A Travellerspoint blog


Stockholm - Ghosts In The Rigging

Swedish guards old and new

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On my last night in Landskrona, Per was feeling better. I went over and showed him my pictures from the day and he was busy making more HO scale paper flowers. He seems to be very happy when working on his miniatures, and his hands, although shaky, were functioning fairly well. It was great to see him in good spirits again. When I left I snapped one last picture of him on his balcony, and wondered when or if I will ever see him again. Good friends are hard to find, and are even harder to leave. Goodbye Per! I hope to be back some day soon.

The next morning was my birthday, and I was headed to Stockholm. The train that morning was running late, which worried me because I had to make a connection in Lund for the X2000 "fast train." I saw a guy on the platform listening to his headphones, and started a conversation. He said that his name is Daniel and that he is out of school for the summer. He was on his way to visit his girlfriend that morning. Daniel said that he would like to become an electrician when he is finished with school. His favorite band is Metallica. When I showed him my Ipod, he quickly scanned through it and picked something he liked - the actor Jack Black's band Tenacious D! Here is a picture of Daniel.

I also met Sofie, a student from Landskrona who was on her way to Stockholm on the train after mine. She was going to work there for 4 days, helping to set up and run a seminar that teaches public speaking. Sophie has one more year in school before graduating and going to university. Her English is excellent, and she was very helpful. I told her that she would make an excellent profesional tour guide!

The train was running late - so late in fact that I missed my connection. Sophie calmly read the electronic message boards and kept up with the constantly changing announcements emitting from the loudspeakers. She guided us down to the correct platform in the Lund station, where we boarded the next train to Stockholm, leaving an hour after my original departure. We finally boarded the train to my great relief, but that relief proved to be short lived.

The train pulled out and then the conductor came through to check tickets. I explained to him that the train from Landskrona had been late and I had to take the next X2000 train. I showed him my ticket, and asked him if that would be alright. He looked at the ticket, his eyes widened and he stood up straight. "No! That is not alright!" he proclaimed, quickly removing his glasses. My heart nearly stopped! Did they think that I was a stowaway? Would I be condemned to a life of servitude to pay off my debt to society? I gulped, wondering about the possible quality of food in Swedish train prison.

The conductor explained that the ticket I had was for another company, which ran the exact same train the exact same route on the exact same track! How was I supposed to know? If I wanted to stay on the train, I would have to buy another ticket! I grudgingly handed over my Visa card and paid. The conductor said that I could go to the train office once we got to Stockholm and request a refund for the first ticket. Traveller's rule #1 - always remain flexible. So, new ticket in hand, I settled in to the roomy, comfortable seat. The train was very nice, and even had internet! Absolutely amazing.

I sat working on the blog while watching the beautiful Swedish countryside roll past at 200 kilometers an hour.

The X2000 train is a high speed train that runs on normal tracks. When it comes to a curve the entire train tilts one way or the other to compensate for the lateral G forces. The sensation is strange. You sit, feeling that the train is perfectly level, while the passing scenery outside the windows tilts crazily back and forth like a ride at Disney World! I was OK, but the ride made Sofie a bit queasy, a sensation that many passengers feel. Because of this, each seat is equipped with plastic bags that can be used in case of motion sickness. Urp! Instead of the trip lasting 6 or 8 hours like a regular train, we made it to Stockholm in a little over 4.

Stockholm station was a confusing hive of activity.

Sofie, now feeling better, introduced me to her friends who were picking her up, and then very kindly walked me over to the train company's offices (which I am certain I would never have found by myself) so that I could fill out the necessary paperwork to get my money back for my first, unused ticket. I turned everything in to the train company, along with written explanations and photocopies of all tickets and reciepts, but I'm not holding my breath waiting to hear from them. Anyway, I got to Stockholm safe and sound after a long and harrowing journey, and now breathed that long-delayed sigh of relief. I never would have made it without Sofie guiding the way. Thanks Sofie, and the best of luck!


I checked into my hotel for the first night, The Colonial, which is a mid-range place within walking distance of Gamla Stan, the old town. This was the view from my window. I felt like a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins!

