Because I failed to post each day, my numbering of days really got messed up. Twice. I got back on track around Day 180 but got off track again. Our first post was on July 5, which is this coming Thursday. So, by simple subtraction, this must be Day 363. It is going to be tough to furnish a complete picture of Sweden before the year runs out on Wednesday, which I had hoped to accomplish as well. Today, I will cover some news stories from this evening’s news.
In 1982 the Swedish Prime Minister, a guy named Olof Palme, generally regarded as one of the most prominent politicians in Swedish history gave a talk on the flat bed of a truck in the beautiful city of Visby on the island of Gotland which lies in the Baltic Sea a few hours by ferry south of Stockholm. Today, Swedish political parties carry on the tradition and meet each year in summer to deliver speeches and openly hob nob with one another. That would be unthinkable in America today given the political climate. Each of the 7 major parties gives a keynote address on a day and today it was the black sheep of Swedish politics, the Sweden Democrats.
Also on the news was a report that the government is cutting funding for the Swedish military and they interviewed the head of Sweden’s military, who was dressed casually in a shirt and sweater. He was sort of ho-hum about the whole thing and said that if they cut funding, Sweden may have to shut down it’s navy or air force. That was it. Very calm about the whole thing. I guess it is nice not having been in a war in more than 200 years.
Finally, there is a town in the way north of Sweden called Kiruna. Comparatively speaking, Kiruna would be about where Mt. Shasta is in California. It is way up there. It is a town of 18,000 and it sits on a major deposit of iron ore, so they are picking up the town and moving it. The whole damn town. Actually, they are going to simply bulldoze most of the town and rebuilt it elsewhere, saving only some important structures like City Hall. Anyway, I thought that was pretty interesting to move an entire town to get at the iron ore beneath it. What is happening is that the town is actually beginning to sink because of the years of mining the area.
One thing I have learned, and I hope that these three stories show, is that Sweden is very different in many ways from the U.S. Not the least of which is the weather. June was apparently the rainiest month of record and we have had our share of unsteady weather. Today we three days of weather in one day. In the early morning is was clear. Then it clouded over and we had a thunderstorm and torrential rain. Then it cleared up and was a beautiful sunny day with beach time in the afternoon. Living so close to the sea, we can take advantage of breaks in the weather, which is why we were really happy to hear from the landlord that we are going to get at least another year here. One thing we have definitely learned is that we really, really, really like it here in this country, in this town, in this neighborhood.