tor

S&S World tour

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hmmm.... sweden is starting to sound pretty creepy...

Well on the bright side it is a pile of swedish people all hugging in a pile. They are quite attractive generally speaking :)

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And are not that keen on 10 month winters... :laugh:

Think of all the armour I could make, and take up brewing and cheesemaking and LARPing and... and....

hehehe seriously everyone I meet has like 20 hobbies.

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Yep I have been kind of wondering if there is a strong correlation between my observations and the basic pricing structures. I suspect there is in that basically prices are set at a point where "enough" people can afford the stuff.

Hell in Glasgow you could honestly do a significant amount of your grocery shopping at "PoundLand - Everything costs a pound".

I think that was the cheapest we have seen stuff for. And it was brand name stuff, not bizarre eastern european brands you've never heard of.

From talking to people Norway is more expensive than here (sweden) but the prices sound less than Sydney there as well. Norway of course has had decades of resource cash flooding its shores, Australia has only really had a few years.

Kind of scary.

Sweden has a tax take at around 50% of GDP. Oz is around 33%. Why aren't the populace up in arms?

Although given the amount of dwarves with battle axes perhaps they are.

Is it a socialist paradise?

A 10 month winter is only one additional month for me. :)

475px-Tax-Revenues-As-GDP-Percentage-%2875-05%29.JPG

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Day 15: Games Are Played (F*cking Long Winters)

A quiet ish day planned. Do some work in the morning maybe sit in a park with a beer and watch people wander by in the summer sun.

You would think even Al & I could get that level of planning together.

Al, the American and I rode into the city, parked our bikes and hit up the State Monopoly Bottle Shop for a 6 pack. During this time a passive aggressive Swedish fellow put notes on our bikes advising us we couldn't leave our bikes where we put them. It had handy guides to where we could put our bikes. It was long and had big words but I think that was the gist. We grabbed our bikes and scurried away before someone could wave their finger at us.

The American had previously met some uni students and we met up with them to drink beer and watch people in the park.

This, apparently, is not a good enough celebration of the summer. Summer is so short it must be celebrated with all your energy.

The festivities began. We played Brent Ball (a version of softball), gingerbread man tag (lots of running in circles) and kick the ball (which involves counting in Swedish).

Still the gods of summer were not appeased (I was knackered and covered in dirt head to toe - Acceptable blame can be laid at the choice of shoes).

A round of Angry Swedish Hugging was played. The previous games had very poorly understood rules and largely consisted of "the more you run the happier the gods are, if you fall over the gods giggle", only one of the Swedes knew the rules well enough to keep score, his team won.

Angry Swedish Hugging is such an obscure game that I don't know if I got the name of the game right. The rules, if there actually were any, involved many long words.

The game play as far as I could tell:

  • A group of people lie on the ground and cuddle each other.
  • Another person tries their hardest to pull one of the hugging people out of the pile.
  • Then that person has to help pull another person out of the pile.

Al and I had a six pack between us which was nowhere near enough alcohol for that much hugging.

Hunter S Tor. :thumbsup:

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Well on the bright side it is a pile of swedish people all hugging in a pile. They are quite attractive generally speaking :)

Maybe it is something in the water? Katarina Sandström is one of Sweden's most popular news presenter and she is an adoptee from Ethiopia. Tor, if your hugging game involved her I would be jealous!

http://www.google.co...iw=1059&bih=705

nyheter_sandstrom%255B1%255D.jpg

I am an adoptee as well, but the water didn't work on me sad.gif

PS. When will we have good looking ethnic people being TV presenters in Australia?

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Is it a socialist paradise?

I think it might be :)

During the games we played yesterday Al asked what the score was and no one knew (except the one swedish guy on the other team). I announced it was a Socialist Game and therefore everyone wins.

The Swedes agreed that this was likely the case and that it was therefore a good thing.

Note: Paradise may not be accurate as apparently Handball and Ice Hockey are not Socialist Games where everyone wins. Scores are kept ruthlessly.

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PS. When will we have good looking ethnic people being TV presenters in Australia?

ABC news breakfast has at least one. Mary Kostakidis is another if you count Greek as ethnic.

Something I have wondered about is the ethnic phrase, surely _everyone_ is ethnic?