After settling in, I set out walking the city alone. This is a street guitarist I saw. He reminded me of Glen Hansard's character in the terrific film "Once."

A beautiful plaza.

Stockholm is a city laid out on a number of islands, so there is a lot of water everywhere.

The Royal Palace, said to be the largest in the world still in use. It has over 600 rooms!

Entering Gamla Stan, the old town.

All of Stockholm was contained in Gamla Stan at one point. It is a maze of shops and restaurants, with twisting streets and alleyways shooting out in all directions. It was fun just wandering around getting lost, and then unexpectedly emerging out into a light-filled city square.


Some cool signs in Gamla Stan.

This tunnel, about the height of my shoulders, led to yet another alley containing a cool Swedish restaurant.

Another place featured reindeer steak. I hope that Santa, Rudolph and the gang aren't too offended by my posting this....

This is a cool statue looking up at the buildings. Notice the flowers at his feet.

One of the neat things about Gamla Stan is that every once in awhile you look up to see a completely unexpected spire towering over the narrow street you happen to be on.

The next morning I woke up and opened the window, where I was surprised to come face to face with one of the locals....

This morning I was on a mission. My brother-in law Brandon is a huge Greta Garbo fan, and he told me that she is buried in Stockholm. I wanted to find her grave and photograph it for him. So I put on my only black shirt out of respect and set out. The subway is supposed to go all the way down to the cemetery, which is is the southern part of the city. Work was being done on the line, however, and it only went part of the way. I took a city bus from the end station, which let me off near the cemetery. I saw this building along the route. I think it is supposed to be a stadium, but it really looks like a giant golf ball.

Asking around, people were very helpful in pointing out the way to the cemetery, but were very vague as to where Greta Garbo's grave actually was. I was surprised to learn that Skogskyrkogarden cemetery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994 for the "exceptional universal value of a cultural or natural site which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity."

Everyone I asked in the cemetery invariably pointed the direction vaguely and shrugged. Famous for wanting to preserve her privacy, right before her death the former film superstar requested that she be buried in her native Swedish soil.

So many people had the same vague reactions to my questions that something gradually dawned on me. It was as if they were protecting her, one of their own finally come home to rest. They didn't want the grave to become the circus that Jim Morrison's became in Paris, so to find Garbo, you really have to want it and work at it. Finally I met up with Wieslaw, a local, and Ela and Andrei, on holiday from Poland, who were on the same mission. We joined forces and, working together, finally found the spot. The pink marble headstone bore only her signature, in gold. First class, to the very end. May she rest in peace.

I found this statue at the cemetery to be interesting, depicting death and rebirth.

So then is was back on the bus and the subway back into town.

Wandering in and around Kungstragarden, Stockholm's bustling central square. These people look like they are life-sized pieces on a giant Klingon chess board.

Obviously yoga is big in Sweden....

As if I needed another excuse to return to Stockholm next summer!

I saw three guys riding unicycles together through the city streets. One fell, but was well-padded and soon was up and off on his way.

A cool mural near the tourist information office.

Next came the Vasa museum, one of the most incredible places I have ever seen. The Vasa was a galleon built by Sweden and commissioned in 1628 in its ongoing war with Poland. It was a beautifully decorated warship adorned with over 500 brightly painted carvings. It also had a second gun deck. Its towering height, narrow beam, and round ballast stones which shifted while at sea all conspired against it, and it capsized in Stockholm harbor 20 minutes after it was launched.

After sailing approximately one nautical mile, a gust of wind hit the Vasa's sails and water began gushing through its gunports, which were still open after firing a salute to the king. The ship sank like a stone, dunking both the crew and their families, who were invited on board for the Vasa's maiden journey. It lay under water for 333 years until rediscovered by an amateur wreck hunter in 1956. The Vasa was finally returned to the surface in 1961.

The entire ship was dismantled piece by piece and the wood was treated with spray baths of water every 20 minutes for several years and then treated with ethelyene glycol to stabilize the material. The ship was then put back together, like the world's largest jigsaw puzzle. It is 95% original, the best preserved ship of its age anywhere in the world. Walking around the ship I had to keep pinching myself - here I was in the presence of a real galleon, raised from the dead!

