Trip Start May 19, 2008
50Trip End Ongoing
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Wednesday was a cheery day, and in the afternoon, I walked around my neighborhood. Houses and buildings are lined up like colored dominos. Sunny windows catch the light for hanging plants and pots on sills. No ally cats, few birds, dogs on leashes, bikes every where-no bike locks needed. Small cars, no SUVs. There is a lot of pedestrian traffic, some streets are reserved only for those on foot or bike. I walked along the main street and noted many unique clothing shops, very trendy. For a city that is so close to the north pole and surrounded by forests of birch...fashion and design is extremely cutting edge. I felt out of place in my lycra yoga pants and tennis shoes (my trek along the bike trail led me to the center square...but I just kept going despite my obviously ill fashion statement.) It does seem expensive here, but part of it is getting used to the change in currency. You really can't by anything for a single digit. For instance two sandwiches, side dishes and drinks cost us 132 Kroner. Apples are 19 K per kg. Divide by 6 and it's roughly the equivalent in dollars. So far, we haven't purchased anything but food.
Sitting on a bench in the city square, I sketched a lone birch tree peppered with buds. I also took these notes:
What is different:
Skinny jeans = worn by everyone, even some guys
Am I the only person wearing sunglasses?
No trouser jeans as recommended by Stacy London
No blue tooths....teeth?
What is the same:
Katie Holmes on the covers of magazines
Later that day Kyle and I went to Willy's, the Grocery store. We walked with some of the other UNL students, it was about 10 minutes away. We bought only what we needed, but had fun browsing all the unfamiliar items. Salami in a squeeze tube, HUGE chunks of cheese, yogurt drinks (called Yogi-I want some), mini pineapples the size of your fist, fancy greens, and rich chocolate bars. Good thing we brought our own bags, you have to pay for paper or plastic here.
The sun doesn't set in Lulea during the spring and summer. Day turns to dusk and dusk returns to day. Without a clock, you wouldn't know to go to bed. As I type, it's 10:15 PM, still light enough to read by the sun. The sky is bright periwinkle blue. Not one cloud. Stars off duty.
I'm sitting with my feet up. We had an adventurous day exploring a nature preserve about an hour from Lulea. Kyle's new "boss" lead us and the group around a beautiful wooded area that cradled winding rapids. We walked alongside and rushing water and peered down at waterfalls from skinny wooden bridges. A delicious picnic was also provided. We grilled salmon, pork chops, chicken, and cheese sandwiches (for me). We were also encouraged to partake in a shot of the local vodka. Yes, disposable shot glasses were provided! We walked along the slick, smooth rocks and felt the spray on our faces. The rapids pooled into a lake where I saw two stunning white swans. They floated almost mechanically over the water. This is not the vodka talking.
We came back to Lulea and walked to the library where we could access the internet for free. We also got library cards so we can access the internet again at the swipe of our card. Kyle also checked out some children's books in French. We also inquired about the possibility of renting a car for the weekend. Many of us are interested in driving to a "nice cabin" in western Sweden located in the mountains...recommended by someone. Should have some nice hiking. Also very close to a Norway boarder city that is apparently a must see. To get there, we will pass the Arctic Circle, which has been marked by the locals with white stones. I've gotta see this.
Oh. Hello 10:51 PM, it must be time for bed. Good night moon...and sun.
***Okay, it's Sunday evening now. Haven't had internet to post. We had a fun weekend in Norway! Will post about it soon.