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ABC news breakfast has at least one. Mary Kostakidis is another if you count Greek as ethnic.

Something I have wondered about is the ethnic phrase, surely _everyone_ is ethnic?

I suppose I was referring to the mainstream commercial TV networks.

Well, 'ethnic' is a convenient word. Non-anglo?

Edit: gotta catch a flight out of Paris now. Back with a trip report later.

Edited by AndersB

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I think it might be :)

During the games we played yesterday Al asked what the score was and no one knew (except the one swedish guy on the other team). I announced it was a Socialist Game and therefore everyone wins.

The Swedes agreed that this was likely the case and that it was therefore a good thing.

Note: Paradise may not be accurate as apparently Handball and Ice Hockey are not Socialist Games where everyone wins. Scores are kept ruthlessly.

I knew it! :) One should always be allowed to enjoy the journey. The antipodean answer to to the hugging game is surely rugby BTW. :P

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I suppose I was referring to the mainstream commercial TV networks.

Well, 'ethnic' is a convenient word. Non-anglo?

Edit: gotta catch a flight out of Paris now. Back with a trip report later.

Strike a pose. Poseur!

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Day 16: Home-Neuro-Surgery

Old people should not play Socialist Games. The new thought patterns apparently give them very sore leg muscles. I say this based on experience.

I believe that acting young can reshape the brain to be more open to ideas and so I thought I would repeat some behaviours I had when I was young and in this part of the world. Logically this will reshape my brain which will in turn alleviate the aching muscles in my legs. So I went to get one of my favourite Scandinavian delicacies: Pølser (or Korv in swedish).

Basically this is a sausage in a roll with some tomato sauce, mustard and cold dry fried onions like you get at Asian supermarkets. But the Scandinavians put a twist on it. Instead of overloading it with fries and chilli like an American or using great sausages like a German or using hot fried onions like an Australian they went with their own brilliant idea.

Make the bun half the length of the sausage.

I don't know who the genius was that came up with this and I don't know how anyone looked at it and went "oh brilliant idea, now I can get sauce and fried onions all over me instead of tucked away safely inside the bun". But they all did.

I do know that it inspires a teenage angst and rage in me. The induced rage at the size of the bun probably explains why Death Metal is so huge in Norway and Sweden.

Rage swelling and brain reshaping I happily sat on the side of the river munching my pølser.

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Day 17: A Sucker Born Every Minute, Was Not Me Today

I have done everything there is to do in Uppsala. One week and some Pølser and I am jaded. My cosmopolitan sensibilities are being stifled in this small town[1]. Off to the big smoke by Iron Horse Wagons (my Swedish improves by the minute I tell you, my cheery conversations are met with flabbergasted faces[2]).

Swedish vandals are an erudite bunch. My two favourite pieces of graffiti so far are:

"I promise never to deconstruct again" (stencilled)

"I wrote on a wall, take that society!" (nice freehand script)

The best I saw in Germany? a stencilled VW combi van. Lame by comparison.

I think England had some "Dave is gay" works but I didn't take photos of them.

In Stockholm they have the old town, many buildings older than "Real Australia"[3] and the Nobel Museum. Lots of teeny tiny streets. A real travel writer would comment on the hidden gems that can be found around each corner, Will Self would you use some obscure word to describe the milling tourists. I spent most of my time watching women in high heels negotiate the damp / steep cobblestones because I am a low and base creature and my sense of humour reflects this.

The Nobel museum was small but had an excellent series of photos of prize winners with sketches they had made of what their discovery was. Sir Kroto (co-discoverer of Fullerene / Bucky Balls) had drawn a picture of a football and was holding it so it appeared he was kicking it. Those whacky chemists.

The old town, I believe, can be considered a tourist trap of spectacular depth. "It's a trap" jokes were so obvious that neither of us were brave enough to make them.

I spent half an hour looking at a carving of an angry Norsk God holding a hammer.

The name plate said 'Tor'

The price tag said approximately a bajillion kronor

I looked at it some more

Tor looked like he was posting on forums at 0300 and drunk off his mind.

A bajillion divided by 7 is like 0.14 bajillion dollars

"A sucker born every minute"? Not Today Mr Barnum!

