Day 96 & 97

Day 96 | Saturday June 18

So last night I arrived in the darkness and had no idea where I was. When I went outside this morning I was amazed by the beauty of this place. I stayed in a house right in the middle of a forrest with a view over valley with huge windmills on the other side.

Madde lived there with her husband Lennart, her parents stayed in a small house outside and Lennart’s parents stay here all summer in a caravan. Madde works as a paramedic and already has big plans when she will retire. She hopes to have the house completely renovated by then so they can enjoy it to the fullest.

Being in this place made me feel very relaxed, I went for a short walk in their garden/ forest and the family was very nice. One of the grandparents kept speaking Swedish to me which was very sweet and funny. In the garden we also found a snake, the most venomous of Sweden. It was about 30cm and a bite will sting you and could kill you when in bad health. 

After lunch I departed for the next destination. Now I could see the roads I’ve driven through last night and it was gorgeous. What I didn’t notice on my way there is that I drove very close to a cliff and could have just fallen into that.

My next stop was Guesthouse Eleven in Arvika. Again a guesthouse run by Dutchies, home sweet home. Brenda and Michel bought on old school 11 years ago and renovated it all by themselves, it took them 2 years. The heating is provided by the warmth from the mountains. There are 2 pipes going 180 meters deep into the ground which pump up the warmth.

Brenda is the niece of an former football mate from me in Holland so through him they heard about Plug Me In.

When I arrived there they had some Dutch friends over and we sat there for a while and had some house brewed beers. Strong ones though, they had me in a few minutes. 

Michel and Brenda are world explorers too, they have a Land Rover and drove it around Africa and Europe. They had some crazy stories about their adventures.

Day 97 | Sunday June 19

This morning I enjoyed an excellent breakfast. I’m a sucker for buffets and at Guesthouse Eleven they had the perfect one: croissants, Swedish bread, jams, yoghurt and pie to finish. Around 11 I said goodbye to Brenda & Michel and left to Oslo, a 160km drive. When I passed to Norwegian border I already saw 3 Tesla’s. I already knew that I would see a lot of electric cars in this country. Because of incentives and tax profits they are cheaper then normal cars. Not only did I see Tesla’s but also Leaf’s, I3’s, Soul’s and even I-Mievs, that was a surprise as it’s a really small car and with the cold weather in the winter you can drive far in this one.

When I stopped in Norway for a short brake I found out I’ve forgotten to give the key from my room at the guesthouse return. Bad luck, I’ve got to send it back now.

I arrived in Oslo around 2 and was supposed to be at my host around 5 so I worked in the car. My host name is Øyvind and he lives close to Oslo’s city center. He is an EV driver and converted an old Citroen 2CV into fully electric, he is going to show me that later. I just spoke to Øyvind shortly as he had to go to the school closing of his son, he has 2. Around 8 he would return with his 2 children and wife. He left a bake-off pizza for me.

When they returned they gave me a lot of sightseeing tips for the country and explained me how it is to drive electric here. It seems like a party.

Day 94 | The sun always shines in Karlstad

I enjoyed 2 very relaxing days at the B&B. Marnix and Joyce took good care of me and I felt very welcome.

Today I needed to travel 260km and I had the feeling that it would be a long day. I left in the morning and was planning to recharge in Karlstad at the Ikea, again. Here in Sweden I always choose for this place as they have good chargingstations and free WiFi. It was rainy today and Karlstad became out of reach. I did a pitstop in Kristinehamn where they had 2 chargingstations. It was not a regular one where you could just plug in and charge but it had a manual. From this I understood that you had to send an SMS with the text ‘charge’. An hatch would automatically open and I attached the cable with the car, nothing happened. As I didn’t know what to do I asked an passerby if he could help me translate the instructions. Apparently you had to close the hatch first but that also wouldn’t start charging. There was an info number and the nice man would translate it for me. A robot told because it was weekend we had to call an different number. A nice lady on the other side of the line would tell the mechanic to get in touch with me and 2 minutes later I had him on the phone. He was on his way to the office and from there he could look into the system what was wrong. While waiting for his phone calls I tried sending a couple of texts to the number and it started charging. After a while it stopped and was hoping it would be enough to reach Karlstad.

