Saturday, August 23, 2014

Destination Uppsala - The journey begins

Pack your things and move here.

Like seriously.

The weather is crap. I admit. But i expected it to be worse actually. It's the 23rd of August and i'm sitting here in my cozy new house preparing for a beer in the Norrlands Nation. And i am reflecting on what i saw so far today. Let's make a recap of what to expect.

I sat there on the single-gate terminal of Kalamata, waiting for flight 438 to commence boarding. Around me there were mostly swedish people, exactly what i expected of them too. Polite, low-profile but very loving with their children. There was also a guy that looked like the last samurai making changes in a 3d house in some sort of program. Blondes, blue eyes, generally skinny and tall.

I chatted a bit with some greek people i met there and i did not even think that the moment i stepped my foot outside i was an immigrant, that there was the point of no return.

The aircraft was an Airbus 319 with around 138 passengers and was like 99% full. Pretty impressive for a town of 60000 people like Kalamata.

I sat next to a swedish couple that were cuddling during the whole flight while i was watching outside the window, watching half of the Avengers movie, eating some half-baked wannabe bread with strawberry, listening to some music.

When i heard about the upcoming landing i dropped everything i was doing and was staggered from what i witnessed from the window.

Breathtaking landscapes, vast forests with tall trees, a lung of fresh air and escape from normality, so wild yet so tamed and peaceful. There were no wolves in this picture, apart from a few ravaged pieces of land attacked by mankind.

Then we landed at Arlanda Airport. It reminded me of an older version of Eleutherios Venizelos airport of Greece. I saw a big Ethiopian airliner and thought i would be scared to fly with it. Our aircraft actually made a very annoying noise from the left engine, but the flight was one of the smoothest i have been in. Thanks Cap.

I went at terminal 5 to pick up my luggage, they arrived around 10 minutes in and i was the only one left since i had to exchange my money into SEK from Euros. The old lady in the cashier seemed annoyed and confounded that i had only an ID card and not a passport.

I took the wrong turn, fired up my trusty tablet, sent a few messages and went outside to the welcome committee. Two girls, one swedish and one German, joined later by an Australian one. I took the necessary info, got to the cafe next and picked up my first Swedish filter coffee for 35 SEK. Quite cheap for an airport compared to our prices if you want my opinion.

My first fika!
So i met two exchange students, Phillip from Singapore and Maddie from Midlands in England. We had some friendly banter and then proceeded to the van that would take us to one of the nations to get started. They call the vans shuttles actually.

We got in and there we were, like 10 greeks, waiting in line for an internet account (which i did not need), a temporary ID student card, some information, a welcome package and a telephone sim card.

I signed up for the shuttle to take me home, then went a small walk into town to pick up a bus refillable card. You cant buy tickets here, nor pay with cash. So buy a ticket!

The town was staggering, the architecture of the buildings, giving a medieval look to the town. The streets were clean, bike lanes in both ways, a couple of beggars a stark contrast to the misery of Athens.

The whole town is like this. Breathtaking.
I bought my ticket, went back to the nation, and got in with some people into the shuttle to drive us home. All but me disembarked in Flogsta. I only remember one Bulgarian woman and one from Australia, Perth, where my favorite band, Pendulum resides. A dude called Alexander was driving us around, he is originated from a small swedish town of 5000 people, but he also has greek roots, from his uncles side methinks.

He told me some stories about the Flogsta scream and how it was used to relieve stress from the exams every Wednesday at 10 pm, but now they do it every night, while he also made fun of the stress factor since everything is way too "xalara" here.

So he dropped me at my new house, where an old lady with memory issues opened the door and had no recollection of my impending arrival. She was polite and nice, i showed her an email that confirmed my room and started unpacking. A nice room, a clean house.

Now i m all set, about to go for a beer. Because i can.

Laters! Welcome to Uppsala!

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