By the time we got home, about 12:30 AM today (Monday), we had been up for 24 hours without sleep. Then we slept for about 5 hours and jet lag kicked in, so the next few days will be days of re-adjustment. A big thanks to Corey for picking us up at the airport shortly after midnight, and driving my yellow beetle to do it. It brought a smile to my very tired face when I saw that yellow car pull into the pick up area at the airport terminal.
So here are 10 random thoughts about our trip to Sweden and Finland;
1. Put it on your bucket list if you have not been there. I'd go back!
2. The Finnish and Swedish hotels (and maybe others in Europe) have a system where you have to insert your room key into a slot right inside the door to activate the lights in the room. Then when you leave, you take your card (no need to look around the room for what you did with your card when you arrived) and the lights go out. I like the energy efficiency of the idea.
3. Stopping in mid-afternoon for a coffee/tea/beer break and chatting with friends seems like a very civilized idea.
4. Biking- I loved how bike friendly both countries are. Bikes are commonplace and bikes and cars seem to co-exist just fine.
5. Toilet paper-someone should introduce the Swedes and Finns to Mr. Whipple and his Charmin product-'nuff said.
6. Strollers for babies with platforms on the back, where a big brother or sister (toddler-sized) can stand and ride while Mom or Dad pushes the stroller-very cool idea!
7. Language - while both countries have their own languages, 99% of the people we came in contact with spoke competent English so communication was not a problem, even when we were off the beaten path and away from the tourist areas.
8. I cannot say enough good things about my Keen sandals that I bought for my river trip in Idaho. They were perfect for that purpose, but they were also the shoes that I wore 95% of the time in Sweden and Finland. They were my walking shoes (at times going 10-15 miles a day in them), my dress-up shoes, my workout shoes, they were perfect when it was rainy or hot, I could go with or without socks in them, and I got a very funny tan on the tops of my feet from them. They were the most comfortable pair of shoes I have had in years! I may try to teach in them!
9. I'd like to see these places in the winter. I realize that the darkness can become oppressive especially the farther north one goes, however, the XC skiing sounds incredible.
10. I would highly recommend taking the ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki. The approaches to these cities from the water is nothing short of spectacular.
To wrap up this journal, here are some random photos that I don't believe have been in the blog before, but I could be wrong. If I have duplicate photos, you can be sure that they must be favorites.
Hope all is well.