With 6% left on the display I would reach the Ikea in Karlstad but sadly enough this time there was only a Type 2 charging station. For every EV driver this is perfect but I was a but sad as they normally don’t communicate with my car, so was the case this time. I looked around for other plugs but there was none around. I was getting a bit desperate as the next charging station was 10km away and couldn’t reach that. I stopped at the closest house I could find and asked the people if I could use their plug for 20 mins so I could reach the next stop. 

That was no problem at all and they were a bit surprised that I was driving all the way to Australia and doing that without money (duh, who would do such a thing anyway?). So they even invited me to have a bbq with them. So awesome that these nice Swedes shared their energy with me, not just food but also their stories. Oh yeah and also Swedish chewing tobacco, which was also an… interesting experience.

They told me that there is a Swedish saying “the sun always shines in Karlstad” which seemed to be very true, especially in a social way. If you want to know the scientifically explanation: because Karlstad is located next to a lake the wind blows the clouds aways which makes room for the sunlight.

Around 9 it was time to go to the station as I still needed to charge quickly and reach Tossë were Madde was waiting for me. I already let her know that I would arrive fairly late and that was no problem.

Around 1.15 I left the highway and the navigation send me into the forrest. I was not really sure if I was right here, there were no houses at all. After 5km the navigation told me I arrived and I stood next to a house but there were no lights, I texted Madde and she told me I had to continue driving. It was dark and a few miles away I could see a small light coming towards me, spooky stuff. It appeared to be Madde who came in my direction. We drove to here house, still had no idea how it looked like, we had some tea and round 2.30 I went to bed.

Day 93 | To the countryside

Day 93 Thursday June 16

I set the alarm at 7.30, which is still pretty late for the Swedes. Their working hours are different as to other countries. Because in the winter it gets dark around 3pm they start and finish a bit earlier.
Filip, a friend of Mikael invited me to come to a food workshop at the University in Stockholm. Filip told me it was better to park at Misha’s place (where I slept a few days before) because it was free there and then walk 15 minutes to the Uni. Unfortunately I got stuck in traffic and it when I arrived I found out it was a 50 minutes walk and would be at the workshop way to late. I decided to skip it.

Today I would leave Stockholm and go to Färna, about 200km from the city. It was raining a lot and I lost range. When it rains to streets become wet and the car has les friction. With a normal car you would hardly tell the difference but with an electric car you can easily loose 20% of range. On a 200km max range that is a lot. In Västerås I stopped at an Ikea to charge the car.

Around 5pm I arrived in Farna but when the navigation told me I arrived at the right place I was parked in front of an apartment. I knew tonight I would be staying at a Bed & Breakfast and I knew how it looked like because I checked pictures on their website, this was not the place. I called Marnix, one of the owners and he explained me that their I needed to be in a different town which was part of the municipality where they had the same street name. Bad luck for me as I had just 6% battery left. I started driving back and it was a long road with only trees. After a few km’s I came by a crossing with 2 houses, I had just 2% left and was not sure if I could make it. I knocked on a door (they don’t seem to have doorbells in Sweden) and explained I was in desperate need for some electricity. The woman didn’t really understand me and couldn’t offer me a plug. As at the other house no-one opened the door I had to drive further, it was an exciting ride and with 0% on the display I luckily made it to B&B Farna’s Hjarta.

Joyce & Marnix are 2 Dutch people. Compared to Holland Sweden is considerably cheaper, the social services are better organized and because of the comparable culture it is easy to integrate. That’s why many Dutchies migrated here and this probably explains the reason why I stayed with so many fellow country mans here in Sweden. My hosts came at a point in their lives that they where reconsidering what they were doing and felt that it was time for a move. Having a connection with Sweden for a few years they decided that this was the right place. They started this B&B and have been doing very well. They got involved in a program for sustainable tourism and have been developing the accommodation until it reached their level of expectation. They learned sustainability is not only about reducing waste and producing green energy but also in the hospitality towards their guests. With their efforts they received many awards and even the 3rd best ranked B&B in Sweden according to Zoover. A more detailed review about the B&B will follow later on.

