. Though, minutes later, I was on the Internetsite again. This time for booking an appointment. I did get tears in my eyes, when I saw, that the first possible appointment was in September this year, but I also read, that I can apply wherever in Sweden, go there and at that opportunity ask for picking upp my new passport at another place, wherever in Sweden. Therefore I started to look for an earlier appointment. It was not easy, because I had to open the seperate links for the counties and after that the seperate link for the towns listed. I started with the other towns in my county, of course. I continued with the closest counties around and found among others places, where the first possible appointment was in November this year. Finally I found a few earlier appointments to make in Eksjö, in the county of Jönköping. I chose the first one I could get. It was the 7th April at 11:40am.
A couple of days later I booked my train ticket. I first checked, if there is a possibility for a cheap overnight stay like couchsurfing etc. I tried four sites like that. There was no host there or in the surroundings. Therefore I was locking for a hostel. There was one, but they only rent out rooms and have no dorms. Though it was too expensive as well. The only choice, which remained was to take an early train. I booked one, leaving 07:01am, arriving in Eksjö (there were two changes to make and the last part was going by bus) 9:40am, which means I had plenty of time to reach the police station from the bus station in Eksjö by walking. I would even have a lot of time with a delay of a whole hour.
I booked another ticket some days after for visiting my grandson Leon, who celebrated his 9th birthday 1st April. After booking I have got a message, that there are suddenly necessary works at the railway tracks happening on the line until 4th April, with an expected delay of 20 minutes. I felt save, because I anyway took my bike with me and would cycle around 30 km from a railway station.
Before the 7th, I got another message, informing me, that the track works will continue until 14th April as well as there are another place with suddenly necessary track works, which will last for much longer and are on the route, where I will go. I checked out all details and found out, that there will be no trains from Katrineholm the day I have to go to Eksjö för my passport. Though I was chatting with the train company and asking, how I can go to the next city, where I have to change trains. I told the assistent, that I really need to go with that train, because I have a very important appointment at my destination. She answered, that my train will not be affected and go as usual.
I didn’t sleep well that night. Actually I tried to be awake all night for not missing my train. At 2am I was so tired, I anyway had to go to bed, but I was sitting in my bed for not sleeping too deep. At 5am I took a shower, at 6am I left home – walking to the train station. I arrived early, of course, because it usually only takes halv an hour for me to walk there. For safety’s sake I checked the train: IT WAS CANCELLED!
The next train, I found out, was around half an hour later, but it was delayed. It would arrive in time for an one hour later train as I had booked and I would still be in time to my appointment in Eksjö. The reason of the delay of that train was an error of the train set. This train got more and more delayed and at the end it was so late, that it wouldn’t arrive in time for the one hour later train in Norrköping. By the way, this train from Katrineholm was only having two cars, but usually has four. We didn’t think, that all passengers will find space, but luckily, there was, because it was not well-filled, when it arrived.
I read about an app the day before, showing trains and their delays. I installed that app that night and now I could see, that the train I thought I will miss in Norrköping (the one hour later than booked one) also was delayed. Though I did catch that anyway, but unfortunately I missed the 1 hour later as planned bus and this bus route had only one hourly bus.
There was a train as well, but it had nearly the same time frame as the bus. Though it was no option. I tried to call the police station in Eksjö, but that was not possible, because the service number is automaticly served and there was no option to talk with a police officer. I couldn’t call 112 (911 in the USA), of course. I was looking for the police station and it was close enough for walking to it and be back in time for the next bus. Unfortunately the station was closed because too many officers were ill in Covid. The remaining were working in Eksjö. I didn’t see any police car either on my way back to the bus station. The reason for trying to call was, that I would have liked to explain my late arrival and asked them to handle my application anyway.
My hope was now the bus driver. When I finally was going onboard the bus, I asked him, if he could stop close to the polise station. Usually this bus would only stop at the bus station in Eksjö. First he answered no, but after a minute he was coming to me, telling me, that there is a designated bus stop close to the police station and he will stop there for me. I was very grateful. I hoped, that I’ll arrive last minute to my appointment by his help. I could have tried to find a taxi from the bus station, but that would have been a delay as well as quite expensive.
The bus driver was really a kind man and waited for an elderly woman, who nearly missed the bus. Therefore it was 2 minutes late all the way. The weather was bad as well, though he couldn’t drive faster either. At the end I have got my waiting number at the police station two minutes late, but the system had accepted me.
There were two of three booths manned and both – female – officers were occupied with families looking for new passports. Next turn was mine! The officer was very kind and my application done soon. Actually it takes a while, because there is a special machine and with it a photograph (not allowed with a smile) and fingerprints are taken as well as there is a field for the signature. At the end, one can see a picture, how the passport will look like and check the spelling of the name etc.
Afterwards I was walking to the city center. If you never have been in Eksjö before, you really should visit it. I already knew the city from the time we were living in the county of Jönköping. Though I was looking forward to walking the part of it, which is called “trästaden” (the wooden town). Unfortunately it was raining and cold. Anyway, I took some photos:
I had booked the bus back to Nässjö for 3:15pm, arriving in Nässjö 3:40pm. I had a lot of food and liquids with me and was prepared to have my lunch on a bench somewhere outside. By the weather I did enter a café instead and bought a pie and a hot chocolate. I stayed there for around an hour, only leaving for the bus.
My way home was a little more lucky and the change from the bus to the first train smooth. However this train also was a little late, maybe by the weather which made the tracks slippery. I really had to run all I was able to to catch that last train to change to otherwise I would have to wait for a whole hour for the next one. Luckily I made it, but wouldn’t that couple before me haven’t been, the train would have left without me.
On my way home from the train station in Katrineholm I was so tired and it was not only snowing, but also getting slippery, that I felt, I won’t make it to my dance class this evening. Well at home, I sent my dance partner a message, telling him the story and apologize.