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Last updated February 07, 2016. 

Travel Tales

Alan Gamboa Traveled Europe July 1999-Sept. 1999

July 5, 1999 August 1, 1999 September 5, 1999
July 14, 1999 August 9, 1999 September 19, 1999
July 21, 1999 August 18-19, 1999 September 25, 1999
August 28, 1999


September 5, 1999 Traveling Alan Joseson

Hej from Sweden!

I finally made it to Fredrik's house so I'm well into Scandanvia.  That's what the Joseson is about... up until about 100 years ago in this area (and still to this day in Iceland), your last name would be the first name of your father plus son or daughter... Thomson, Anderson, Thomsdaughter, Andersdaughter, etc. So I'd be Alan Joseson.

Well it's nice to be in people's houses and out of the hostels, I finally got to sleep in and rest... but not in Berlin.  I ended up having a very busy day there. I went to a soccer game with Nadine's brother, Patrick (das Wunderkind).   Berlin vs. Bremen in the Olympic Stadium what Hitler built!  It was my first soccer game and actually ended up being pretty interesting for me.  I got to cheer Berlin on to a stunning 1-1 tie... ties are a pretty foreign concept in American sports, but it was a decent game.  I was hoping everyone would get all rowdy and hooligans would start a big brawl, but I guess that's only in England... oh well. :)

So after that I failed miserably to communicate in German at Tami's party and only had an OK time, and I didn't get home until pretty late.  I had time to pack, a couple hours of sleep, then I was off again.

My next stop was the village of Weisenbach in Southern Germany (near Stuttgart and Karlsruhe).  It's a small place, population 3000... so it was finally time to relax.  I went there to visit a friend of mine, Katja. Her father started working in the States, so she had to move over too.  That's how I met her, when we realized we'd be in Europe at the same time (she went back to her home town to visit with her friends) we figured we'd have to hang out... so we did.  I stayed with her at her best friend Carmen's house. Thankfully, there's not tons to do there.  So I hung out with Katja, Carmen, and their friends, ate lots of tasty German food (Carmen's mom is a brilliant cook), and caught up on sleep.  Weisenbach was a nice little town... very stereotypically German in appearance, but it wasn't a town full of bumpkin farmers or anything like that, it's totally modern, just small.

After that, it was a hectic day of travel to reach Copenhagen.   I was under the impression that there would be a night train going there from Cologne, but I got there and it did not exist.  So I took a look at the big, famous, cathedral there, and headed for Hamburg in the hopes that I could get to Copenhagen from there.  I arrived in Hamburg at midnight and the first train left at 7:30.  I only managed a couple hours of sleep in the train station, so it wasn't the greatest of nights.

I was tired and a little bit dirty when I finally reached Copenhagen... but what a place.  My spirits lifted right away because I was just happy to be at my destination and Copenhagen looked like such a happy town.  I got totally lost, but I didn't care... I was there.  I felt like Hans Christian Anderson ready to write a million fairy tales.

According to plan, I met up with Camilla at 2:00pm in the Town Square.  She's the girl I met on Corfu who I danced with (like a dork).  She was an angel of a host.  She took real good care of me... fed me, showed me around, the whole 9 yards... we had good laughs.  I was going to Copenhagen anyway on my way here to Sweden, so it just worked out so well.  I couldn't thank her enough.

Copenhagen is a very compact city, so we travelled exclusively by bike.  I've never seen so much bike traffic!  I managed OK, but I think I pissed a couple people off by failing to follow proper bicycle etiquette.  So we checked out the Little Mermaid statue, the Carlsberg Brerwery (which included a two beer free sample), and other points of interest.

There's an area in Copenhagen called Christiania which is quite fascinating.  Apparently, in 1971 a group of desitute people decided they were going to live in some abanonded milliary barrackes in town, and with a little bit of persistance, the Danish government allowed it.  So Christiania is basically a giant squatter community.  I think it's a good place... I guess the Danes figured they either had to make a place like that or make more prisons.  Some of the houses there were really unique and colorful, the whole place was quite beautiful actually.

Camilla is currently working as an intern/student teacher and this gave me a unique oppurtunity.  She is friends with some of the teachers at her school and so the English teacher asked me to come speak to his class.  They had been studying America, so it was perfect to have a real, live, American come in there. They were only in 10th grade, but their English was already quite good.  So yeah, I taught in a Danish school... I talked for 45 minutes about myself and life in America/L.A. They asked me lots of questions as well.  They had been studying Martin Luther King and the Columbine shootings, so they asked me about them too.  I explained that there weren't any guns at my school while I was there.  I think they had a pretty violent pictue of L.A.  I hope I set them straight.  So I was a big celebrity there.   It was really fun, and how many people can say they've taught in a Danish school?

So I had a great time in Copenhagen with Camilla and her friends (one of her friends looked like a cross between my stepmom Sandra and her daughter Siobahn), the Danes are great: super friendly with fluent English, so we all got along famously.  Yes, I have appeased the vikings.  I can safely say that Los Angeles never need fear a raid from the Danes.

And now I'm in Sweden at Fredrik's work, and he sends his regards to those of you he knows.  I guess Fredrik needs some explanation too.   He's a Stockholm native who was working in the States for about a year and ended up at my church.  He's such a hillarious guy I knew I wanted to make it up there, so here I am.

So today we just hung around mostly... we got some competition going... the US (me) humiliated Sweden (him) in a game of 1 on 1 basketball... 11-3!   But Fredrik got sweet (Swede?) revenge on Playstation video soccer, beating me 3-2 and then beating me again in the rematch.

So that's about it for now.  I'll be with Fredrik for a week or so here, mostly in Stockholm, but we're also going to visit a friend of his in Finnland for 2 or 3 days.

Hej då,



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