Marnix gives lectures about sustainable tourism in Sweden. They have a fulltime job of running the B&B but Joyce still has the time for a side-job. In the summer she runs an ice cream truck. She was the very first to do this in Sweden and the locals needed some time before they understood what it was.

I could spend two nights at this great location. The next day I went for a run around the lakes and through the forests and this was seriously one of the most beautiful runs I ever did. The rest of the day I locked myself in and worked. I find it hard to get the right timing for this project, every day is different and whenever I have the time to work I do so but I still have reports to produce from a few weeks ago. Because today I had no meetings this was the perfect time.

Day 92 | I heart Stockholm

Day 92 Tuesday June 14

Today I had two meetings, the first one at Plantagon. They are building a vertical greenhouse and it’s quite impressive. In 2050 about 80% of the world population is expected to live in the city, that’s why food production needs to be integrated into city infrastructure. They are planning to start building in Linkoping and the structure will be about 25 meters high. One side (which is facing south) will be the greenhouse, the other side an office. An extended review of this meeting will follow.

Later I had a meeting with Martin from Grona Bilister, an association founded already in 1994 which aims to make Swedish transport more friendly to the environment.

My hosts for today lived a bit outside of the city, in Boo. Again it where Dutchies, Tanja, Roy and their three children Noor, Auke and Mette. The kids are born here and they speak Swedish with each other, with their parents Dutch. It’s funny that their Dutch has a Swedish tongue. 
Their house was located on a hill with a view over the sea, probably one of the nicest houses I stayed so far. The house was just completed, the area here is rocky so to lay the foundation they exploded it with dynamite.

Roy works for Ericcson so that’s why they moved here in 2001. Tanja works here as a teacher. I went for a walk with Roy, at the shore he pointed at a huge mansion in the hills. From the size and looks I thought it would be from the owner of Ikea but apparently this is a home to refugees.

Day 93 Wednesday June 15

Exactly 3 months ago today I started this journey. So far I traveled 12.000km with my car, saw 9 countries and met I don’t know how many people. I enjoy every day, wherever I come people are nice and welcoming and luckily I still not encountered big problems. A couple of nights in the car doesn’t make you feel like driving home. At the moment I’m going towards the Northcape and from there to Russia. That’s where the adventure really starts.

Back to today. Whenever I’m in a capital or big city I try to do at least one day of sightseeing. Tanja gave me a card for public transport so I could get there easily. Stockholm is a beautiful city. It consists of many islands who all have their own style. In Kungsholmen I visited the City Hall, each year the award ceremony for the Nobel prize takes place here and many VIP’s from over the world fly in to see this. My favorite part is is Ostermalm, an area with Paris like buildings. Gamlastan is the island in the middle and the oldest part of the town. I stopped in almost every street to take a picture.

 

 

Day 90 & 91 | Around Stockholm

Day 90 Sunday March 12

My host Aryan is a huge car fanatic. He has many cars, most of them Citroen’s and he converts them so they run on ethanol. He has plans to make his old Citroen electric and already has a line of batteries ready. He knows everything about cars and with his knowledge he could even tell me details about my own car, which was useful.

Around noon I drove to another part of Stockholm where I met Mikael. He invited me because he wanted to teach me about the human part of sustainability. Mikael is a yoga instructor, I thought he was my age but actually was 10 years older, because his state of mind he looks younger too (at least that’s what he told me). Being around Mikael makes you feel really relaxed and he is a very open, intelligent and friendly guy.

As the Euro has started we decided to watch a match but first we did a 30 minute yoga workout. We did some exercises with breathing techniques and after completion I felt completely zen.

Day 91 Monday March 13

The Dutch embassy in Stockholm invited me over, they are based in a very hip area in the city and I could park my car behind the gates. I was in touch with Frank already a few weeks, he works at the Embassy and made a list of interesting initiatives to visit in Sweden. He and some colleagues welcomed me and later the ambassador came by for a talk to. She was very interested and had some tips to travel through the country. As it was lunchtime we went to a local bar and they plugged me in with food their, great people!

