July 11, 2010

Adventures in Sweden: Land of the Midnight Sun

I've just returned from spending 11 days touring the southern parts of Sweden, the Spruce-Moose biome. My Mom bought a Volvo through their Overseas Deliver Program, where they pay your airfare if you pick up the car and ship it yourself. Included in the deal was a free night at the Risson Blu hotel in Göteborg, lunch and a tour of the factory. Whatta bargain!

We left from Monterey on a Monday morning, our first plane delayed by fog. We got to hang out at the SAS lounge in San Francisco, where we met Merv and Jan, also new Volvo owners on their way to pick up their new car. Merv, recently retired, had been a pharmacist for 50 years. When I told him I was a Certified Hypnotherapist and working on my PhD in Holistic Healing, he said, "Oh, that's good, because you know, medications are what make people sick!"

We flew in to Chicago, then to Copenhagen, finally ending in Göteborg close to 24 hours later. I was exhausted. As my brother says, flying is like a 24 hour prison sentence. After checking in to our hotel, we went to the train station to exchange money. I was surprised that the Swedes are still using kronor, as I'd assumed they'd switched to Euros. 

The Swedes are very ecological minded, evidenced by needing to insert the hotel key in a slot to turn anything electronic on, ensuring that the lights would be turned out upon exiting. The toilets had a half flush and full flush; and every hotel had instructions on how to reuse your towel in order to save on laundry. There was a disappointing amount of litter in the streets, and not all the towns had public trash cans. we made a point of picking up 7 pieces of trash everyday. Another interesting I thought was that in one market the shopping carts were chained together, and you had to insert 5 kronor to detach one, which was returned once you put the cart back.

We found a random restaurant where I had a ceasar salad, a little overpowered by anchovies, and a nice dry white wine from Italy. We went back to our room prepared to get some rest, but so began my week of not sleeping. It was really hot (apparently the hottest summer in some ten years) and while we'd pulled the curtains, it was so light I kept waking up. Pretty much the sun would set around 11pm and sunrise was at 4:30am, but it didn't really get dark, there was always a greenish cast to the sky. The more North we traveled, the shorter the nights became.

It was an interesting start to our adventures through Sweden...

All photos by Siv; Flag sketch by Kayla: Midnight Sun Image from Google