I walked out with my 0.14 bajillion kronor[4]

Then I had a steak for lunch. In. A. Tourist. Trap. It appears that "A fool and his money are easily parted" but I can only fight one phrase a day I guess.

Tomorrow I shall eat better and cheaper in Uppsala. Then I might go buy that figurine of Tor.

But I won't be eating a steak next door again.

[1] Purely for comedic effect, 150K odd people and a lot of stuff I haven't seen yet.

[2] Al insists this is because they have no idea what I am talking about, I claim that then ask me what I meant in English because they want to practice their English.

[3] A coinage Al came up with when the American made the comment that not much happened before America existed.

[4] If the government can count "money not spent" as savings so can I

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In Stockholm they have the old town

It is a small world (unless you have to clean it)!

When I visited Old Town a year ago I went to Järnet Matsal & Bar. While waiting for a table a waiter walks past and says "I'll be with you in a minute" - with an Australian accent.

Me: "You're an Aussie, mate?"

He: "Yep, from Brisbane"

Me: "That's where we live!"

He: "No kiddin'? Where abouts?"

Me: "A few different places - we first arrived in Jindalee"

He: "Hey! That's where I grew up! My mum and dad's place is in Carwell Street"

Me: "That's the street where we rented our first house. You're stalking me or something?"

We got drinks on the house after that.

The waiter was still there when we visited again last month.

Edited by AndersB

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What can be said about Paris that has not been said already?

I haven't got a Facebook account, so I don't know what the going thing is when it comes to travel reports. As SC pointed out - perhaps one could easily be accused of being a 'poseur'. Bottom line is that Paris is fantastically beautiful. We stayed in the latin quarters "Quartier Latin" and it was great! This is truly the city of lights:

A nighttime boat cruise at around 10pm that showed the Eiffel Tower in full sparkling glory was a great sight. Paris is indeed a romantic city. It was a heatwave in Paris last weekend and the area around the Seine river was absolutely packed with Parisians and visitors at nighttime. Every other couple seemed to have taken a small picnic with them with a bottle of wine as well.

Yet for all its beauty, one wonders if everything is as great functionally. Our hotel lift was not working and would take a month to repair. A month? Is that normal here? The city metro worked great, however.

Language issues:

The French I learned at school 30 years ago was just enough to irritate waiters in the touristy areas. My pathetic attempts were seemingly understandable to them, but you could tell they were putting all their effort into not rolling their eyes - while they answered back in English. I was just wasting their time. But at least we got friendly service. Outside the touristy areas the local people seemed genuinely happy to hear my attempts at French and responded in French also.

While boarding for our flight to Seoul out of Charles De Gaulle, the gate agent had this conversation with a Korean gentleman in front of me:

GA: "Mr Kim, you are having an exit row seat"

Mr Kim: "Yes?"

GA: "Are you able to operate the emergency exit door if it would become necessary?"

Mr Kim: "Yes?"

GA: "Do you have any problems with instructions in English or French?"

Mr Kim "Yes?"

This is where I interrupted and kindly offered:

Me: "We would be happy to assist in the exit row, madame!"

And this is how we scored exit row seats on this flight, with oodles of leg room. English rocks!

Edited by AndersB
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What can be said about Paris that has not been said already?

I haven't got a Facebook account, so I don't know what the going thing is when it comes to travel reports. As SC pointed out - perhaps one could easily be accused of being a 'poseur'. Bottom line is that Paris is fantastically beautiful. We stayed in the latin quarters "Quartier Latin" and it was great! This is truly the city of lights:

A nighttime boat cruise at around 10pm that showed the Eiffel Tower in full sparkling glory was a great sight. Paris is indeed a romantic city. It was a heatwave in Paris last weekend and the area around the Seine river was absolutely packed with Parisians and visitors at nighttime. Every other couple seemed to have taken a small picnic with them with a bottle of wine as well.

Yet for all its beauty, one wonders if everything is as great functionally. Our hotel lift was not working and would take a month to repair. A month? Is that normal here? The city metro worked great, however.

Language issues:

The French I learned at school 30 years ago was just enough to irritate waiters in the touristy areas. My pathetic attempts were seemingly understandable to them, but you could tell they were putting all their effort into not rolling their eyes - while they answered back in English. I was just wasting their time. But at least we got friendly service. Outside the touristy areas the local people seemed genuinely happy to hear my attempts at French and responded in French also.