I really want to see more of Stockholm but as I had work to do I decided to drive the car outside of the city and work from there.

In the evening I would meet Misha, Mikael hooked me up with him and I only knew his address and name. Apparently he lived in an student apartment and as I didn’t know his lastname I couldn’t find his room. I checked every door on every floor of the apartment (about 8) but his name was not on any. I contacted Mikael and after a few minutes Misha’s roommate showed up, Misha was late from work. It was around 6 and knew that Sweden was playing against Ireland. The football atmosphere in Sweden is very different to The Netherlands. Back home two weeks before the tournament all the streets and houses would turn orange but here it’s not like that. Not even many people watch the game. I watched the first half alone and later Misha would join me.

Misha was just like Mikael and spiritual guy. He traveled around the world and while Couchsurfing in Holland he met a guy who inspired him to become vegan.

Misha likes to cook but not just for himself, a few years ago he started cooking for people in the neighborhood who where interested and soon it will involve into eating parties where 40 people showed up, giving him the nickname ‘The Lappi’s Chef’, named after the area he is living in. Now he doesn’t cook large scale anymore but still is involved in Stockholm’s food business. He collects vegetables which almost are to be thrown away and cooks for refugees.

Day 89 | The road to Stockholm

When I checked the car in the morning I found out he wasn’t charged completely, only till 60%. Probably the fuse broke as it wouldn’t charge when I re-plugged the cable. It was a downer as I had to drive 200km to Stockholm today. I went back to Lisa’s house (an hour walk) to check for other charging stations around. In the city they where only found in paid parking garages so that was no option. Outside of the center there where a few and the best option was, again, the ikea. While driving there I crossed a charging station which was not on the map and wanted to check that out. It appeared to be a free one and should charge on 8KWh, which was perfect.

The day I spend at Lisa’s house to work. Lisa was away for a biking competition. Around 6pm I left her house to pick up the car and it was charged 85%, so instead of 8KWh it charged 3KWh, it was not enough to reach Stockholm but I already prepared for this and had a few back-up options. In Vagnhärad there were 2 stations. The first one didn’t work with my car. The second one was special. It was a station with 2 plugs: a Type 2 21KWh and a Type 2 3.5KWh. Wat was special about it was that my cable fitted only in 1 one of the sockets, while they should be exactly the same. Surprising experience. The station didn’t communicate good with the car either. It would charge for a few minutes, then it stopped and would charge again. It’s because of my custom made car doesn’t have to software for all the stations.

I explored the town and behind a supermarket I saw a press container. This got my attention as I know these containers are always powered with a 32A CEE plug, which means high voltage power and super fast charging. As it was already 10pm and didn’t want to arrive in the morning at my next hosts I decided to be a bit rude. I moved the car to the back of the supermarket, pulled out the cable and plugged it into my car. It worked! A lesson in life: sometimes when you want to proceed in life you need to take some risk. Now I was charging and within 1.5 hours it gained about 30%. Which was enough to reach Stockholm.

Around 11.30 my navigation told me I reached destination. I was not sure where their house was and when I stepped out of the car to have a look, a woman on her bike approached me yelling “Hoiiii” which is Dutch for hello. I knew I arrived right. Their house was a bit hidden between other houses. What caught my eye was that they had a lot of cars at the front of their house. Old cars mainly. There was a reason for that which I tell you tomorrow.

My hosts where Aryan and Lena. Aryan is a Dutch guy who’s been living here since 1987, a year after I was born. His wife Lena is Swedish. We had a short talk and some food and then went to bed, it was late.

IMG_1202-2

Sometimes in you want to get further in life you need to be a bit cheeky.

Day 88 | Inspiration at Scania

Last night we tried to charge the car at Tom and Els’ place. Normally charging on 16A is allright, definitely in countries with a strong energy grid. However after a few minutes some lights popped out and we found that one of the fuses broke. We reset the fuse and tried charging on 10A, also that didn’t work. We switched to another group and with an extension cord we plugged in at the garden. From my sleeping room I could see the car’s dashboard light and checked it regularly. After half an hour I would check again and saw the dashboard light went out. I changed Tom’s extension cord with my own because it’s an industrial one. I thought it worked.

