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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scadinavian Road Trip: Day 2

For those of you who are actually counting, this is day 2 of our Scandinavian road trip. Yesterday we landed in Frankfurt, and took a connecting flight to Copenhagen. There we boarded a train which took us to Alvesta, which is in the southern region of Sweden. The flight from Frankfurt to Copenhagen was interesting; I was quite surprised to find a menu on the flight, despite being in economy class. However, much to my disappointment I discovered that I had to actually buy my food on the plane. ‘Welcome to Europe’ was the message they were trying to convey apparently. Entry into the EU is by no means a rosy affair; the first signboard you see when you hit the ground is the way out. After purchasing a rather expensive sandwich though, I had to hold my tongue; it was by far the best turkey sandwich I had ever eaten! Heck if they had this kind of food on our regular carriers back home, I’d stop wasting my money on tiny elephant trinkets for my friends and cash in on the in-flight menu cuisine!

Well, after the train ride, a taxi took us to the city of Ljungby. Never have I come across a town that was so quiet and peaceful. It’s the kind of town where pictures for postcards are taken; you know, the ones with the vegetable carts on the cobbled pavement, and old ladies on bicycles standing next to an old church, smiling into the camera with a blue sky in the background. If you asked a Swede to recommend a town that best represented Sweden as a whole, I doubt Ljungby would be high on the list. At first it seemed so insignificant and dull; we arrived on a Sunday, and the entire town was basically asleep all day. My brother and I stepped out for a brief stroll to see the sights; he got bored within the first 35 seconds. The fact that he has the attention span of an eight year old on a chocolate overdose is a different matter.

But this is the scary thing. I loved it! And I was really surprised that I did; I was under the impression that anyone who liked sleepy town’s like this needed to be either in their late 70’s and senile or middle aged and trying to escape from their wife. Seeing as I am neither, I tried to figure out what exactly I liked about this place.

The first thing that struck me was the obvious; the extraordinarily good looking Swedish girls. Here we are in this small town, and every single girl I’ve seen here has been model material, without exaggeration. And to top it all off, we happened to come during the summer time; no winter clothing now, if you know what I mean. Apparently the curse that has been hovering over my head all my life with regards to women is of the local variety and is confined to the sub-continent.

But after much careful thought, research and staring, I decided that despite the obvious mind-altering properties of the opposite sex here, they were not solely responsible for my strange attraction to this place. That did not stop me from continuing my research though. Yes, I’m quite the diligent little nerd when I’m properly motivated.

Perhaps the countryside then? Sweden must be roughly 50 times the size of Sri Lanka, and yet their population is half that of my tiny little island. The numbers are staggering; how can a country so large be home for so few people? As a result, Sweden is largely uncongested in every respect; the highway, the cities, all hassle free. We went for a long drive today and covered roughly 400kms, yet we never saw any signs of life except at the small townships on the way, and even then it was possible to pass through one without actually seeing a living being. It is a large contrast compared to life back home or in the Indian sub-continent, where a day that didn’t involve jostling and bumping into around a hundred people is considered out of the ordinary. We Asians are used to it, in fact throwing us into a city or town as quiet as Ljungby is the equivalent of sending a prisoner into solitary confinement; we’d probably emerge from it drooling and retarded.

But it wasn’t that either. The wonderful scenery and pleasant pollution free environment were just further plus points. The friendly people perhaps? But even though I was pleasantly surprised at how fluently the average person spoke in English, and their helpful and polite nature, I still didn’t think that was necessarily the reason I felt such an affinity to this place.

Maybe I’m just getting old after all? No, in my opinion it was the sense of peace one felt over here. For the first time in a long time, I found myself actually relaxed. There was no sense of impending doom, no terrorists in the news, no fears that travelling in a bus may end in a loud explosion and body parts everywhere. A man having a long beard and a name that started with ‘Mohammed’ didn’t automatically mean he was going to kill someone. Everything was organised, everything had its place. For example, people were not forced to buy parking tickets; they just felt obligated to do so because that was the law. Speed limits are adhered to with almost religious fervour. All these years I spent living in a world that was falling apart, and all the while the Swedes were going about their own lives unawares, literally ‘whistling while they worked’, quietly feasting on their rich foods, shovelling snow off their cars in winter and brushing dust off their bicycles in summer.

And there is something innately calming in that.

1 comment:

aliciadsouza said...

:) send me some pictures, your holiday sounds beautiful

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