The Vasa is huge, at just over 200 feet and weighing 1,200 metric tons.

When the gun ports were opened, opposing ships could see gold painted lion's heads above the cannons. Talk about intimidation!

Decorated external walking galleries on the sides of the ship.

The magnificent stern, as viewed from below. It stands 60 feet high, and looks like an intricately carved piece of furniture.

The 500 symbolic figures decorating the vessel were all brightly painted, as shown on these recreations.

A full model of the Vasa, painted to look like it did on the day of its first (and last) sail.

Gold lion head gun ports on the model. What an awesome sight.

External walking galleries from the stern, above.

This is the stern from above and up close. The museum has benches built into the gallery here so you can just sit for a while, looking and imagining long gone sailors scampering around the decks and rigging, preparing for battle.

This is one of the sails of the Vasa, probably the world's oldest.

Next door at the Nordic Museum is a great statue of Gustav Vasa himself, regarded as the founder of modern Sweden. Long live King Gustov! Now where did that chicken leg get to....

For more information on the warship Vasa, click here.

For more information on Gustav Vasa, click here.

The Nordic Museum was good, with many depictions of Swedish life through the centuries. They also had a terrific dollhouse collection. The ornate and very valuable dollhouses began as custom made curio cabinets for very wealthy families to display, and did not become toys for children until many years later.

I then walked down the street to Skansen, Stockholm's beloved outdoor museum.

I took the inclined railway to the top and strolled around in the warm afternoon sun. Skansen contains actual homes and buildings from around Scandinavia, transported piece by piece and reconstructed on site. It was very special to walk into the actual home of a fisherman from northern Sweden from the early 1800's and see how he lived. Walking around Skansen I realized that we are used to many recreations of things in the U.S. - Williamsburg, etc., but here in Sweden I was seeing the real deal. People really lived in, gave birth in, and died in these actual houses hundreds of years ago. It was hard to get my mind around the concept. Two hundred years from now, how would my house hold up to people walking around it seeing how I lived? Will the cat's litter box and my underwear drawer be on display for all to see?

Here are a couple of buildings in Skansen.

An actual windmill from a farm, which was used to grind grain. The sails were adjustable to adapt to various wind patterns.

This is an actual belfrey from a church that burned down. The belfrey was the only thing remaining from the fire.

Walking through the shady lanes in Skansen, I came upon two girls admiring one of the resident squirrels. They were talking to the squirrel when it suddenly came right up and grabbed one of their lollipops, stealing it right from under their noses! I later took a picture of Matilda, Ellinor, Aekie and Elisabeth, who were together enjoying Skansen on holiday.

Walking home I saw a great accordian player near the Central Train Station.

One of the most difficult things about extended travel is doing laundry. Some places have washing machines, but most don't. And the ones that do have facilities have European machines, with strange knobs and dials all over the place which make you feel more like you are trying to jump start the space shuttle. So tonight it was time to wash out some socks and underwear in the sink. I usually have a hard time getting this wet, dripping mess dry by morning, but the Colonial hotel had an ultra-cool heated towel rack in the bathroom, fashioned with a take-off from the hot water line in the shower. How ingenious! Why don't we have more of these in the states?

My second night in Stockholm I had to move around the block to the Hotel Bema, where I was up until 3am working on pictures and the blog. I also took calls from home, going in and out of the small hotel's locked front doors several times in the middle of the night. Each time I did a bell would ring, and Plamen, the night manager would spring up from resting to see who it was. He was a terrific sport and was extremely nice to the crazy "American writer in room 11!" Here is a picture of Plamen!

The next morning I got up early, checked out, and was able to leave my bags at the hotel for an afternoon departure on the Helsinki ferry. I saved some time by taking a taxi and went down to the Royal Palace, where they keep the Royal Armory, supposed to house one of the best collections of armor in Europe.

The Armory was extremely interesting. The museums over here offer an "autoguide," which is worth every penny. You get headphones and a very small hand held unit. When you point the unit at each exhibit, a dramatic commentary is fed wirelessly into your headphones. For a tech nerd like me, it is a very cool setup, and I haven't seen them in the U.S. anywhere.

