Punkie's Trip to Sweden 2001

I was gone this time for two whole weeks in some of the most gorgeous, beautiful land I have ever laid my sorry little walrus eyes on. You just can never truly understand the wonder and beauty of this mysterious place. My trip started in late July, and I returned in early August. And despite some short layovers, gruelingly long flights, and a bad head cold during half my trip, I had the best time overseas that I could have ever hoped for. And I miss Sweden very badly, so even though this is my third trip, I will be back many, many times.

I have always wondered where those little international figurines prayed. You know the ones, the people with the disembodied heads that seem to be at school crossings and so on. I wonder what kind of god they pray to? Do you think they pray for a neck? A pair of feet or hands? We may never know... but here is their secret temple, right in our own Dulles Airport (hold mouseover for detail).

I took some photos of the Manhattan skyline. But thanks to the smog, and the cheap film I was using, most of these came out pretty dim. Here's the view from across the tarmac from the "Ethiopian Airlines" terminal in Newark, New Jersey. The wet pollution residue dribbling down the center of the window just adds to the beauty which is New Jersey, don't you think? I feel weird now. I didn't know that less than two months, those two huge towers would be gone. One of the planes that hit it left from this very airport.

Here is the smog from the air. The first time I travelled to Sweden, it was winter, and I flew over this at night. The girl next to me said the pilot does this on purpose, so that tourists will go ooh and ahh over America, and hopefully come back and spend their money here. I am not sure if that's correct, but this time, I got some photos. This would be the last time I ever saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center (I flew back from Copenhagen directly to Washington Dulles).

Central Park. You know, this park is pretty big! I knew it wasn't cheap to live near it, but now I understand why real estate is so high there: this chunk of land can never be developed, pushing prices up ever higher! Still, I am glad it's there, because the New Yorkers need some nature to balance the city. While I was flying there, a cayman (tiny alligator) of some kind got loose, and was captured weeks later by a team from Florida. Caused quite a stir, which is hard for New Yorkers. "A f***in' gator in da pawk? Nah, get outta hea! Fogit abbot it!"

This is where I stayed for the first half of my journey: Sven's second stuga (Swedish for cottage). Sven got this prime piece of real estate after a bizarre coincidence of knowing about it, passing by it, and then meeting the guy at work who turned out to be the seller. This guy said, "Oh, no, there is more you can't see from the road!" Sven was hooked. It's on a VERY nice piece of property, and has its own forge (off to the right of the picture, a big blue house).

This part of the house is the main house. It's very nice, with a full kitchen, living room, dining room, full bath with shower, bedroom, and back porch. Electricity and full city water supply the house here. Some stugas have well water, which sometimes isn't so nice.

"Guess which house is the guest house?" asked Sven. I picked the nice looking red one on the left, but apparently, that's a storage area where Sven has a deep freezer and his power equipment. Off to the left is a large woodpile, that Sven said the previous owner also used as an illegal trash heap (he now uses a lot of the wood back there for fuel). The guest stuga is really the beaten-up brown thing on the right. But don't let that fool you!

Here is a picture of the inside. When you open up the beat-up outer door, it reveals a solid inner door. It's kind of built like a fridge, with an outer shell and inner lining. The inside of the cottage was very homey and comfortable. He had the most comfortable mattresses I have ever slept on, and it was really, really tough to wake up in the mornings, they felt so good. I had my own electricity and heating, too. The inside was really solid, too, the kind of solid you can only get from a well-built house. The only disadvantage I can see is that the toilet is in the other house. Luckily, in rural Örnskölsvik, you don't really have to lock your doors at night.

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