med SunTrip varje dag!

Five different countries. Forty people. Two choirs. One Bus. It was epic.

Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, and Ireland. All in one day. All within a 20 km radius of Lund. How is that possible, you may ask? Well, my friends, in Skåne, anything is possible. Believe it.

Gudruns Kören (my choir) and Torne Kören (our sister choir) had some money to blow. So, naturally, we took rented a charter bus and drove around for an afternoon. Naturally.

The theme of the day was Sällskapsresan, which is a Swedish comedy film series about Swedish tourists on organized vacations with a hokey company called “SunTrip”. According to the English Wikipedia, Sällskapsresan “has reached cult status in Sweden, and a vaste number of the swedish people have seen it, and many of the lines in the movie is known and used daily by many swedes.” Maybe it’s a bit like “The Big Lebowski” or “Top Gun” or “Napoleon Dynamite.” We non-Swedes got to watch the first film at a choir-organized screening. Basically the running joke of it is that no matter how much the the dorky Swedish vacationers want to escape Sweden for a while, they will never stop being Swedes. Take for example the traveler who brings his roller-blade skis to the Canary Islands, or the fact that the hotel they stay at is called “Nuevo Estocolomo” (New Stockholm). Fortunately enough for the tourists Nuevo Esctolomo serves Swedish coffee.

Even more fortunate was that  this weekend was the weekend that my friend Isabella (who is studying in Berlin at the moment) decided to visit Sweden. She pretty much stepped off the train and into the bizarre word of Swedish student amusement and comedy films. The poor lass.

The first stop was on our own personal SunTrip was Lübeck, Germany. Which of course, wasn’t really Lübeck, Germany but rather Jarikborg, Sweden. Jarikborg is a ‘visionary’ housing community built in the middle of agricultural land in southern Sweden. The idea of Jarikborg is to build a safe, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing urban community. The city is built with the Hanseatic (Hansa) cities of Northern Germany in mind, and the architecture is unlike most Scandinavian traditional or modern buildings. Walking through Jarikborg is an awful lot like walking through a full-size doll house city, if that makes any sense whatsoever. And, as if Jarikborg wasn’t bizarre enough on it’s own, in the town square we happened upon a bunny rabbit jumping contest which involved small children walking bunnies on leashes. I kid you not. I told you anything is possible in Skåne…

Because it would just be unnatural not to add to the strangeness of Jarikborg, our choir decided to assemble for a spontaneous performance in the town square. We sang a beautiful traditional Swedish pslam called “Sommarpslam” or sometimes “En Vänlig Grönskas.” We must of been quite pleasant, because a woman offered to pay us if we continued to sing. Sadly, we couldn’t take her up on the offer, the bus, and our next destination, was waiting. SunTrip has to stay on schedule, you know.

Next up was Paris, France. Which of course, wasn’t really Paris, France, but rather Malmö, Sweden. The Paris of Skåne, perhaps? Turning Torso (the only skyscraper in Malmö) makes a rather good substitute for the Eiffel Tour, and we celebrated our arrival in Paris with brie, bageuttes, and some vin. We performed again, this time singing “Näckens Polska” – a traditional Gotland folk song about a water spirit who is tempted by the sea god’s daughter. The melody of this song is somewhat haunting, and it seemed even more so as we performed it in the harbor air on the shore of östersjön.

Next up on our Euro SunTrip: Spain. That’s right, La Costa del Sol. And the sun was even shining so much that I almost forgot we where really in Lomma, Sweden! However the water was still cold, which served as somewhat of a bittersweet reminder. “Det var precis som medelhavet, fast kallare!” *

Last but most certainly not least, we traveled to the green hills of Limerick Ireland.Which of course, was actually a grassy, hilly area just north of Lund. We enjoyed a picturesque hilltop fika (means coffee and cookie snack), raced through dandelion fields, and took silly pictures.

We made it back to Lund, and assemble in Kalmars Nation for a sittning, which is a Swedish student tradition that involves sitting down at long tables and enjoying a three-course meal together, all the while singing and toasting and entertaining each other. By the end of the night the effects of jetlag (after all we had traveled all around Europe in one day) had begun to take their toll and home seemed like a good choice. What a day.

Let’s just say that the 50 kr (about $6.25) bus ride was about the cheapest full-Euro trip I could have paid for. Who needs Paris when you’ve got Gudruns kören?!?!

More posting on Isabella’s Sweden visit to come later. Heads up!

——

* O my goodness, now I am referencing Swedish pop culture. If you guess this one, I will be extremely impressed. Even if you are Swedish. Except if you are Lena. Because I think she’d know it…

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