While boarding for our flight to Seoul out of Charles De Gaulle, the gate agent had this conversation with a Korean gentleman in front of me:

GA: "Mr Kim, you are having an exit row seat"

Mr Kim: "Yes?"

GA: "Are you able to operate the emergency exit door if it would become necessary?"

Mr Kim: "Yes?"

GA: "Do you have any problems with instructions in English or French?"

Mr Kim "Yes?"

This is where I interrupted and kindly offered:

Me: "We would be happy to assist in the exit row, madame!"

And this is how we scored exit row seats on this flight, with oodles of leg room. English rocks!

Poseur was mainly jealousy. :blush:

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Day 17: A Sucker Born Every Minute, Was Not Me Today

I have done everything there is to do in Uppsala. One week and some Pølser and I am jaded. My cosmopolitan sensibilities are being stifled in this small town[1]. Off to the big smoke by Iron Horse Wagons (my Swedish improves by the minute I tell you, my cheery conversations are met with flabbergasted faces[2]).

Swedish vandals are an erudite bunch. My two favourite pieces of graffiti so far are:

"I promise never to deconstruct again" (stencilled)

"I wrote on a wall, take that society!" (nice freehand script)

The best I saw in Germany? a stencilled VW combi van. Lame by comparison.

I think England had some "Dave is gay" works but I didn't take photos of them.

In Stockholm they have the old town, many buildings older than "Real Australia"[3] and the Nobel Museum. Lots of teeny tiny streets. A real travel writer would comment on the hidden gems that can be found around each corner, Will Self would you use some obscure word to describe the milling tourists. I spent most of my time watching women in high heels negotiate the damp / steep cobblestones because I am a low and base creature and my sense of humour reflects this.

The Nobel museum was small but had an excellent series of photos of prize winners with sketches they had made of what their discovery was. Sir Kroto (co-discoverer of Fullerene / Bucky Balls) had drawn a picture of a football and was holding it so it appeared he was kicking it. Those whacky chemists.

The old town, I believe, can be considered a tourist trap of spectacular depth. "It's a trap" jokes were so obvious that neither of us were brave enough to make them.

I spent half an hour looking at a carving of an angry Norsk God holding a hammer.

The name plate said 'Tor'

The price tag said approximately a bajillion kronor

I looked at it some more

Tor looked like he was posting on forums at 0300 and drunk off his mind.

A bajillion divided by 7 is like 0.14 bajillion dollars

"A sucker born every minute"? Not Today Mr Barnum!

I walked out with my 0.14 bajillion kronor[4]

Then I had a steak for lunch. In. A. Tourist. Trap. It appears that "A fool and his money are easily parted" but I can only fight one phrase a day I guess.

Tomorrow I shall eat better and cheaper in Uppsala. Then I might go buy that figurine of Tor.

But I won't be eating a steak next door again.

[1] Purely for comedic effect, 150K odd people and a lot of stuff I haven't seen yet.

[2] Al insists this is because they have no idea what I am talking about, I claim that then ask me what I meant in English because they want to practice their English.

[3] A coinage Al came up with when the American made the comment that not much happened before America existed.

[4] If the government can count "money not spent" as savings so can I

Low ball them on the statue. Walk away. I'm in sweden for x days only. You like it but you don't love it. Box seat. Mind you if they saw you drooling over it then you're paying full retail.

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Days 18-21: Oh There Was A Reason For This Trip

Almost forgot. I am here to do a Naginata seminar.

Naginata seminars usually consist of 2.5 days training and then a grading for the last half day. Saturday night before the last day is traditionally a party (as many people fly out immediately after the seminar).

The local Swede was organising the party and had a chef that would do a traditional Swedish dinner thing. The chef pulled out on Thursday morning. The local Swede panicked a bit as she couldn't organise alternate catering for 70 people with such a short time frame. Her counterpart in the Swedish federation is about the largest walking disaster I have met. In the space of a couple of hours he lost his keys, then lost his car, then got lost. He was unlikely to provide much assistance. He does have a very nice singing voice.