Anyway, this is a picture of the shirt Gustav III was wearing at the masked ball at the opera when he was assassinated in March 1792. The assassin dressed identically to the king at the ball in a dark cloak, hat, and mask. He shot the king in the back, and the king died 13 days later of blood poisioning. You can still see the bullet hole in the shirt as well as the remaining dried blood!

Armor by Dr. Seuss!!

Go ahead - make my day....

I thought the ladies might appreciate this amazing royal cloak, just right for those chilly nights around the castle....

For some reason, I don't think this helmet was built for midnight nacho runs down to the 7-11....

As an added bonus, the royal coaches were displayed in the basement. This is an antique coach, but Royal coaches are an "ongoing concern," meaning that preservation efforts continue to this day with the current fleet of royal automobiles.

I then went up into the outer courtyard for the changing of the guard. At exactly 12:15pm, a military band played its way up the street and into the courtyard. Then the festivities began. The soldiers looked like a bunch of wind up toy soldiers marching around in various formations. What a show! It all looked very official until the troops halted. An order was given, and then all the soldiers looked over to their right and shuffled their feet "scooch scooch scooch" until the lines were straight again. This happened several times throughout the ceremony. Order, move, "scooch scooch scooch." Order, move, "scooch scooch scooch." Could this be the latest craze in country line dancing?
I found it very charming that the guards prided themselves on their military precision...
and yet still retained a very human element....
At the end of the changing of the guards, the old forces trotted off, almost hopping, while the new ones hustled in to take their posts!

As I stood on the deck of the Viking Ferry line's Gabriella that afternoon, I thought about Sweden's beautiful people, wonderful traditions, and very real commitment to keeping its history alive and vibrant. I would love to return some day and revisit my dear friends there, both old and new.

With rigging taut and sails raised, I set out with the midnight sun bound for Helsinki.

Posted by sfoshee 15:31 Archived in Sweden Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

How to Become a Professional Viking!

How you too can become a terror of the frozen north and still keep your day job

View Scott's Iceland and Scandinavia 2008 on sfoshee's travel map.

First and foremost my deepest thanks go out to Peter Daams at Travellerspoint.com, who made some trail magic happen for me this morning regarding my site trip photos. Thank you Peter! Trail magic still happens - believe!

On this day I made the resolution to try and talk to people more. I am naturally shy, at least initially, and I am really working to overcome that. As I waited to board the train at the Landskrona station, I got into a conversation with Sarah, a social worker from Malmo who works cases in Landskrona. Although I had really seen very little of it myself, I had heard that there is a bit of a problem with gangs in the area. I asked her about it. She told me that several of the local factories closed in the 1970's and early 80's, and many people moved away. Apartments became very cheap, and when Landskrona became one of the few cities in Sweden to open up to immigrants, many poured in to live. The unemployment problem persisted, however, leading to some dissatisfaction among the youth lasting to this day. Sarah works cases in the area, doing her best to help in a difficult situation. She helped me find my way through the Malmo station, and then disappeared into the crowd.

After the train stopped at Malmo, I had to find the correct regional bus to Hollviken from there on my own. Finding the right bus outside a busy train station is not an easy task to begin with, much less when you are dealing with a foreign language. I kept asking and looking, and finally made it to the shelter across the canal for the 100 bus. Also waiting were Camila and Matilda, who were on their way to attend church camp. They told me about a new youth church in Malmo that they now travelled to on their own from out of town to attend. They were very excited about it. The church was now putting on a short four-day summer camp where there would be climbing, paintball, and all kinds of other youth activities. It was refreshing to see young people actually excited about church, and I wished them well.

I got off the bus at Hollviken, home of the Fonteviken Viking Reserve. Walking the 2 miles from the bus stop a cold rain began with lightning, and I stopped into a gas station to buy a sandwich for lunch. The rain let up a bit (it really is amazing how quickly the weather changes in this part of the world) and I continued on, stopping some time later to look at a strange, twisting, tailing cloud high up under the dark thunderheads. It took me a few seconds for it to register - it was a tornado! I watched it for a few seconds, mesmerized and hardly believing. It was small and thin, staying way above the ground, but a tornado it was. I suddenly thought to lunge for my video camera, but by the time I got it on, the mini twister was gone. Sorry guys - no feature on the Weather Channel this time.