At breakfast next morning Tom told me that when he got up during the night he saw it was not charging. The car charged to 69% which was not enough to reach the destination for today which was Linköping. But that were worries for later.

Scania

With Tom I drove to Scania, his workplace. Scania is a carmaker specialized in trucks. The factory in Oskarshamn produces the cabines of the trucks, about 300 a day. When finished they are transported to Zwolle (Netherlands) or Angers (France) for assembly.
I was welcomed by few of Tom’s colleagues and journalists. They where all very interested in what I was doing. You can find one of the interviews here.

They took me inside and gave a presentation about what the company is doing on the terms of sustainability and e-mobility. And they are actually being very innovative. The company has the goal to become carbon-neutral, and for a carmaker that is something you hear not quite often. Of course this is not realized tomorrow but small steps eventually have to lead there. They are not just focussing on making their heave duty vehicles electric but trying to find alternative solutions, which I found very interesting.

Platooning
One of the steps is ‘platooning’, automated driving for fuel saving. An intelligent system makes trucks communicate with each other. On the highways trucks will form a line and they will automatically keep the ideal distance. By doing this the aerodynamical drag reduces significantly which saves fuel. Even the truck which leads the platoon becomes more energy efficient because normally the truck will drag vacuumed air behind it. A recent test where they drove from Södertälje (Sweden) to Rotterdam (NL) proved that it saved fuel consumption by 1% compared to driving by yourself.

Electric highway
My favorite part was the electric highway. It’s a normal highway but with electric wires running over it. The trucks are mounted with a system that connects to the wires and receives electric energy from it. It looks like a trolly but the trucks can disconnect from the grid so they can overtake or leave the highway. When it disconnects from the wires it starts running on the internal combustion engine.
In Germany there is a testtrack and a second one is planned to be build in Sweden. Watch the video to see how it works.

The factory
It was my first time in a large-scale factory like this. There are 2.500 people working in many different roles. The factory is divided in different areas: logistics, press-shop, body shop, paint shop and the assembly line, where the magic happens. All the cabines that are produced here are customer-specific.
Also in the production process they think about the environment. For example the painting process of the trucks has changed significantly over the years. Normally the cars are dipped in to a basin with wet paint and then dried which creates a lot of gasses. At Scania they have a more cleaner process, they use powder. In a closed room the cabins are electrical charged and a robot sprays the powder on the material. 85% sticks to the material and the other 15% is collected and re-used. In this process all the powder is used.

So far most of the companies I visited where small-scale. A company with the size like Scania encounters way other issues then the smaller one so to hear from them what they do about sustainability and e-mobility was seriously interesting.

Hit the road

The end-destination for today was Linkoping where I should meet Lisa. It was still early and I had some time to do sightseeing. Tom told me I should really should go see Stensjö. It’s a tiny village close to Oskarshamn which is very traditional Swedish. The road to there was already a joy to drive. I passed fields with huge buffels and many sheep. The fields where separated from the road with wooden fences which look really cool. In Stensjö there where dozens of cute stables, farms and houses. See the pictures below.

Then I needed to find a place to charge. Els made me a list of charging stations in Vastervik. There where some 220v sockets. In Sweden it’s common to have these as they use it to charge the accu of a normal car in extremely cold weather. When I reached 60% I was hoping that it would be enough to do the remaining 100km. Unfortunately it started raining and had to stop one more time to charge. Luckily the cities are dense and you can find these normal stations everywhere.

Linköping

Around 8.30pm I arrived in Linköping with 3% battery left. Lisa was already waiting for me, I met her 7 years ago in Australia and it was great to see her again. She lives right in the middle of the city so we had to drive a few kilometers to a free chargingspot. On the way back we talked a lot about what we did since Australia.
Lisa finished here study and works for a NGO which helps children in need. She really enjoys the outdoors. No alarm clocks, no computers and just being in the nature without any obligations is what gives her energy. We had a lot of fun watching her photo-albums from our time in Ozzie. It seems like such a short time ago but it’s amazing how we changed (or become old but I found that hard to say).