Being calm under pressure[1] and opinionated[2] the fun times of me learning about Swedish parties by helping host one began.

Entree:

Pickled Herring - Plain flavour and Mustard flavour

Potatoes - boiled

Swedish breads - couple of traditional flat breads

Cheeses - local and quite tasty

Kaviar - Fish roe in a toothpaste tube

Gubbröra - "Old Mans Mess", potato, herring, egg and stuff mixed up and served cold on a rye bread[3]

Nubbe - Huh? What's that? oh Akvavit - hooray!

Low Alcohol beer - Boo! but it is apparently traditional with nubbe

Main:

Lax - Swedish salmon (from Norway)

Meatballs - well it is Sweden

Roast Chicken - for those afraid of Swedish food

Potato salad

Salad

Pale Beer - hooray!

Dark beer - Even hooray er!

Dessert:

Swedish cheesecake - Nothing like our cheesecake, more like a cooked ricotta with almond meal in it, served with jam and cream

Varm och Kald - a sweet cider flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla, apple pie in a glass, surprisingly good and at 7% surprisingly powerful

I made the cultural mistake of asking how we offer the choice of mains to people as it seemed a bit unwieldy given time and people resources we had available. THIS IS NOT THE SWEDISH WAY - EVERYONE GETS EVERYTHING!

Here I was nervous about the logistics involved as there was a room to be set up, all the food to be prepped and then the serving and clearing. And it all had to be done in about a 2.5 hr window during which almost no naginata people would be available as they would be doing the seminar. It was also to be done in a dojo kitchen which is more suited to microwaving a burrito than anything else. The single fridge at the dojo was almost full of other peoples stuff.

Those Long F*cking Winters came into play however as 3 other Swedish girls jumped at the chance to be slave labour. These people are seriously into "doing stuff".

The local Swede and her coven of 3, after an interminable discussion about table layout which I interrupted by asking how long potatoes actually take to cook in small pots on 2 elements, took over the kitchen and I was relegated to carrying stuff (prior to this I was important and doing logistics and such, ordering people around is fun!). I noticed the Swedish in the kitchen would get very fast occasionally, so fast I couldn't get the gist of what they were saying, then all 4 witches would look at me and cackle.

My Scottish tan was mistaken for blushing[4] and this did little to reduce the cackling.

Apparently Swedish sexism law has a way to go before men can be treated as more than just sex objects to be ogled.

I don't really know how but the party was successfully held, the Sensei were very happy, lots of people got suitably drunk, some attempts at Swedish drinking songs were performed, people from about 10 countries got a taste of Swedish traditions and the Dutch left the party happy.

The Dutch get a special mention as they fell for ethnic stereotyping. When it was time to clear the mains everyone was too busy getting the desserts ready. I looked at the Dutch and saw a bunch of people that have made cleaning up in a mathematically precise fashion an element of national pride for over 400 years. Given the chance to clear the plates in an insanely complicated fashion they fell upon the tables like locusts.

The seminar went well, I didn't embarrass myself or my Sensei[5], Al passed his grading for second dan and came third in the competition (I only judged one of his matches so biased judging can't be the factor[6]).

Objectives:

  • Clean the apartment and start moving South.
  • Return the bicycles which have been such trusty steeds.
  • Leonard Cohen is playing and some old Norwegian friends have a spare ticket, it will bring back the depression of deep winter in a nostalgic way.
  • Travel over bridge between Sweden and Denmark.

[1] Drunk

[2] Drunk

[3] The description I was given was "it is a mix of stuff", the description above is from observation.

[4] I stand by this

[5] Well no more than the expected range

[6] Despite accusations from certain NZ team members

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Days 18-21: Oh There Was A Reason For This Trip

Almost forgot. I am here to do a Naginata seminar.

Naginata seminars usually consist of 2.5 days training and then a grading for the last half day. Saturday night before the last day is traditionally a party (as many people fly out immediately after the seminar).

The local Swede was organising the party and had a chef that would do a traditional Swedish dinner thing. The chef pulled out on Thursday morning. The local Swede panicked a bit as she couldn't organise alternate catering for 70 people with such a short time frame. Her counterpart in the Swedish federation is about the largest walking disaster I have met. In the space of a couple of hours he lost his keys, then lost his car, then got lost. He was unlikely to provide much assistance. He does have a very nice singing voice.