I finally made it on foot to Fontevikens Viking Reserve!

This was a great sign on a maintenance door.

Entering the settlement.

When I walked into the Viking Reserve, I practically had the place to myself for about an hour. I began speaking to one of the Vikings, Per, who very kindly filled me in on the mission of the settlement.

Make no mistake, these houses are no recreations and the Vikings are not actors and are not doing a mere reinactment. The residents actually consider themselves Vikings, and they actually live in the Viking homes in the settlement, following the old traditions and laws even after the reserve is closed to visitors. They even follow Viking religious beliefs, although the settlement is officially Christian due to the proclaimation of King Harold Bluetooth around the year 980. Here is Per demonstrating a Viking wood lathe, which ingeniously uses the springiness of tree branches to power the turning of the wood, which can then be carved into round objects such as chair legs.

Per considers himself a professional Viking fighter, and is the Jarl, who runs the village in the King's absence. He considers himself Viking "100%" and wears his period clothing even when flying through the Atlanta airport on his way to the big Viking show in Waco Texas every year. Per has been doing this for 15 years, and was formerly a chef and cared for the elderly. He is also a diver, and once was called in to do a dive on a Viking ship. It was then that he became involved in the Viking world.

The last weekend of June is Midsummer's Day, a holy day for the Vikings as well as very important time for most of Northern Europe. Huge gatherings take place all over celebrating fertility and the green of nature. At Fonteviken, they are expecting over 700 Vikings to show up for this year's celebration from 22 countries! Some of the celebrations and feasting are held in the Viking Great Hall, shown here.
And what would a Viking Great Hall be without a set of crazy giant antlers!

I asked Per how does one actually become a Viking. He said that the requirements include that you become "100% Viking," pay 150 Swedish Kroners to become a member, and wear your Viking clothing from at least 10am to 4pm every single day, weather at the reserve or not. Because they are "Modern Vikings," some leave the reserve for extended periods of time for things such as work. During that time, however, the clothing must still be worn whether at work, at home, or wherever else you go. Even though he lives at the reserve much of the time, Per still maintains a modern home and returns to it from time to time for various reasons. All Vikings, however, have free access to the homes on the reserve. A telling point is that they have decided to call their settlement a "reservation" instead of a "village." Per compared this distinction to the reservations of Native Americans in the U.S. The Vikings at Fonteviken want their settlement to be one in which people actually live, and not merely a place to put on a show for tourists.

Per was extremely earnest, very intelligent, and I really liked him. When we stood for this picture he put his arm around me and then said in his thick Swedish accent, "You're HUGE! You have blue eyes. You would make a good Viking!!" "Yeah," I laughed, "I can just see it now. A Georgia Viking. 'Skol, yall!'"

Here are some more pictures of the reserve.

These are three rune stones, on which someone "left their mark" for others to see. They can be highly symbolic and often contain important messages.

Here is a Viking house, which is actually occupied. They are held together only with wooden pegs, just like in the old times. That way the homes and other buildings can be taken down completely and transported to a new place for easy reconstruction by hammering the pegs back into place.

The long axe was very effective at cutting off opponents' legs in battle. One good swing could take off 5 or 6 legs at once!

This is Odin, Father of all. He was the most important of the Viking gods. Odin is always portrayed with one eye. He gave away the other to see into the Well of Wisdom to see what happened to his brother, Ve (pronounced "Vey"). What he saw was so horrible that he never spoke of it again. Per said that this is the origin of the Jewish saying "Oy vey!"

Viking helmets did not have horns on them, despite popular belief. Horns would get in the way of swinging weapons in battle.

Here is a Viking woman consulting the gods using stones painted with the runic alphabet.

A house roof, covered with sod.


Here is a tent in the settlement, where some visitors stay when the houses are full.

Here is the interior of one of the houses.


Here is the lookout tower and the view from the top.

