How Much Did You Pay for College?

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2011

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Martin's Place

Flag of Sweden  , Skåne,
Friday, September 24, 2010

How lucky did we get to walk off the plan in Malmo, Sweden to sunshine and blue skies?  And it felt even brighter with a friendly face there to pick us up at the airport.  We’ve flown into Sweden to spend some time seeing an old friend from college, Martin, who is from Sweden but studied for a few years at Fullerton and lived with Paul for a year of that time.  With a blue skies, speaking English, and a friend to show us around, we were bound to have a good time in Sweden.

And we sure wasted no time.  For our first full day in Sweden, we went all over the place.  We first headed out to Lund University which is where Martin finished up his studies.  It’s also one of the top three universities in Sweden.  We walked into a bunch of department buildings, a few classrooms, and all over campus.  The place was amazing.  It’s incredibly clean and well-kept.  All of the department buildings are modern, well maintained, and technologically up-to-date.  But really, the even more incredible thing is that the education is free.  That’s right, no one has to pay a single penny to get a university education, not even international students.  Well, technically international students will begin paying a nominal fee starting next semester, but it will be pennies compared to the cost of education back home.  Amazing.  We also walked through a church that was on campus, which is interesting since Sweden in general is a very secular country.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the church has been there even longer than the United States has even existed.  I’d say it’s got some seniority to stick around.

After we walked around campus, we strolled through the Lund downtown area.  A third of the population in Lund are university students , so it’s got a great atmosphere when the students are around.  Martin commuted from home, but he was still able to show us the cobble stone square and small eateries that define a college town.  We stopped for a late lunch downtown, but the fun didn’t stop there.  We jumped on the train back to Malmo and spent the rest of the evening exploring that city.  Martin grew up in Malmo and now lives in the downtown area.  And the place is awesome.  It’s super pedestrian-friendly with open walking squares, lots of shopping, and even more food.  Hardly any cement and mostly stone create the streets, sidewalks, and atmosphere.  And when I say that it’s really pedestrian friendly, I mean you can walk ALL over the place.  On our walk, we encountered two parks, the opera house, the town hall building, a few churches, 4 stadiums (the old men’s soccer stadium and the new one, the women’s soccer stadium which technically is the old-old men’s stadium, and the hockey rink.  I think we even passed by and indoor track and field facility).  We stopped in the men’s and women’s stadiums and were able to watch a couple of teams practice which was cool.  We also walked over to the harbor which faces Denmark and is surrounded by a bunch of high-end apartments and office buildings.  It’s home to the “Turning Torso” which is the tallest skyscraper in northern Europe filled with more apartments and office buildings.  It’s named after its appearance because the building literally twists as it rises into the sky. 

And with all the windmills, parks, lakes, and sightseeing we did on our first day, the fun rolled right into the next.  We spent the morning time window shopping and eating downtown before meeting up with Max, a friend of Martin’s, and heading outside of the city to the quarry.  It’s basically a quarry that is now filled in to be a lake and the local people spend hours there in the summer swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the incredible scenery that engulf the quarry—green, luscious trees and long, soft grass.  It’s absolutely beautiful.

We then headed to the third park of our visit.  It’s actually an old airport turned into a park.  Martin and Lindsey went for a run while Max and Paul explored the different paths of the park.  We all met at the top of the hill, which also happens to be the highest point in the city of Malmo.  It’s wasn’t incredibly clear anymore, as the typical Swedish fall haze was starting to set in, but we could see the bridge that spanned across the waters to Denmark as well as the Turning Torso.  It was awesome.

On our way home we saw not one, but two Volvo factories.  Welcome to Sweden.
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