Being calm under pressure[1] and opinionated[2] the fun times of me learning about Swedish parties by helping host one began.

Entree:

Pickled Herring - Plain flavour and Mustard flavour

Potatoes - boiled

Swedish breads - couple of traditional flat breads

Cheeses - local and quite tasty

Kaviar - Fish roe in a toothpaste tube

Gubbröra - "Old Mans Mess", potato, herring, egg and stuff mixed up and served cold on a rye bread[3]

Nubbe - Huh? What's that? oh Akvavit - hooray!

Low Alcohol beer - Boo! but it is apparently traditional with nubbe

Main:

Lax - Swedish salmon (from Norway)

Meatballs - well it is Sweden

Roast Chicken - for those afraid of Swedish food

Potato salad

Salad

Pale Beer - hooray!

Dark beer - Even hooray er!

Dessert:

Swedish cheesecake - Nothing like our cheesecake, more like a cooked ricotta with almond meal in it, served with jam and cream

Varm och Kald - a sweet cider flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla, apple pie in a glass, surprisingly good and at 7% surprisingly powerful

I made the cultural mistake of asking how we offer the choice of mains to people as it seemed a bit unwieldy given time and people resources we had available. THIS IS NOT THE SWEDISH WAY - EVERYONE GETS EVERYTHING!

Here I was nervous about the logistics involved as there was a room to be set up, all the food to be prepped and then the serving and clearing. And it all had to be done in about a 2.5 hr window during which almost no naginata people would be available as they would be doing the seminar. It was also to be done in a dojo kitchen which is more suited to microwaving a burrito than anything else. The single fridge at the dojo was almost full of other peoples stuff.

Those Long F*cking Winters came into play however as 3 other Swedish girls jumped at the chance to be slave labour. These people are seriously into "doing stuff".

The local Swede and her coven of 3, after an interminable discussion about table layout which I interrupted by asking how long potatoes actually take to cook in small pots on 2 elements, took over the kitchen and I was relegated to carrying stuff (prior to this I was important and doing logistics and such, ordering people around is fun!). I noticed the Swedish in the kitchen would get very fast occasionally, so fast I couldn't get the gist of what they were saying, then all 4 witches would look at me and cackle.

My Scottish tan was mistaken for blushing[4] and this did little to reduce the cackling.

Apparently Swedish sexism law has a way to go before men can be treated as more than just sex objects to be ogled.

I don't really know how but the party was successfully held, the Sensei were very happy, lots of people got suitably drunk, some attempts at Swedish drinking songs were performed, people from about 10 countries got a taste of Swedish traditions and the Dutch left the party happy.

The Dutch get a special mention as they fell for ethnic stereotyping. When it was time to clear the mains everyone was too busy getting the desserts ready. I looked at the Dutch and saw a bunch of people that have made cleaning up in a mathematically precise fashion an element of national pride for over 400 years. Given the chance to clear the plates in an insanely complicated fashion they fell upon the tables like locusts.

The seminar went well, I didn't embarrass myself or my Sensei[5], Al passed his grading for second dan and came third in the competition (I only judged one of his matches so biased judging can't be the factor[6]).

Objectives:

  • Clean the apartment and start moving South.
  • Return the bicycles which have been such trusty steeds.
  • Leonard Cohen is playing and some old Norwegian friends have a spare ticket, it will bring back the depression of deep winter in a nostalgic way.
  • Travel over bridge between Sweden and Denmark.

[1] Drunk

[2] Drunk

[3] The description I was given was "it is a mix of stuff", the description above is from observation.

[4] I stand by this

[5] Well no more than the expected range

[6] Despite accusations from certain NZ team members

hehe. Man I'm enjoying your trip! I really like your writing style. Very descriptive and for me you paint a vivid mental picture. Ms clown is hooked as well. :)

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Day ##: Oh Wait What Day Is It?

So I think there is a day in the past 5 days where I lost track. Let's blame it on being hit in the head a lot during the seminar or possibly being regarded as a sex object by the coven. Either will make a normal male lose track of things a bit. Probably not much happened on that day.

