22:26 Sun.
1 Sep, 2013

Going on a trip

Day 24 , 123 remain
Lulea , Sweden
16 °C
5:06 am
7:53 pm

On Friday morning we had a tour of Luleå city (centre). Our tour guide was a person from LURC so he showed as some commodities (cheapest barber’s salon etc.) along the way. After the tour we visited the city hall which is one of the highest building in the city. We were allowed to go on the roof where the view is amazing. After that, we were greeted with by few people of the city council, sadly mayor was missing because he was in Finland. They gave us some free promotional stuff and then we were off to a nice lunch, which was paid for by Luleå (mayor). The lunch was really really good, it was a self-service in regard that you picked up as much food as you wanted and drinks were on the house as well. If I compare it with welcome dinner; it wasn’t as fancy but it must have cost a fortune nonetheless (we are around 250 exchange students after all).

Luleaå's church
Luleaå’s church
Panorama overlooking Luleå's harbor
Panorama overlooking Luleå’s harbor
Luleå downtown panorama
Luleå downtown panorama

In the evening we had a “tetrathlon” on a nearby field. We played some made up Swedish games, which were really weird. I don’t know who comes up with this games but they are either weird or disgusting.

Allen running toward his team.
Allen running toward his team.

On Saturday morning we had a trip planned to rapids in Storforsen. It is an hour and ten drive with a bus. Interesting fact; we had to fasten our seatbelts on the bus, you usually don’t see that in Slovenia.
The river was wide and the rapids very strong and long. We took some pictures of them and then we went to one BBQ place (which were all around the “park”). While we were eating/chatting by the fire, some people went swimming (not in the rapids of course) but on a nearby pool of calm water. I’m not sure why they can’t feel cold.

Squirrel in the city center
Squirrel in the city center

In the evening we had a welcome dinner. We had to dress as a Swedish icons so there were quite a lot Pippi Långstrump and hockey player. I went as a king of Sweden.

The dinner was really fancy (I’m not sure if it was prepared by university kitchen staff), there were 3 courses, appetiser, main dish and dessert. I didn’t bring camera with me so you’ll have to satisfy with my description of the dishes.

    • Appetizer: Canapé with smoked salmon salad, fresh herbs and lemon vinaigrette
    • Main course: Marinated chicken with ratatouille & baked potato gratinated with cheese
    • Dessert: Chocolate & coconut cake with raspberry cream

The food was really good, but the portions were quite small, it looked like those meals in fancy restaurants. You could probably put whole appetizer and dessert in your mouth in one big bite and main course consisted of half potato and one chicken breast.

While we were eating/waiting for next course we had some entertainment program, LURC guys had a sketch were they showed how a typical Swedish person behaves (stereotypically shy) it was really funny, later we had a male choir who sang 2 songs in Swedish and lastly a song I understood: “The final countdown”.

It actually sounded very good. Later there was a girls’ choir as well, among the song they sang I recognized the Harry Potter theme song and a “Help!” from beatles (if I remember correctly).

Later we had a treasure hunt which we (our table) actually won (I still don’t know how), and finale from previous game nights. There were some performances from exchange students as well.

Today we only had a relaxing picnic where we hang out and chat. Tomorrow school starts. Tomorrow I only have Swedish course so I’ll have to wait until Tuesday for “real” school to start.

23:55 Mon.
26 Aug, 2013

Swedish games ...

Day 18 , 129 remain
Lulea , Sweden
15 °C
4:46 am
8:17 pm

So I should probably start where I ended last time. Student union up here has its own “club” at the university. You need LTU student card to get inside and drinks are approximately 3 times cheaper than in a normal club. Somehow I managed to go to the BBQ, before going to STUK (name of the club: student something something something) at 11’o clock. I’m not sure if it’s just prejudice or is it real but it felt like Swedes on a dance floor are further apart than what I’m used to in Slovenia. You could almost walk right through the thickest crowd and almost didn’t have to touch anyone.
The drinks are still very expensive a beer is around 35SEK (4€), spirits start from around 100 SEK (10€) per shot. We have a saying in Slovenia “Rola se mi tudi brez alkohola” (quick translation: You can have fun without alcohol) I guess we’ll be practising this a lot. We went home at around 2 am.

On Sunday morning we had a trip planned to a close by shopping centre. Everything still hurt from previous day but somehow I managed to rode a bike for 20min to get to the shopping centre. After forgetting to buy half the stuff I should have bought we went home. This was pretty much it for Sunday as I was too tired to do anything else.

Today morning we had a “welcoming” event at the university. Vice chancellor and all other staff from university gave speeches. The chancellor had a really interesting speech. It was something like this “Don’t forget to study, but while you’re up here go out, have fun, go skiing, on trips, you’re not likely to come to this environment ever again.”.

In the afternoon we played some fun Swedish games.

Swedish games
Swedish games

In the evening we had another BBQ this time near the university. Here we firstly played some kind of Swedish baseball. It’s OK I guess but I prefer normal baseball. After that we went to eat something and play the game with the sticks (see post #11). We also met with a lot of new people. It’s really fun, you just go around and talk to strangers, and you are strangers no more.