Mar 27, 2008
Apr 09, 2008
The next day, April 9, all families brought our group to the train station, where we caught the 9:53 am to the Arlanda Airport that serves Stockholm. We were there in 20 minutes -- Sophie, Ilsa and I were almost left on the train, it was so fast -- and we trundled through the airport to begin our long flight home. The first leg would be through Copenhagen, then the 10-hour flight to Seattle.
In Uppsala we were met by a smiling delegation led by Bjorn Japermo, and also by a cold north wind from the Arctic Circle. Our bags were put into a trailer and we were escorted through this beautiful, historic city to a formerly Catholic, and now Lutheran cathedral that is 800 years old, and that holds many of the kings and queens of Sweden. Uppsala is the spiritual center of Swedish Lutheranism, the official state religion, and home to the Archbishop. (Only 4 percent of Swedes are regular church attendees). We also toured an ancient university, 500 or 600 years old, that included a lecture hall that reminded every single one of us of Hogwarts School of Magic. Then to games in a fabulous gym, but only partial games to leave room for mixed-team games. Then to the best feast of the trip at a community hall that included pickled herring (only Davis Barrett took part), and speeches and gifts. Then home to great home stays with our peer athletes and very gracious parents and supporters of Uppsala basketball. It was a personal and very gracious final day for our Friendship Tour. These folks turned out in numbers and with very open arms to us. Those hosts were left with a substantial bounty of gifts as we felt so warmly received -- and it was our final stop. Many of the kids spent the night watching a recorded version of the NCAA finals game, and I heard that almost all of our girls slept through the entire thing. We were a tired, if satisfied, bunch.