Istanbul, Turkey i think.

After a massive ordeal with the Israeli airport security and having my computer, battery, guitar, and luggage all shipped separate in individual, bubble-wrapped boxes, I landed in

Rob and I in Barcelona.

Spain a day ahead of Rob and Joe with no luggage. They hammer you on the way out because they’re worried about bombs and terrorism.  “What have you been doing in Israel? What about Thailand?  Morocco? Jordan? Egypt? How do you get the money to pay for this?  Is that all you have with you to travel for so long?”  I work with YWAM so none of my answers add up in the way they want.  “I am supported by a church…and friends…I work when I can.”  “What? Ok sir, you’ll have to come with me.”  Needless to say, I barely made the flight by the time they were done.

Since we had graduation in Jerusalem, all our students and staff

Stockholm.

have gone on to pursue other endeavors.  We wished each other the best and off we went.  I’ve pulled all the stops on my “Around the World Ticket” in due to a September 19 start of Bible School (YWAM SBS) in Montana.

Barcelona.

So I parted with Rob and Joe and head back to the airport a couple days later, my backpack and guitar had arrived minus the computer battery.  I guess they deemed it a bomb because it was as dead as a doorbell.  So here in Stockholm, I’ve been trying to see a few things in the 3 days I have.  They sell a 72hr unlimited bus/train pass for 200 Krona (about $30).  So I just get on it and go anywhere and get off when it seems fitting.  It’s like an all-access pass.  You just flash it and you’re in business.  I saw the castle (Kungliga Slottet), Ikea

IKEA in Sweden

(which is walls of cardboard boxes stacked to the ceiling in warehouse fashion with a

Not much flash.

food operation at the check-out much like they have at Costco).  They must shop in a catalog then come here to pick it up or something.  Who knows.  I rode on trains, subways, and buses with a tons of commuters and other people moving from one place to another and watched them get on then get off.  Swedes are quiet.  Way more so than the Spaniards.  The Barcelona flight was like Margaritaville.

I nearly slept on the street last night because it’s peak Summer tourism and I didn’t figure all these hostels would be full but they sure are..almost.  Our relatives are on the other side of the country and theres no time, so here I am.  It’s all good…one ordeal after another, but I’m getting to the point where I have to dig deeper to keep it going.  You really have to work at it to keep the price down.  My buddy, Donavan shared some wisdom with me one time. In the movie business there’s a saying that goes like this: Fast. Quality. Cheap.  Pick 2.  This reminds me of that.  Money kicks open lots of doors.  Then again, all this scrapping keeps you young, or sharp, or stupid.  Something. Blah, blah, blah, enough on that.

Tourism.  See this, see that, get a guide-book, and follow the steps.  In a weird way, it can be the same thing over and over. See the castles, the museums, the ruins, etc.  Those things are great and a privilege to see, but sometimes it’s more fun to go where the locals are and see what’s going on TODAY.  So, back on the
train, I’m looking out the window thinking about what this nordic place must be like in the winter when it gets dark at 3 in the afternoon. Sweden has lots of  “Goth” kids like north England.  They like death metal music, dress in all black with pearcings and sometimes even wear face paint like on Halloween.  Could there be a connection?  Out the window, there was a massive cemetery, so I got off and started walking through it.  It must have been a mile long because it took forever to get from one end to the other.

All sorts of thoughts came and went.  Look at all these graves.  I’ll end up in one someday.  I’m going to visit my Dad’s grave when I get to America.  Look at all these Swedish names. The names are the same as the people at Bethany Beach.  One said, Nils and Eina Lundquist.  It doesn’t get much more Swedish than that, does it? Where is the really old part of this place?  I want to see the ones from the 1700’s.  Nobody decorates those ones.  My ancestors are from

Not much on the older ones.

Sweden.  I doubt anybody decorates their graves.  I wish I had prepared more for this and I would have found them if that were possible.  Let’s see, my Grandpa Carl’s Dad went to America and he’s not buried here.  It would be his Dad and on back from there.  What’s that, 4 generations including me?  He probably died in the late 1800’s?  Then again, does that really matter to the person represented by the marker?  I doubt it.  It’s more for us than for them. Hmmm.  Our pastor used to say everyone should visit a cemetery once a month.  We are

Some flowers and even an occasional candle burning.

mortal, right?  It makes sense to be reminded of it so we live better and make “today” count.  The time really is short.

What started as a light mist was turning into a full scale rain so I picked up my pace.  Wow, all the graves in the next section have Hebrew writing on them.  A whole Jewish section.  Interesting.  I guess the Israelis stick together.

Finally, I squeeze between some bushes, out the other side and, lo and behold, there’s a MacDonalds sitting there in all it’s glory.  Thank God for shelter from the rain in whatever form it comes.  Unfortunately, a “Big and Tasty” extra value meal is a staggering 76 Krona ($11.82).