Day 23: Administrative Duties (Clean Underwear)

Another Swedish laundry party was held, now that I know these are not as sexy as they sound I sensibly armed myself with a bottle of Skåne akvavit (locally called nubbe, but I giggle too much when I say that so I will stick to calling it Akvavit for ease of typing purposes). A tasty little drop. The caraway flavour is strong but there is an underlying hint of fruitiness which comes through long in the palate. The finish is dry and, when not sullied with stupid pickled fish, leaves you wanting more a few minutes later.

When your palate is sullied with stupid pickled fish (normal _or_ mustard flavoured) you want another one pretty much immediately. Stupid pickled fish.

I believe Skåne akvavit is available at Dan Murphys from vague recollections. Usually I buy Linje Akvavit which is a Norwegian one. Much more of a medicinal iodine aspect to Linje. It has a great back story too. The Akvavit is made and then loaded onto ships which travel down past Australia and then back to Norway. The exposure to sea air and the rocking supposedly makes the distinctive flavour. How the hell they figured this out I don't know as the idea of a bunch of Norwegians making it to Australia and back without drinking all the Akvavit on-board seems somewhat incredible to me.

Maybe they accidentally put a cask onto a boat crewed by some non-drinking nation.

The obvious question of how did I become faintly knowledgeable in Akvavit over the course of two weeks can be answered. Science & Necessity!

The alcohol system here (and Norway) is that supermarkets sell booze. Hooray! but it is limited to 3.5% alcohol. Boo! The supermarkets all carry wide ranges of great beers, czech pilsners, english ales, german lagers and so on, they are all exceedingly cheap (by Australia standards) because they have been reduced to 3.5%. Mostly the taste of the beers indicates a boiling process to drive off the alcohol as, so far, they all taste a wee bit weird. The hops in particular taste way more "wet cardboard" than the same beer at normal strength tastes. The only way to get decent alcohol is to go to the System Bolaget. This is a state owned bottle shop, there are not so many. I have never had a huge issue with communism but this does make me doubt it's applicability.

Being a sensible (and handsome) man whenever I make the trek to the Bolaget I tend to get a little bit "kid in a toy store". There was a little section for Akvavit and it had a box of ten miniatures, it was labelled "Sverige Akvavit". Displaying my awesome command of the language I deciphered this as "Wheeeee ten little bottles of Swedish booze". So I got one.

Then I saw the same box but "Norge Akvavit": "ten little bottles of Norwegian booze". Science must be done! So I got one of them too.

Then spent a lovely bit of time tasting and comparing them (actually this could be the day I don't remember where the day was or when).

I have a bunch of notes somewhere about the comparative flavours and such. Some of those notes are in another language I must have mastered during the drinking session.

Suffice it to say that I decided that Skåne was the applicable choice for a Swedish Laundry Party. So I turned up ready to go. In the interests of expressing a bit of gratitude to the local Swede I cooked her and Al some west african style peanut chicken and rice. Al expressed his gratitude by choosing a movie for us to watch while dinner and laundry were in progress. He chose "Legend" starring Tom Cruise.

I would hate to break my travelogue genre and become a movie critic but man that is one hell of a sh*t movie!

Not to be outdone in the "let's flabbergast tor" stakes the local Swede opened a small cupboard which turned out to be heavily stocked with booze including 4 Islay Malts! Why this was not mentioned in the previous 2 week period I SIMPLY CAN'T UNDERSTAND. Al says he knows but won't tell me. I made so many trips to the Bolaget which could have been obviated by simply giving me a key to her apartment and a comfy couch. Al still claims he won't tell me why she kept it secret. I am suspecting Al is not as smart as he claims he is and is just trying to be cool by understanding the ways of womenfolk.

On the bright side I now have almost all clean clothes for the brief sojourn to Norway.

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hehe. Man I'm enjoying your trip! I really like your writing style. Very descriptive and for me you paint a vivid mental picture. Ms clown is hooked as well. :)

Thanks. And you better believe I am enjoying my trip too!

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Day ##: Oh Wait What Day Is It?

So I think there is a day in the past 5 days where I lost track. Let's blame it on being hit in the head a lot during the seminar or possibly being regarded as a sex object by the coven. Either will make a normal male lose track of things a bit. Probably not much happened on that day.

