Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sweden: Day 1

Steve works for a Swedish company and they're having a mid-year meeting in Gothenburg this week. As a tremendous procrastination tactic, I decided to come along. Don't ask me how my house & jewelry projects are coming along, because I have been very busy lately getting in touch with my inner redneck and traveling the world!

Our flight was at night, so I figured I'd take a couple sleeping pills before boarding at Dulles. Except I took them too early and it was all I could do to stay awake by the time we got settled in the LAST ROW of seats. Note: on an Airbus 300-whatever the galley is directly behind the last row of seats, which translates to endless clanking and chatter for those in Row 46. So after being woken an hour into the flight, I ate dinner and spent the remainder of the nght trying to doze off again, switching from side to side, and actually wishing I had a treadmill to get my wiggles out. After a while I gave up and watched an Oscar-nominated Danish film and Miss Potter on the personal video screen. (As a side note, my high school friend Jason couldn't make our reunion this spring because his boss "Renee" was in town. I didn't know what he did for work but figured she was just a demanding boss in NYC, expecting him to work on the weekends and all. Come to find out Jason is one of Renee Zellweger's personal assistants, so he's working whenever she's in New York).

We got to Copenhagen this morning and received stamps in our passports (Steve is winning by 3). The thing that stuck out the most of our stop in Denmark is they allow smoking in public. And a lot of people smoke. While Virginia may have an uphill battle with a smoking ban (read: tobacco is the number one cash crop and Philip Morris employs more than 6,000 people), it's not like everyone is smoking wherever you go. Like in Copenhagen.

Our flight to Gothenberg (Göteborg) was short and sweet, our taxi was a new Volvo, and the hotel is much the same as the one we stayed in last time: Pergo floors, minimalist design, neutral with a punch of color, rooms the size & efficiency of those on cruise ships. We crashed for a couple hours as soon as we got in, then walked around downtown and ate ice cream. The 2007 graduating class was parading around (woo-HOO!) in various vehicles and it was a warm day as people were walking home from work, so people-watching was plenty of entertainment. Dinner was at the hotel and I am always impressed with the attentiveness of the waitstaff here. Waiters earn a formidable salary even before tips here, so I'm sure that contributes to their pride and work ethic. Yes, that's Steve's first taste of caviar with his shrimp.

Since this blog is my way of scrapbooking, I apologize if I bore you with little details but it's my way of documenting the memorable and funny things in my life as well as letting people know what's new with me so I don't actually have to send personal emails (kidding!). I try to leave out the stuff my mother doesn't think should be shared publicly, like the chick lit addiction I am currently indulging instead of reading Faulkner or Joyce.

Back to the hotel room... A notable difference with Swedish hotels is their bedding. Each side of the bed gets a personal-sized comforter which is folded in place under the blanket when the room is made up. There is no stealing of the covers in Sweden. (Actually I asked some of Steve's coworkers if they have the same setup at home; some do and some don't). The Scandic hotel chain uses very little plastic; wood veneer room keys (swipe cards), wooden pen barrels, and they don't give out little shampoo bottles, rather they have a shampoo/body wash dispenser in the shower so there is no waste. The room trash is divided into organic, paper, and other waste. You have to insert a key into a slot by the door to turn on any lights, which is a great energy saver when the guests are not in the rooms because the lights turn off when the key is removed.