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Reports

Sunday, 23 September 2001
Rygge (Norway) --> Malmö (Sweden)

Today was a big day, however just a small big day. I travelled from the train station in Moss over the Norwegian border into Sweden.

That's was the big thing. But in order to get my plane on Wednesday and with the troubles of too few invitations in Sweden I will only see one city the coming days.

Today the report of my 5 minutes visit to Göteborg and the 8 hours train ride to Malmö...

Welcome in Sweden.

This morning Frank Larssen had prepared a bacon and eggs breakfast for me and got ready for my departure around noon.

Frank Larssen goes to his Sunday’s swimming training in Moss, and he offered me to bring me there, as I had to get my train to Sweden from this train station.

Before leaving me, Frank also gave me a [bheavy handful of Swedish Kroner[/b] (the Swedish currency), saying that I could need it more than he. Wow, thanks!

I could have told you the next thing in my previous report, but I didn’t want to write about it.

Now I am in Moss again I just can’t deny it: Moss is the worst smelling city I have ever smelled before!

Someway the Peterson paper mill factory, where Frank works and where carton is produced, spreads this certain odor around the town.

Even though the steam pipes are 65 meters tall and presenting the skyline of Moss, I really wouldn't not want to live here.

So everywhere on the street I smelled this – smell; which I can compare with the fumes of washing machines - or if you cook vegetables for a long time with all the windows closed. Very humid too.

Or like some bones have been stuck in a soup for too long. It just made me feel pretty horrible inside. Probably because I am not used to it (and I prefer never to get used to it too).

It was satisfied when the train arrived at 1.45pm and took me over the Norwegian border into Sweden.

Now I have written before that I would not visit Sweden, because I have not received enough invitations from Swedish people to have a nice wandering around.

From the 4 invitations in Sweden (finally 3, as I called one potential host and when he asked his mum if I could come she said no…) I could use the one in Malmö, all the way in the south of Sweden, because this is where an airplane will take off in a few days to take me to London, UK.

The train drove through an area rich of forests and farmland and after a few hours of shaking in that unwavering old train it arrived in Göteborg.

If I was invited by somebody in this town, I could have seen the world’s largest floating maritime museum, or photograph one of the street sweeping machines with the world's lowest known values for noise and emissions (I bet you wanted to see a picture of that, wouldn’t you?).

I could have strolled through the largest shopping centre in northern Europe, Nordstan.

Just to get out of course, because shopping malls are not made for me.

If I got ill I could have visited the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, northern Europe's largest hospital. There are about 2,700 beds in the hospital and 16,900 employees. About 2700 visits to doctors are made every day and 175 larger operations are performed. And they are in the Guinness Book of Records with that.

Göteborg is also worldwide known because of Ace of Base. Their music album "Happy Nation" has sold about 23 million copies worldwide. As a result of this, Ace of Base can be found in the Guinness Book of Records (Sweden is doing well in there) for the most successful selling debut album ever.

That's all I know of this place where I will not stay.

The train arrived in Göteborg and I had five minutes to switch to my connecting train to Malmö. So I ran out of the train station, took some shots of the city centre where everything is supposed to happen and ran back again towards my train.

Göteborg in 5 minutes. I did it.

The supersonic fast X2000 train took me to Malmö where I arrived after spending totally over 8 hours of train riding.

You can imagine that I was pretty torn down. There is nothing on board a train that can really exhaust anybody, but just because of that you just get bored and bushed by the enduring same movements and sounds the train makes.

But fortunately my Swedish host Patric Sandelic came to the Malmö train station to pick me up, together with his American girlfriend Sandy.

Patric and Sandy both have a home office in internet programming, but pretty soon they will start a tour of traveling around the world. “We’ve been prosponing it every time, because of new projects coming in, but we really need to go,” Sandy told me.

It was Patric who once stumbled onto my website, not knowing anymore how, but he envied me, because I am doing what everybody else would like to do but not always can do.

I did have a spaghetti bolognese meal on the train to Malmö, and with a lunch package from Frank in Rygge, I wasn’t really that hungry. But there was always some room for the salmon sandwich cake that Patric had made. I never had that before – boy, is that rich food!

Patric and Sandy met when Sandy was studying in Malmö as an American exchange student and Patric was judge at the local paint ball tracks. Somewhere there they got hit pretty hard on to each other, which resulted in flying up and down to California, where Sandy originally comes from, and back to Malmö.

They both decided to stay in Sweden. Especially Patric thought about what he had seen of the USA was not real. “A lot of things are fake and the Americans seem to prefer it that way,” Patric said. “I rather stay in Sweden where people treat you normal and not so overfriendly and present.”

And maybe that is a Swedish thing, because Swedish are known to be very laid back.

There is this joke about people of different nationalities who get stranded on a remote island. They have to work together to survive on the island and most of them can go along with each other pretty well. After a few days this Swedish person comes up and introduces himself by saying – just – “Hi.”.

Patric admits that Swedish are really like that. Maybe that is a reason why the Swedish are not that easy in inviting a stranger with a website over to stay for a day.

Patric is by the way also one of the 50 or more people who have been helping me to get to stay longer in Sweden. Sending emails to the media, contacting people there. But, like Patric said the common words: “They were not interested at all.”

Fine with me… I will only stay here in Malmö the coming days…

History class:

@The first inhabitants of Malmö were fishermen and farmers.

@The name Malmö derives from the name Malmhauger. Roughly translated it means "sand heaps".

@ The actual City of Malmö was founded at the end of the 13th century. Malmö grew to become a vital commercial centre ruled alternately by Sweden, Denmark and the Hanseatic League.

@ In the 16th century, Malmö was not only an important and prosperous city but also part of the kingdom of Denmark. Malmö's Danish period was terminated by the 1658 Roskilde peace treaty, when Denmark ceded the county of Scania to Sweden.

@ Today, Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city and the commercial centre of southern Sweden. Population: 255,000 inhabitants (Göteborg has 600,000).

@ Swedish people are very laid back. (Fact added today)


As I will stay here longer I hope to see at least a little bit of Sweden and the people who live here…

Good night Malmö!

Ramon.




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