The tour took us by two trains, including the stunning Flåm railway, by boat, and finally a hair raising bus ride down the scariest cliff skirting road I have ever experienced in my life, I think it may have been easier to just lower the bus down the side of the mountain by crane…. that bus driver was amazing. All in all the tour took around 9 hours from start to finish, and was the perfect way to experience a small slice of the fjords.
Can you imagine living in one of these tiny little towns in the middle of the fjords? It would be amazing to wake up each morning to such a view … well at least in the summer time anyway!
There were spectacular waterfalls:
And beautiful views in all directions:
The trip was just as amazing as I imagined it would be, and all I hope for now is the chance to return again, and explore more fjords in Norway.
This hilarious video on Swedishness was doing the rounds a few weeks ago. It’s got it all: equality (even for the Prime Minister), consensus, liberal attitudes to sex and religion and of course the famous paternity leave.
Today here in Sweden is Midsummer Eve – a day spent dancing around a maypole beautifully decorated with flowers, singing songs about small frogs, eating new potatoes, herring and strawberry cream cakes, and of course, drinking and enjoying the never-ending sunshine. We will be spending it with some of our lovely international friends from Iceland, Serbia and Sweden.
Here are some interesting links I came across this week:
A study by scientists from the University of Oxford and Edinburgh reveal that most European men likely originate from hunter gatherers, rather than farmers from the Near East, as was previously thought.
In Finland, every new mother who receives pre-natal care receives one of these amazing boxes packed with beautiful baby clothes and supplies. The box comes with a mattress and can even be used as a baby bed.
The far-right Golden Dawn movement has expanded to part of the 300,000 strong Greek diaspora in Melbourne, Australia – although there have been attempts by some prominent members of the Australian Greek community to prevent Golden Dawn MP’s from being granted visas to enter Australia on a planned visit later this year.
At the moment I am teaching myself how to program in R because I find data visualization a much more powerful way to get information across – spatial.ly is one of the best websites out there.
And to finish it off in Midsummer spirit – here is a fairly tongue in cheek video about the day that seems to have been made by the Swedish tourism website:
Now that I’m back in Sweden I thought I’d share a little snippet of the expressive Swedish language (why use a sentence when one word is enough!) that has been doing the rounds on Facebook for the last few days.
The last one – ‘Du’ literally ‘you’ (not even ‘hey you’) is something I’ve heard quite a bit here and remember the first time when I heard it looking a little strangely at the women who shouted it to her husband in a shop – if only I knew sooner that it was totally normal!
I’ve no idea where this photo is from – but if you have seen the original source just comment below or email me and I’ll add it in!
Go Back to Where You Came From is the title of an excellent Australian TV series that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in immigration in general, and asylum seekers in particular. Especially if you are one of the many who wish they really would go back to where they came from.
I was reminded of this show today as I saw that the rights have been sold for this to be produced in a number of countries around the world including: Sweden, Germany, France, Norway, the Netherlands, South Africa, Canada and the USA. The Danish version will be shown soon and is called Send Dem Hjem (Send Them Home).
I really recommend you watch the Australian series previews here and here.
Basically Season 1 follows 6 ordinary Australians who cover the spectrum of opinions on asylum seekers: from Adam “Instead of harbouring them, we should just put them straight on a plane and send them back” to Gleny “I think we have the capacity to take more refugees”, and all opinions in between.
They begin by visiting refugees in their homes: a family who was resettled by UNHCR and a house with refugees who arrived in Australia by boat but who had since been given refugee status. The group is put on a refugee boat to experience how the journey to Australia might be like, flown to Malaysia – a middle country for refugees on their journey to Australia. Half the group visits a refugee camp in Kenya to see how life is like for those waiting to be resettled overseas, the other half visits Jordan and meets with the family of some of the refugees they first met in Australia. Finally they go all the way back to two sending countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.
There is a strong feeling in Australia, reinforced by the media, of refugees, or more specifically ‘boat people’, as ‘queue jumpers’, coming to Australia for economic reasons, skipping ahead of people who might be in more need, and taking advantage of public funding once they get here.
One of the things Go Back to Where You Came From has achieved is to show the general public the human side of the refugee story, to touch on why people flee, the long and arduous journey they go on, and the challenges they face even when they arrive in a safe country like Australia. All the statistics in the world can’t change a persons mind in the same way first hand experience can, an opportunity to empathise and the beginning of understanding how it must be to be in the shoes of a refugee.
When it’s all over, it lets you ask yourself the question ‘if my family was in danger, would I jump on a boat and try to come to Australia’ in a slightly more honest and more informed way.