Day 23: Administrative Duties (Clean Underwear)

Another Swedish laundry party was held, now that I know these are not as sexy as they sound I sensibly armed myself with a bottle of Skåne akvavit (locally called nubbe, but I giggle too much when I say that so I will stick to calling it Akvavit for ease of typing purposes). A tasty little drop. The caraway flavour is strong but there is an underlying hint of fruitiness which comes through long in the palate. The finish is dry and, when not sullied with stupid pickled fish, leaves you wanting more a few minutes later.

When your palate is sullied with stupid pickled fish (normal _or_ mustard flavoured) you want another one pretty much immediately. Stupid pickled fish.

I believe Skåne akvavit is available at Dan Murphys from vague recollections. Usually I buy Linje Akvavit which is a Norwegian one. Much more of a medicinal iodine aspect to Linje. It has a great back story too. The Akvavit is made and then loaded onto ships which travel down past Australia and then back to Norway. The exposure to sea air and the rocking supposedly makes the distinctive flavour. How the hell they figured this out I don't know as the idea of a bunch of Norwegians making it to Australia and back without drinking all the Akvavit on-board seems somewhat incredible to me.

Maybe they accidentally put a cask onto a boat crewed by some non-drinking nation.

The obvious question of how did I become faintly knowledgeable in Akvavit over the course of two weeks can be answered. Science & Necessity!

The alcohol system here (and Norway) is that supermarkets sell booze. Hooray! but it is limited to 3.5% alcohol. Boo! The supermarkets all carry wide ranges of great beers, czech pilsners, english ales, german lagers and so on, they are all exceedingly cheap (by Australia standards) because they have been reduced to 3.5%. Mostly the taste of the beers indicates a boiling process to drive off the alcohol as, so far, they all taste a wee bit weird. The hops in particular taste way more "wet cardboard" than the same beer at normal strength tastes. The only way to get decent alcohol is to go to the System Bolaget. This is a state owned bottle shop, there are not so many. I have never had a huge issue with communism but this does make me doubt it's applicability.

Being a sensible (and handsome) man whenever I make the trek to the Bolaget I tend to get a little bit "kid in a toy store". There was a little section for Akvavit and it had a box of ten miniatures, it was labelled "Sverige Akvavit". Displaying my awesome command of the language I deciphered this as "Wheeeee ten little bottles of Swedish booze". So I got one.

Then I saw the same box but "Norge Akvavit": "ten little bottles of Norwegian booze". Science must be done! So I got one of them too.

Then spent a lovely bit of time tasting and comparing them (actually this could be the day I don't remember where the day was or when).

I have a bunch of notes somewhere about the comparative flavours and such. Some of those notes are in another language I must have mastered during the drinking session.

Suffice it to say that I decided that Skåne was the applicable choice for a Swedish Laundry Party. So I turned up ready to go. In the interests of expressing a bit of gratitude to the local Swede I cooked her and Al some west african style peanut chicken and rice. Al expressed his gratitude by choosing a movie for us to watch while dinner and laundry were in progress. He chose "Legend" starring Tom Cruise.

I would hate to break my travelogue genre and become a movie critic but man that is one hell of a sh*t movie!

On the bright side I now have almost all clean clothes for the brief sojourn to Norway.

Sweden is sounding less utopian with each post. :( It sounds like plain english bitter is being served. Some of us drink for effect as well as taste. ;)

Watch out for the covern although chances are you are not trying to claim the kingdom of denmark so you're OK. Remember the Assange lesson though.

Not to be outdone in the "let's flabbergast tor" stakes the local Swede opened a small cupboard which turned out to be heavily stocked with booze including 4 Islay Malts! Why this was not mentioned in the previous 2 week period I SIMPLY CAN'T UNDERSTAND. Al says he knows but won't tell me. I made so many trips to the Bolaget which could have been obviated by simply giving me a key to her apartment and a comfy couch. Al still claims he won't tell me why she kept it secret. I am suspecting Al is not as smart as he claims he is and is just trying to be cool by understanding the ways of womenfolk.

This one's easily explainable and rather obvious too even me... :P

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Thanks. And you better believe I am enjoying my trip too!

It shows. :)

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