Monday, June 5, 2017

Scandinavia 2017 - Welcome to Sweden

Sitting near the rear of the plane we were among the last to leave. We straggled, jet lagged and sleep deprived, through the debris laden plane. The vehicle was, in a word, trashed. Blankets, pillows, garbage and empty water bottles were strewn about looking like the aftermath of a cross between a riot and a rock concert. I almost expected to see a stray, single shoe or discarded empty hash pipe among the messy, swirling heaps.

Leaving the jetway and entering the immigration area was a further descent into chaos. There were lines, of a sort, if people standing as much as 3 and 4 across could be considered a line. Clumps of humanity massed in front of too few immigration agents who were being very, well, the kindest word for it was thorough. Invasive is another term that comes to mind. We, somehow, got into the slowest "thing that resembled a line". People were standing at the window for 10 minutes or more before having their passports stamped and being allowed to proceed.

Eventually my turn came.

"Are you traveling alone?"

"No, with my husband, he's next in line."

Have you been to Europe before."


The immigration officer looked me up and down then began to flip through the blank pages of my recently renewed passport.

"I just had my passport renewed."

I attempted not to sound too anxious or defensive.

"What is the purpose of your visit?"


"Is Sweden the only country you will be in?"

"No we are also going to Denmark."

"What is the date and time of your departure/"

"The 24th and I forget what time."

I didn't want it to seem like I was being evasive about the time. By this time I almost expected him to ask, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" (For those that don't understand this reference goggle "MacCarthy Black List") He picked up his stamp. I held my breath. He slammed it down onto my passport, with a tad more force than I thought necessary and yelled "Next!" I hightailed it through the doors. My husband followed seconds behind. After quickly verifying that he was with me the same immigration officer that had just held my feet to the fire stamped his passport in a matter of seconds.

After well over an hour we were now free to roam about Sweden without fear of official reprisal.

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