Scott and Sven the Viking!

Hans the Viking.


Ironically, right off the coast where the Viking settlement is, and visible from it, it a giant new wind farm out in the ocean. These windmills are everywhere here, and this region of the world generates a huge portion of the world's wind power. I think they are beautiful.

On my way back that evening I stopped in Malmo to eat. I ended up having Thai food in a square in Malmo Sweden in a place called the Moose Head Pub! Internationalism at its best! Some pics from around Malmo.

This is an automatic air machine with settings for bicycles, baby carriages and wheel chairs!

One of the main squares.

A cool fountain in the square.

Two girls from the University in Lund.

A cool griffin.

A statue forever leading a parade through the streets of beautiful Malmo!

Posted by sfoshee 08:06 Archived in Sweden Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Landskrona at last!

Sweden on a small scale

View Scott's Iceland and Scandinavia 2008 on sfoshee's travel map.

I rode the train from Copenhagen on Friday the 13th, a date which will live in infamy. The trains were all screwed up, and a simple direct 45 minute trip turned into a 2 1/2 hour nightmare, with late trains, changed schedules, shuffled platforms, and unannounced train changes. One of the biggest keys to independent travel is always to remain flexible, so I just grinned and did my best. The beautiful farms and giant white power-generating windmills made the view worth the aggravation. I finally got on the right trains due to a fellow traveller named Peter, on his way home to Helsingborg Sweden returning from a business trip in Norway. Peter was a regular on the route and his experience really got us where we needed to go. Everyone at the train station was so used to the trains running on time every day that the system being 15 minutes behind was freaking them out!

Anyway, I made it Landskrona - finally, after 11 years!

I took a taxi to the Hotel Chaplin, which is themed after the legendary silent film star Charlie Chaplin. The Hotel Chaplin is fairly well-appointed and relatively inexpensive for Sweden. I asked the always smiling owner Ina Zachhau why it is named Hotel Chaplin, and she said that she is a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, and that he is very big in Sweden to this day! The hotel building itself was built as a factory and was later turned into a boy's home until the 1970's. The Zachhau family bought it in 1981. When I got to my room I found a giant picture of Charlie Chaplin from one of his movies sitting with a dog and staring right at me from the foot of the bed!

I then walked out to explore the town. Landskrona is a beautiful small Swedish town with very friendly people, and the feel of the place was a great break from the bustle of Copenhagen.

I expected a quiet, sleepy little town, but instead was greeted downtown by hordes of young people all dressed in identical white sailor hats marching around town blowing whistles and shouting through bullhorns! I was completely mystified, wondering if bands of well-dressed militant youth rebels had somehow overthrown the Swedish government during my delayed train ride. I asked and found out that I had arrived on Graduation Day for the equivalent of the local high school, and the tradition was for the graduates to sing on the steps of the town hall and then party through streets the rest of the day making as much noise as possible. Many also were carrying posters their families made for them with various pictures and slogans on them.

I then called up Per, my friend for 11 years who lived here. We have been in touch by telephone and email for all that time chatting about our shared interest in model trains, but had never actually met. Per was a terrific host, showing me his exquisite work on his train layout, diaramas, and on O and HO scale plants and flowers, which he had hand made from paper and had even added veining and weathering. They were amazing - I had never seen anyone hand make them individually like that.
And more amazing is the fact that he has done them while suffering a degenerative muscle disease which causes his hands to shake and gives him severe arthritis.

We then took a walking tour of the town, and I really enjoyed the many beautiful houses, parks and gardens. It made me wonder why we don't have more of these in the U.S. Walking in the mall just does not compare!
This is a schoolyard fence that has a soccer goal built right in - or out...

This is the town's old water tower, now converted to apartments. Apparently the residents have some difficulty fitting regular furniture in with the round walls, and have complained about moisture being a problem - imagine that!

After eating terribly for most of my trip, I was looking forward to a good meal. Per did not disappoint, taking me to Danny's Corner Restaurant, where I had an amazing "plank steak," cooked on a wooden plank, and the best French Onion soup I have ever put in my mouth.

