I’ve been trying to tie my thoughts up about my recent 3-week trip to Sweden. There are things I miss and lots of reasons I’m glad I’m home—sort of the reason for traveling.
In no particular order:
Uniforms: other countries in general do uniforms way better than the U.S. No matter what, Americans in uniforms still look un-uniform. And, often still sloppy. Whereas even the man coming to check the meter in Europe in his bright fluorescent pants looks sharp and clean.
Same for hats. We just look like we’re hiding bad hair.
Maybe all of the above has to do with size. In Sweden there were a few plus-size people, but with all the walking, biking, and healthy food options most people carried very little extra body fat. Face it, thin people will always look good in fluorescent. And hats.
I traveled solo, this trip. And, except for the week I spent with my friend Lotta, I felt like I was seeing and doing cool things, but also at the same time felt lonely. Cool is great, but sharing it is even better.
People have asked what I liked best and really all of it was good, but if I HAD to pick a single experience, I think my bike ride around Gotland Island was fantastic. Yes, there were times when the scenery reminded me of Wisconsin, then, turn a corner and you see these wooden steeple church spires rising up ahead and if the door was unlocked and I went in, I definitely wasn’t in Wisconsin, but a place with history going back over 500 years. The painted walls and wooden painted altar pieces and fancy rosemaling on the pulpits always caused me to sigh—and wish I had someone there with me, sharing the moment.
I also loved stumbling into Fåröpalloza on the island of Fårö. Not only is it a small word with all the bells and whistles and diacritics above the letters, it was magical that evening. I especially loved the concert in the small church aglow with candles.
I’m glad to be home where people speak English—though I sometimes wonder if I’m easily understood. People in Sweden got me. They never blinked twice if I told them I was biking around the island. They just moved their skinny selves over and let me go on by.