How the stories of the people
in the video were found, told
Affe Olsson proudly shows his lovingly restored vintage automobile before the Classic Car Parade in Falun, Sweden, on May 31. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
IT HAS LONG BEEN MY BELIEF that travel is the best way to educate oneself, a way or learning that can never be replicated.
Finding out about the cultures and customs of other places and people broadens the mind mofre than any classroom teacher can.
Besides, when one is old and gray, what remains are the memories; stuff just doesn’t matter.
Among the many fascinating folks, sights, sounds and vistas I encountered on my recent trip to Sweden and the United Kingdom, some really stand out.
Meet them here. And learn from our exchanges.
VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD.
Alex Ghawi joins me and friends for a beer in Pitchers Pub downtown Falun, Sweden, on May 31. Photo by Bjorn Palenius.
© SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
AFTER A 17 HOUR TRIP from Los Angeles, and a rest at Jumbo Stay, I traveled the three hours from Stockholm to Falun, mostly by train.
The last 20 minutes was by bus. As I was struggling with my heavy luggage to settle into my seat, a young man behind me kindly said: “May I help you with that?”
I was instantly impressed.
Alex Ghawi turned out to be a gentleman and a friend.
At first he thought I was crazy – as, apparently, did most other Swedes on the bus. I started shooting video … because from the outset I intended to document this trip for this blog.
As I was finishing my shot, the battery on my iPhone4s died. I groaned.
I turned to Alex, now seated behind me, and explained the situation. Then I remembered my backup: the Nikon Coolpix still had enough charge left to reshoot the shot.
It is what you see in the video. Thanks for being such a good sport, Alex.
THE TOWN OF FALUN, 30,000 people strong, was where I visited my soul-mate Bjorn Palenius, and his family.
There are separate stories and videos about the Falun highlights still coming to this blog. But here you see a few snippets.
The town spring festival – it’s emergence after a long, cold winter – was fortuitously held during my visit. It began with the classic car parade.
Most of the entries, ironically, were American-made. The car lovingly restored by Affe Olsson, was purchased a few years ago in California. It was old and beaten up. When I saw it, however, it was by far the best car in the show.
However you don’t see it in the procession. In a telephone call Affe made to me after my return to L.A., he explained he had experienced a battery problem and was forced out of the parade. What a shame!
Mathias Soderback, from Finland, was my seatmate on the flight from Stockholm to London, June 1. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
ON MY FLIGHT from Stockholm to London, I had the tremendous good fortune to be seated next to Mathias Soderback, an investment manager from Finland.
Well not exactly Finland!
Mathias, 43, partnered with two children, explained to me – in a conversation that lasted the entire 2-1/2 hour flight – that he lives on an island in the Baltic Sea, Oland. While it’s technically part of Finland, it is culturally Swedish.
Its inhabitants identify as Swedes.
Mathias did live in Stockholm for 15 years.
My exchange with Mathias was about the most intense of the trip. He knew something about everything … in most cases more than I did! But I was not intimidated; he is so engaging, there was not a moment of silence the entire time.
He has traveled many, many places. Has skied in the Indian Himalayas; took a round-the-world trip in the 1990s and even stopped in Los Angeles; worked as a ski bum in Austria in his youth.
He told me his partner has lived in South Africa for eight years, in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, my former home; they are planning a visit soon.
AS I EMERGED FROM the Green Park tube station in London after the flight from Stockholm, I found myself in the middle of a protest march supporting Israel.
I jumped out into the street to shoot video – and the next moment a motorcycle contingent appeared in my view-finder.
The view from the top of the ski jumping hill just outside of Falun, Sweden gives one a sense of the (tiny) scale of the town. Your raconteur takes in the view. Photo by Bjorn Palenius. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
You can see it in the video.
The final shot is of that marvelous example of Gothic architecture, Kings College at Cambridge University. It was a glorious spring day, but the public was not allowed inside because final examinations were in progress. What a pity.
If you do not agree after this that travel broadens the mind, then state your case in the comments below.
And if you do agree, take a trip tomorrow – or next week or next month!
We are never too old to learn new things; when we stop learning we may as well die.