The next day Per wasn't feeling well with his condition, so I set off to explore the city alone. Here is a cool playground swing I have only seen in Europe...

These cute little straberry carts are all over the city, selling fresh locally grown strawberries...

Every self-respecting 16th century Danish astronomer should have his own little neighborhood place...

I stumbled onto the Saturday market in the town square and enjoyed the not-so-warm sun while doing a little shopping.

There are lots of dogs around, as people seem to take them everywhere with them, including on the trains with their leashes. I met this cute pekingese while wandering through a park...

This is a carving of a tennis shoe created from a stump by a local jogging club.

Many Swedes have small "summer houses," second homes where they live during the summer and work in their incredible gardens. They move out of the summer houses around October because the pipes freeze during the winter. Here are two nice ones I found...

Replacing the town's old water tower was this creation, which looks like something off the front of an old E.L.O. album.

This is Landskrona Citadel. While taking this picture a group of baby ducks walked up and started pecking at my shoes! (See the ducks at the bottom right).

There was also a very nice outdoor sculpture garden. Notice the graduation sign placed at the foot of one of the statues.

In the funky Landskrona Museum, they were having an exhibit on hairdressing, of all things.

I can't figure out if this terrifying thing is an old electric hair curling machine or something from the dark bowels of one of the CIA's secret prisons...

I looked up and saw a bowl of hair on the wall. That's right, a bowl of hair, with a small sign in Swedish and a pair of scissors dangling fom a string. I asked a group of older ladies if any of them spoke English, and then asked them what the exhibit could possibly be. They told me the sign said that if you cut a lock of your hair and put it in the bowl, you could make a wish. Brigitte, one of the visiting ladies, then grabbed the scissors and proceeded to take a whack at my head! When I put the lock in the bowl, I made the wish that I had more hair!

Here is the Davy Crockett restaurant. Independent franchises are now available throughout Scandinavia and the greater Baltic region (just kidding).

I then went to the grocery store, something I love to do in foreign countries. It is always fun to find out what they have available there. I saw these really cool see-through chest freezers lining the frozen food aisles.

My shopping cart was a design I have never seen before. It looks like a regular hand-held grocery basket, but has a telescoping handle and wheels so that you can cart your frozen Bagel Bites around like a piece of carry-on luggage.


Before the trip I set up a webcam at home and set up my laptop with one as well. I tried it out for the first time that afternoon, calling home with Per and videoconferencing with my wife Emily, daughter Anna Kate, and our friends the Brickmans - Joey, Amy, Will, Zach, Aaron and Ethan. It was absolutely terrific seeing everyone's faces live, even for a short time, and it raised spirits immensely. I was walking on air as Per and I headed afterwards to a great Greek restaurant on the town square called the Akropolis. We ate outside, and both had Gyros, which were served with everything laid out separately on the plate, with no wrappers. Per had never heard of Gyros with wrappers before. They were very good anyway. By the time we finished a big Saturday night crowd had gathered, talking, listening to loud rock music, and dancing. Who knew that the Akropolis was such a hot night spot! Per and I ended up spending the evening chatting with two guys who were members of two local bands, if you can believe it! Christopher was a drummer in a local covers band and his dream is to move to New York City and become a policeman there. David, with dyed red spiky hair, plays lead guitar in the cover band and in another band that does original metal music. When they found out that I am from Athens, Georgia they went nuts because Athens is the home of R.E.M. and the B-52's. I began to wonder if they thought I was some kind of talent scout or something! "No, I don't know Michael Stipe, but my wife Emily once ran into his grocery cart in Kroger's."

As we sat back and chatted about everything from music to the American elections to conspiracy theories on the moon landing, I took a look around and wondered, where else could two self-professed model train geeks be hanging out on a Saturday night with a bunch of mohawked metal head musicians? As Per and I walked back late that night, the nearly full moon emerged from the clouds and helped light our way down the empty street as the strains of "Sweet Home Alabama" echoed up the alleyway behind us. The music was wildly out of place, yet felt hauntingly familiar to this traveler so far from home.

Posted by sfoshee 14:32 Archived in Sweden Tagged tourist_sites Comments (4)

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