Expen$ive hop to nearby Sweden

Saturday, January 31, 2009
Mjolby, Swedish Lakeland, Sweden
This morning began with our becoming acquainted with a Russian young man Artur Aleksandrov, who lives in Tallinn who joined us for breakfast.   He is another story of the increasing contact people have with the Church through the Internet and the power of search engines. He has had virtually no religious background. But, he searched for meaning of life by typing in "What is the Meaning of Life?" into one of the search engines and up with came information leading to the United Church of God. There was a little maze to go through as he evaluated various options. He was very inspiring to speak with and we admired his courage, focus quest for Truth and perseverance. He had lived in the United States for two years when he was younger and his English is excellent. He is fluent in Russian, English and Estonian. We look to many future visits with Artur.  
Then Toomas Schvak, whom we know well, came over and we talked some before he went to his work at the National Library. We are always inspired by Toomas' good heart, desire to help and being a fountain of information. We talked about our Feast plans for the fall among other subjects.
Then off to the airport. We had another jolly Russian cabby-this time Sergei. He marveled that he was driving someone from the United States speaking Russian. Hmmm...
Normally, the flight from Tallinn to Stockholm is straightforward, cheap and uneventful. It's only one hour across the Baltic Sea. Not this time. We made a big mistake. Our original flight was cancelled. Then we were rescheduled onto another airline. We got the times mixed up and missed it! BIG mistake. That's all I'll say here about it, but believe me, this brought painful new meaning into the word "non-refundable."  Important lesson learned. Frustration and anguish.
So, we spend much more time at the Tallinn airport than thought. We finally boarded a little Estonian Air Saab jet prop to Stockholm for a flight that we had no listing before.
Travel Tip #87: When in a foreign country you have few rights and no leverage. You cannot easily make a phone call or get easy "customer service."  (You will be referred to an operator in India, anyway). Do not think that being an American will win you sympathy. Be sure you have reviewed your travel arrangements at least two or three times, to be absolutely sure you understand everything-times, locations - everything.   You can be painfully and expensively hampered by a misplaced or wrongly assumed documents or tickets. Normally, you are cured of such lapses by one expensive lesson.  
Once in Stockholm I put in a Swedish SIM card into my mobile phone and called Paul Spenser. We also had to change our train ticket from the airport for Lindköping. The train station is right at the airport and the trains run on tracks way beneath the airport. When we got down there there was a train passing through every three minutes or so full of people going home or somewhere for the weekend. We got onto our train for south central Sweden where Paul and Kira live.  
On the section of the trip to Stockholm the train was crowded and I had to stand, but after Stockholm seating eased up.
Paul Spenser was at the other end to pick us up. Good feeling. We drove to Mjölby. It was great to see Kira along with Aaron, Isaak and Viki. John Wennström from Oslo had arrived and we talked for several hours. Right at midnight Anthony and Maurgerita Miles arrived from Oslo as well. It's a six hour drive from Oslo to Mjölby. We had a full house. We talked for about another hour and finally went to bed after 1:00am. When you live in isolation, you don't just have have short chats when you get together.
Tomorrow we plan a full day of fellowship and a Church service/discussion in the afternoon.
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Restful Sabbath
Bev and Vic,
Hope your sabbath was refreshing after being drained yesterday, physically, emotionally & finantially.