And so ends two weeks in Sweden. Thanks to the Swedes for their hospitality, sane form of socialism, beautiful countryside and water, water everywhere. At the airport, en route to Reykavic and on to Toronto and tomorrow, Halifax, flight predictably delayed and time to bid a ritual farewell to Sweden. Some notable features:
• Kite birds hung on fishing poles that fly around in the wind and perhaps discourage pigeons. (SF School, take note!)
• Money that some stores won’t take, the whole culture going to electronic transactions (credit cards) and something on their phone called Swish. No more paying under the table (or even over the table) and gone the concrete physical object that my granddaughter loves to hoard and count.
• Liquor stores run by the government, with set hours and some sense of lessening the temptation to casually buy whiskey at the corner store (not sold anywhere else).
• Red houses are everywhere and related to an iron pigment from the history of mining easily visible. The yellow houses tend to be upper-class manors flaunting that they could afford more expensive paint.
• Scooters everywhere around Stockholm, an electric kind that I’ve yet to try. Bicycles popular, helmets not. Didn’t see many joggers.
• Driving license is apparently quite a chore to get, having to take classes on basic car maintenance and changing flats and such. Makes sense, but we would never stand for it. Penalty for driving while drunk apparently very, very severe.
• Beds and bathrooms in hotels, the first a trifle too saggy and soft for my taste, the second, the smallest I’ve ever seen. You can shower sitting on the toilet.
• Pickled herring and pink pickled onions two memorable foods, the first of which I would never eat (hate fish) and the second which I liked quite a lot.
• Pizza-Kebab restaurants always advertised those two things together.
• Folk Festival actually means a lot of rock bands with way too much drumming.
• Expensive it all is, but pretty close to San Francisco. And more uniformity between restaurants and hotels.
• Sunrise was at 3:30 am every day, sunset around 10:30. Visiting in December would be a whole different experience.
But happy to have been here Midsummer. Thank you to Sweden! See you again when you invite me for the Nobel Prize in music education. Ha ha!