 

Day 87 | Quiet Oskarshamn

12 hours. That is definitely the longest sleep I had this trip. Around 9 I had breakfast with Pieter who was about to go the a meeting. I stayed there to work.
I really wanted to interview someone from the city of Växjö today. Växjö is interesting, they where the first city in the world to set the goal to become independent of fossil fuels by 2030. The heating in the city comes from forrest residues and 35% is generated from biomass.

Pieter gave me some contacts from people he knew within the city’s government and I tried to contact them for an interview, unfortunately it was to short notice.
Because I was charging on a socket which is normally for vacuum cleaners I set the charging on 10A, which should be safe. Around 9 in the morning I checked if it was still charging and it was on 91%. When you charge on 10A it takes around 15-16 hours for a full charge. There was a note on my windscreen. Apparently the chairman of the community was not happy that I parked and charged here, grumpy old man.

To Oskarshamn

In the afternoon I continued the journey west to Oskarshamn, close to the Baltic Sea. It was a 136km drive and on the way I saw trees. A lot of trees. But no different ones though. Mostly the same trees. Very long and tall trees. Trees. And a road that between all the trees. It’s not deserted, you will see enough cars on the road and trucks mostly loaded with trees are common here. The trucks are huge though, especially the cabins which are decorated with many big lights as they need that in the winter, when it gets dark around 3pm. 

Els & Tom

In Oskarshamn I met Els and Tom, a Dutch couple. Very welcoming people, they even made a welcome sign with my name and the Plug Me In logo! How cool. They are both and highly interested in sustainability and cars. So it comes to no surprise that they both work for Scania and on my way I already passed the factory, just close after the trees. The building was huge, you can’t really miss it and tomorrow I’m going there. Tom told his colleagues about my trip and where very interested and invited me to tell them about my adventures. Scania is also working on e-mobility and they are willing to give me a presentation about their innovative projects. 

In their spare time Tom, Els and Veerle like to take their boat and sail the little islands around Oskarshamn. They…

Posted by Plug Me In on Freitag, 10. Juni 2016

Tom and Els moved here three years ago when they just had their newborn Veerle. Part of the deal was that Els also could work here so she got a job as physiotherapist at Scania. The houses in Sweden are big and almost always single houses, so was their house. It was located in a residential area and from their garden you could walk straight into a forrest.
In their spare they like to take their boat and sail the little islands around Oskarshamn. They would look for a deserted one and go fishing, start a campfire or just do whatever they feel like because that is what the Swedish life is all about.

Oskarshamn is small, really small. Just 17.000 people live here. We drove around the town and it has some really interesting beautiful sights. Typical sights like I expected from Sweden. Huts, lakes, boats and rocks.

Day 86 | Växjö

At around 8am my eyes opened because my ears heard noises coming from the cleaners broomsticks. My bed last night was the car’s front seat and normally I have a decent sleep in there. Last night was different. There where many noises in the carpark and people walking around who woke me up. I felt like a napkin. I moved the car outside as most of the employees where parking right next to me. I fell asleep again.

I went into Helsinborg. A funny sight was the hundreds of teenagers in white dresses and sailor hats. Apparently they just graduated and where on the way to a party, it’s a very traditional thing. Maria texted me that I could come by for pancakes and soup, an offer I can’t refuse. I also took a shower and I could take some pancakes with me for dinner.

For today I had a plugger who lives in Växjö, Maria laughed at me a lot when I pronounced that name. The right pronunciation is Wekskrow (I hope). My host there, Pieter, a Dutch guy said I could come by but he would arrive home late. Because it was a 200km drive I took my time and stopped in Ljunbgy for a charge. In Sweden they use uppladdning.nu to find charging stations. I found a free one which was located at a fast-food restaurant. It was a pole with two regular 220v sockets. One was used to charge a bouncing castle and with the other one I could charge the car.

