To the royal palace – that's what I said, this morning, as I hopped on the bus (which I would only ride for all of three minutes – I need to get some use out of the pass.) And there, I waited for one moment, two moments – alright, an hour. And why? Why would I wait for an hour at the royal palace, aside from saying that I was outside the home of the crowed king of Sweden? Why to see the changing of the guards of course.
I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that in Oslo I did not see the changing of the guards, merely one guard replacing another. For here, in Sweden, I watched the entire thirty minute presentation full of song, and music, and automatic weaponry. Ahh the modern royalty.
I watched as the guards marched out, did the Cartman shuffle, and then backed away – allowing for the parade of musicians to come through.
There were a number of songs played, many of which I did not know. However, at one point it became very obvious that the theme from Superman, the movie, could not possibly be an original score. I just can not believe that the entire Swedish military is that big of a Christopher Reeves fan. Still – hearing them play the tune was quite spectacular.
I created a video of it. I created many videos of this event, in fact – so many that I managed to fill my first memory card. I'll post those files in a follow up entry, because trying to find space to fit them all in here would just be disastrous.
After the tattoo was finished the military musicians left the square, hopped on their tour bus (I'm not kidding about this) and went who knows where.
What a charming little country.
From the future to the past...
So I jump on the bus, yeah – the 69K or some such thing, and start heading towards some giant radio tower. I'm not really sure what it is, but it was marked on the map as a point of interest, and would be a legitiment use of my bus pass, so who would I be to argue with a stop like that? Now, when I'm almost there, what do I see out the window, but a bunch of bivouacs. There they are, all lines up, and crowds of people sitting on a hill. Clearly, this would require some investigation.
Investigate I did, and do you know what I found out there? People shooting canons, and guns, and mortars (all blanks of course) dressed up as soldiers from two hundred years in the past. I wandered my way past cooking tents, and military regiments – navigated through rest areas for weary troops, and maneuvered around horses that seemed quite a bit too close for comfort. Made worse by the fact that every canon fired spooked them out of control of their rider.
It turned out that I had discovered the recreation of a battle that took place two hundred years ago between the Russians and the Swedes. During this battle, Sweden lost control of Finland to Russia. Imagine that, and entire country lost in a battle.
I'm not quite sure the history, nor why they're celebrating such a loss, as the loud speak narrating the even was – of course – not in English.
Still, taking a seat on the hill, it was quite the sight to see.
Videos, of course, were taken. They too will be in a separate follow up post. YouTube has become my best of friends. (Lights just flickered on then off in the boat – that's not disconcerting at all.)
To the Train, Then.
Once more into the breach. I decided that I would make a final journey for the day before packing in. I would head to the train station to buy my ticket to Copenhagen, Denmark. On the way I discovered a grocery store (not fifty meters from where I was asking people to point me to one yesterday night.) Much juice was purchased. Why can Canada not sell Pear juice as they do over here? I also bought some that was labeled multivitamin juice. Can't hurt, can it?
At the train station I was helped by a lovely lady who got me booked, set, and ready to go. I'll be leaving here on the 23 at eleven in the morning, arriving in Denmark just after four. There's nothing like getting to a new city while the sun is still up. It makes all the difference to my over anxious self. I think I'm getting quite used to this travel thing.
35K for laundry. That's about six dollars. Not too bad for a wash and dry. So I paid my fee, got my soap and token, and off I went to wash some clothes.
Because I intended to get the most use out of said wash, I had to change into what I will now consider my “Laundry outfit.” It is a bright blue bathing suit, and long sleeve shirt. Both of these things I will hardly need to wear, and as such they will make great cover whilst the rest of my things become delightful and non-grossified.
Of course it does mean I'll look ridiculous. But what else is new?
So I'm sitting on a boat, using the internet, in Scandinavia. None of this seems strange to me. If you asked me a year ago if I thought I'd be doing this, I would say no. In fact a year ago, I couldn't have even conceived of doing something like this.
And now here I am, just starting off, and it all seems perfectly normal for me – perfectly fine and dandy. And why? Because my buddy showed me an episode of Departures, and I had to see if it was possible to do it too? Sure – that's part of it. But even three weeks ago I couldn't have thought I'd be doing this.
All the way until my departure date I figured something would happen to prevent me. A slightly terrified part of me was hoping for that. But that's why I had to tell people about this trip right when I first started planning it – because then I wouldn't back out.
Still, three weeks ago, I never would have thought how different things would be.
And here I am, gone a year – I wonder what things will be like when I finally make my way back home, all those months from now.
Just thinking, is all.