Sweden: Walked on Water with Storsjöodjuret, the Lake Monster.

It was 30th March, Good Friday. The city of Östersund was celebrating a holiday. All shops and public transportation communication were closed. We had no other option but calling our friend in the city, Mr. C. Martin. Martin is one of our good family friends, an old man, aged 61. We do not disturb him without his own interest in roaming. But today he has somehow seemed energetic. It was Good Friday we do not want him to be alone either. We stepped together out with him in search of the Storsjöodjuret, the Lake Monster.


Me Standing on Storsjön Lake

We were five people. First, we traveled to the Ski Resort snow hill. Had warming hot coffee over the hill. There were snow cannons and ropeway. But due to the holiday, all were closed. We found the Östersund Zoo but closed as well.


Aayushi playing with Lockless Monster at Östersunds kommun.

We traveled back to Storsjön, the fifth largest lake in Sweden. Also, popular for the myth of Storsjöodjuret, the Lockless monster. The lake was frozen solid and it became the Vinter Parken or Winter Park during the winter season. People surrounded by the city gathered in the evening to see the sunset and say hi to the Lockless Monster.

We run on the lake, one corner to the other. Played with ducks. Finally, crossed the lake and met the mythical Storsjöodjuret. Some folks say its real. Some say its just a myth. Some claims they saw Storsjöodjuret. He lives under the deep blue water of Storsjön.



Storsjöodjuret, the Lake Monster, Shekhar Roy, Mr. C. Martin and Me.


Imagine, there perhaps a Lockless monster living under the frozen lake, maybe hibernating. Will wake up in the summer, and swim across the lake, unobserved, keeping a great secret of its existence.


We had evening meditation, by the lake and set goodbye to the Lockless monster.


With love,

Vikram Roy


Sweden: One Day at Åre Ski Resort.

The day three in Sweden, my brother in law took us to the Åre Ski Resort. This is the one of the world’s top Ski Resort. This mountain resort has been selected for the 2019 WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS. Here, every second is getting counted by a Longines’s countdown clock.

The day we woke up 7 am in the morning, had breakfast and took the bus to Östersund Station. Our train was on 9:00 am from the Snowcity to Station Åre, Jämtland County. The distance between Åre and Östersund is 98 km or 61 miles. It was 1 hrs. 30 mins. journey by train.


Standing Outside Station Åre.

During the journey both the side, it was a nice and scenic view, full of icy hills, river, lakes and pine trees. Truly paradise. Though I am not sure of the local folks, how they deal with this place in their daily life. But I saw the small villages and towns side by the railway line, the people out there were looking bright and healthy.

The train reached the station around 10: 25 am. We found the Tourism office and took a local guidebook. Outside the station, our destination is to find out the big cable car which is taking the passengers to the top of the Ski Resort. After getting some help from the local’s we finally found the way to reach the snow covered mountain top.


Inside the cable car to reach Åre Ski Resort

When we reached the top, it was completely frozen, a heavy cold wind and snow storm were heating us. We like the cold but it was reminding me of the ice dragon was breathing on my face and whenever I removed my gloves to take few photos, I was unable to feel my hands. They were burned in the cold and senseless as well.


We stay there on top of the mountain for a little more than one hour and then came down to the city market around 2:30 pm.


We found the people were enjoying the winter sports at the Ski Resort.

We reached back to the Snow City at night 10:20 pm. The day went well.


With love,

Vikram Roy

Sweden: First time -19 °C Experience in Östersund.

If you are living in and around Scandinavia, Russia, Nordic Islands, or Alaska, this may be very common to you. But think about the people living in the tropical or sub-tropical regions where the Summer starts a bit early in March or before March. For me, it was a surprise, I found snow covered the entire Östersund city in the month of April.

It was a special visit to my brother in law living in the city of Östersund for work. I traveled all way down from Bangalore toÖstersund. It was night 4:30 am I had my departure flight in Emirates Airlines. I had a nice vegan breakfast in the morning. I reached Dubai around 7:15 am in local time. Changed my flight to Stockholm. During the lunch, I faced a problem in the Emirates. If you are vegetarian, then, please do not forget to select your food preference during flight booking. In lunch, I got a slice of bread, butter, salad and mango mousse and a 350ml bottle of white wine. Seeing the situation and my conversation with the air hostess, the beautiful white girl sitting next to me became sympathetic and she had offered her part of those items to me. Though I refused to had more but I felt she was kind.  

When I reached Arlanda Airport it was 11:15 am in local time. It was very confusing like the Snakes and Ladders happened between the local times. Indian Standard Time is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Sweden.



My brother in law and me standing on snow.


I had another flight to catch from Arlanda for the final destination to Östersund. Till Arlanda, I found no major climatic difference. There was cold, but outside there was not much snow. At least at Arlanda Airport, it was not visible. When I board on Scandinavian Airlines it was evening 5:55 pm. outside I felt it was getting colder. I reached around 7:00 pm. in Arlanda. My brother in law was waiting for me at the airport.

Here to my utter surprise, I was literally freezing. Everywhere it was covered up with snow. I was shaking in the cold. While I left Bangalore, it was 18 °C at night and here it was just opposite -19 °C. I got into the car quickly to get rescue myself.

How to get a Tavel Visa? Here is my experince after Travelling back from Europe!

Life comes up with many opportunities, I just grabbed mine. I am an ordinary man with some ordinary dreams and very simple lifestyle. I had dreams to see Europe, crossing the boundary of my homeland. I was knowing, it will be costly and the way the world has been changed, a lot of Visa documentation process I have to crack. Before I start my story. I want to tell you, this blog is not about my travel experience. It’s a walk through the process you can go for a leisure trip expending your hard earned money, anywhere around the world. And by yourself, avoiding all highly expensive travel agents and package tours.


Let’s start with how easily you can get your travel Visa done within a week?

I found the easiest way to get a travel Visa through VFS Global. They have many centres in all major Indian cities. Also, you can apply for the Visa directly from online using VFS website: http://www.vfsglobal.com

Once you have filled up your requirements, they will ask you a List of Documents (LOD) to make ready before the appointment in their office. The payment for a Visa varies country to country. Also, you can pay that amount at VFS centre on the same day of your appointment after documents get verified. Once you are done with the documents part, they will ask for your biometrics and photo and they will keep your Passport. You don’t have to go to the embassy for this. Here you will save your time and a lot of money. Expect you will get back your Passport stamped with the Visa of the country/countries you had applied within next 15 days. You can collect the same from VFS Global centre, that you had visited during the appointment or you pay them a nominal amount to get it delivered to your doorstep via courier service. I opt the courier service by paying VFS Centre some $3 only. This charge may vary time to time.

Air Ticket Booking:

This is the trickiest part. You cannot buy any of the Air Tickets to reach or return to your destinations. Sometimes you need additional Transit visas to change your connecting flights. In Europe, I had the plan to go to the Scandinavian territory, Stockholm via Heathrow, London. Here for the transit through the British Airlines, I took an additional Transit Visa to change my connecting flight. Otherwise, British customs do not allow passengers to step into their airports.




Aayushi in London Heathrow Airport 



Always, read the instructions before booking your flights from any website or ask your travel agents regarding Transit Visa. Or else you may lose a lot of money,  rescheduling your travel itinerary.

All the best! Happy Journey.