The Barrister Fall 2017 - 21

w w w.BERKSBAR.org

In the center of the city there is a large public park, Slottsskogen,
that has a free zoo, but even the animals were on holiday. I found
a maypole there and met some revelers who told me that if I
put seven flowers under my pillow on Midsummer Eve, I would
dream about the person I would marry. Yes, I tried it, but no, I
won't tell.
3. "Midnight Sun" does not guarantee "sunny."
From Gothenburg I made the trek to Kiruna, compressing
what would have been a fifteen-hour train ride into 90 minutes
by plane. As excited as I was to experience 36 straight hours of
sunshine, I wasn't prepared for Kiruna. Kiruna is located in the
Swedish Lapland and is the northernmost town in the country at
90 miles north of the Arctic Circle. At the center is Kiirunavaara,
a massive iron ore mine that sustains the town economically but
is also causing it to sink as old mineshafts collapse underneath
the streets. The solution has been to relocate entire buildings to
areas that aren't at risk of sinking, and I could see several homes
"up on blocks" as it were, waiting to be moved. The experience
was nothing short of eerie. It was June 24, but the temperature
was in the low 50s, and the sky was overcast and spitting rain.
The sun, from behind a shroud of clouds, never moved from the
same spot in the sky. Thanks to Midsummer Day, the place was a
veritable ghost town. I roamed the empty streets until I found the
only open restaurant in the area, a pizzeria where I treated myself
to a reindeer meat pie. I'd intended to stay up all night, but as the
hours dragged on, there was nobody to talk to and the sun never
budged, and I started to wonder if my airplane hadn't gone down
somewhere in the wilderness and I was stuck in an eternal damp,
chilly purgatory. Fortunately, the hallucinations stopped when I
returned to the tiny airport for my flight to Stockholm.
4. Swedes don't talk to their neighbors, but they might talk
to you.
The last three days of the trip returned me to cheerful as
Stockholm was not only visually stunning, but there were also
things to do and people to meet. The city itself is built on top of
fourteen islands, and I stayed in the central Old Town ("Gamla
Stan") near the Stockholm Palace. The Swedish flag hoisted above
the palace meant that the king was present and doing business
(the royal family's official residence is located outside the city),
but Sweden has a constitutional monarchy, and the seat of the
Riksdag, or parliament, was located adjacent to the palace. Due
to the abundance of waterways, I took in the city views from an
amphibious bus and made new friends over beers in Gamla Stan.
Although I found people to be generally friendly and willing to
talk, I learned this might not be the case between Swedes. It's
somewhat of a national joke how people avoid talking to their
neighbors and will peek out their doors to make sure nobody is
around when leaving home. If someone is out there, they will wait
until the coast is clear. The social anxiety can be so intense that
one guy literally told me that, if he could own a gun like we can
in America, and he ran into his neighbor waiting for their shared
elevator, he "would shoot him and say 'that's my ride,'" though I
like to think he was probably exaggerating.
What was the verdict? The diversity of my experiences in these
four cities still amazes me and I can tell I'll be returning. After all,
with so much daylight I never got to see the other thing I knew
about Sweden: the Northern Lights.

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The Barrister Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Barrister Fall 2017

The Barrister Fall 2017 - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksCountyBar/BerksBarrister_Fall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksCountyBar/Berksbarrister_Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksCountyBar/Berksbarrister_Winter2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksCountyBar/BerksBarrister-Summer2017
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