The first non-english speaking country

Trip Start Jul 14, 2007
Trip End Feb 05, 2008

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Flag of Sweden  ,
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

We made it to Sweden! Thankfully Bradenīs aunt and uncle are here and were able to pick us up from the train station at 2am. They took us to the family house on the lake just outside of Stockholm. The house is 100 years old and does not really have in door pluming, it reminds me of the batch at Taylor`s. It is great none the less. The house is right on a lake with beautiful views. It was so nice to wake up and not be in a hostel, and to see familiar faces. We spent the whole day relaxing by the water and playing card games. I learned a new fun game called skip-bo that will be coming back with me to the states. The house is lived in during the summer by Braden's uncles aunt and uncle. They have a vegetable garden they use to make fresh salads for dinner as well as fresh potatoes. And as if I were not in heaven already, there is a huge black cherry tree that is in full fruit bloom. I think I have eaten my body weight in cherries the last couple of days. Hands down the best cherries ever. So I have been very well fed and rested the last couple of days. We even decided to stay in Stockholm 2 extra days, ditching Visby and Linkoping.

Yesterday we went with the family to the city and they gave us a great little walking tour. We saw the changing of the guards at the royal palace, and then went inside. The palace is strikingly different from the english ones, and allows the visitor much more freedom in their meanderings. There was a whole display about the crown princess who just turned 30 and, by a new law, is next in line for the thrown. The King and Queen have three children that are only a few years older than me...kinda cool. But every one here is super proud of their king and country. Every shop has the blue and yellow Swedish flag flying as well as all the boats in the harbors. Apparently there are 9 islands that make up Stockholm, so there are boats every where. We even went to a museum that focused on a boat from the 1600īs that they found at the bottom of the harbor 60 years ago. It was almost fully intact so the raised it up, put it back together, and then build a museum around it. It is a really awesome boat that looks very similar to the black pearl from the pirates of the Caribbean movie, only its real. It turns out the reason that it was mostly intact was because of the way it sank. This boat had 64 cannons and guns, the most in any ship at the time, but because there were so many cannons and the fact that is was not properly balanced it sank. When the boat was leaving the harbor all the sailors went to one side of the ship to wave goodbye to their loved ones and because all the weight was on one side of the ship, the ship tipped and water started to poor into the cannon holes on the side of the ship. It then promptly sank. What an embarrassing way to sink the greatest war ship of the time.

We are milling around Stockholm again today, walking through old town and all the little squares, and trying to find a way to Poland for tomorrow. We even managed to be a little american and had great burgers from T.G.I. Friday's located in one of the nice little squares. We were also able to navigate the underground system we would need for tomorrow as well as the bus system. It is definitely difficult trying to decipher things when you have no idea what the language is. Needless to say I was able to pick up a few words of Swedish.
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