I have finally played on red clay! Here is the story: I caught bits and pieces of Wimbledon my first five days in Stockholm. The boat (hostel) the class calls home has a lounge on the upper deck with a TV that has been showing the matches. Since Stockholm is one hour ahead of London, there is almost always a match on when I get back from class for the day. On Friday evening, I was watching the final set of the Nadal-Murray semifinal when I met Joachim Hammarström. He was searching for a few of my classmates he had met two nights earlier at nearby bar. The guys he was looking for weren’t around so he hung around to watch the end of the match. We got to chatting and he happens to be a tennis player and lives right here in Stockholm, a 10 minute walk from the hostel. We went out for a few beers that night and made plans to play a match on Sunday. Joachim booked two hours on a clay court at Hellasgården, a recreation area just a 15 minute bus ride southeast of the city.
When visiting a new place, try not to take the same route twice unless you have no other option. In a big city like Stockholm, there is almost always an alternative route which gives you a different perspective. Even if you just take the next street over, you can be exposed to new restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, and vantage points. Many times that alternative route will get you to your destination faster because you have a better feel for the area and can choose a more direct route. So many of the students in my class are content to take same route both getting somewhere and coming back. I just don’t get it!
When travelling with a group of 28 students, it is really tough to know if everyone is present and accounted for, especially in bustling city squares and train stations. So my professor Jeff (he prefers Jeff because it is the least formal) assigns everyone a number, 1 through 28. When Jeff needs to figure out if everyone made it, the class counts up from 1 by shouting out their specific number. It worked really well today when we had to take the metro to a sustainable development on the edge of central stockholm. If one person doesn’t make it in time, the whole class will miss the train or subway until they are tracked down. No delays today though!
About 2 hours prior to landing in Stockholm (just before breakfast and the warm washcloth distribution), the entire flight was treated to a photo slideshow accompanied by epic classical music called “Impressions of Scandinavia” on the plane’s tv screens. Fjords, mountains, islands, oceans, quaint and towns – it sure is a beautiful part of the world. I can’t wait to explore it! I am writing the rest of this post outside my hostel..which just happens to be a boat. The flight went fine and I met up with some classmates at the airport. We bussed and taxied to the hostel together and now have some time to kill. Check in isn’t until 3. ’till next time…
Smooth sailing this morning on BART from Oakland all the way to SFO. I am sitting in beautiful Terminal 2 waiting for my boarding call in just a few minutes. The fog line is just north of the airport so I see blue skies. Let’s hope it stays that way!
Embarking on the 2011 UC Davis Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe (SCONE) Study Abroad trip.