It was a good decision to charge in between because later I would arrive in Växjö with just 7% left. Around 10pm I picked up Pieter from the train station. He is a professor at the University here and just has a dinner in Kalmar. He is a typical professor, a little bit nutty and messy. In his style but also his house. He was definitely friendly though. He has been living in Sweden for 15 years and doesn’t want to return home, maybe after he retired. He has one daughter who stays here a week and then goes to her mother. Pieter divorced a few years ago.

The problem was the charging of the car. Pieter lived in a community where no cars are allowed. First he thought to bring it to a car sharing pickup-spot but then came with another idea. Near his home was a parking space with a spot to wash the car. It had a vacuum cleaners. As it was late we thought no-one would clean it’s car anymore so we left it there for the night.

I was very tired from last nights endeavor so after a Heineken and some salami sticks I excused myself and went for a wintersleep.

Day 85 | From the UN to Zlatan’s House

Before I departed to Sweden I had one last meeting in Copenhagen, this time at the United Nations. They have their national headquarters in CPH and the building was finished just three years ago. It grabbed my attention because it won many awards and last week in Vejle I was introduced to the company who made the solar panels for this building.

The UN City building is located right next to a river which provides a natural divider, the building’s protection is high. There is a separate entrance for staff and visitors and all your belongings go through a x-ray scanner, just like a airport.

How cool is this Plug Me In project?The Dutchman, Wiebe Wakker has since March 2016 been traveling around Europe by…

Posted by UN City on Mittwoch, 8. Juni 2016

I was welcomed by Flemming Johanessen. He gave me a tour through the building. The building is based on the UN’s global goals for sustainable development. It’s 50% more sustainable then an average office and 30% of it’s electricity comes from the 1.400 solar panels on the roof which produces 297.000KWh annually. A more in-depth recap will follow later on this page.

After the meeting it was time to head to country number nine: Sweden. To get there you need to take a ferry or pass a bridge. Both cost around 50 Euro so the last days I was looking for a solution to get to the other side. Luckily Mads (where I was staying Saturday) had a great idea. He had the BroBizz pass, it’s a small scanner which you place on your window and when you near the tollbooth it scans it and lets you pass. Mads told me that the last time he wanted to cross the bridge it didn’t work, a woman had to come and would scan the pass manually and let him continue. Mads had the idea to give me the pass, when I would be on the other side he would call the operator and tell them he needs a new one. If they would send him a new pass I could keep the pass, if not I would have to send it back.

I crossed the bridge without any problems and arrived in Sweden, literally the first thing I saw when I passed the border was an IKEA, very typical. As they always have free charging spots and WiFi I decided to work there for a bit. Later I would go into Malmö.

Malmö is famous (at least to my knowledge) for only one thing: the birth- and living place of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. At the IKEA I googled his living address and it was very easy to find so I decided to have a look. It was a huge pink mansion right at the beach. According to his biography Zlatan and his wife liked this house so much that they needed to have it. He left a note for the owners “We want your house, you might think this is a joke but I am serious, we will make sure that you are happy”. They offered the 30 million Kronen, which was four times more then it originally cost and they agreed to that.
Unfortunately Zlatan was not at home, they told me he had to play some tournament in France? Haven’t heard about that.

My sleeping place for tonight was still unsure, I had the other days until Friday fixed but there was not really an offer in the area around Malmö. I posted a message on Facebook to get some help and was waiting for replies. I had one girl who offered me food in Helsingborg so I decided to go to her and make my plan from there.

Maria found me because of a friend in Holland, Annemieke shared a post about plug me in. Maria and Annemieke knew each other from Australia, where they travelled in 2010. Maria is an artist and author. Her paintings are actually really good. She hopes to make a living of this later but also plans to study for more certainty. Maria made chicken for me, chicken is always a good idea.

On the call on Facebook I received many reactions but all of them could either host me later this week or in a place which was not nearby. I had to look for a place where I could charge the car and sleep too. The IKEA seemed like a good option. It was quite and dark there but at 4am they turned on the lights which woke me up, which wasn’t bad as I had the interview with Radio 1 at 4.15am. I found out that I didn’t had service on my phone so I couldn’t receive the call, bad luck, I hope they found a replacement.