Ten things I learned on our trip to Sweden, Denmark, and East Germany…

Well, it’s time once again to write one of my “ten things I learned” posts.  I always like to wrap up a long trip with a summary post.  It’s mainly for those who don’t want to wade through all my crap, but are interested in where I went and what I did.  I find it’s also useful for me to digest our travel experiences.  I keep reminding myself that I probably won’t always have these amazing opportunities to see the world.  So here goes…

10.  Volvo is now owned by a Chinese company.

I knew that Volvo was once owned by the American company, Ford, but I didn’t know that it was bought by Geely, which was founded in 1986 and is based in China.  I also didn’t know that Geely means “lucky” or “auspicious” in Chinese.

9.  Hygge is a special thing in Denmark.

Actually, it’s a special thing in Norway, too.  The word denotes a certain kind of coziness and comfort, particularly when it includes togetherness with other people.  I didn’t experience much Hygge during our one night in Copenhagen, but I can see how I might if I stayed there longer… or if we’d ventured into Denmark’s cool tree walk.

8.  Always follow up if you don’t get firm instructions regarding a meeting.

My husband, Bill, was kicking himself because he took our Volvo salesperson’s word for it when he was told they’d come get us at around 9:00am.  He never heard from anyone at Volvo itself.  Consequently, we were surprised when they sent a cab for us at 7:40am.  Fortunately, we were able to go to the factory later and get our new car.

7.  The Volvo Factory Experience is cool…

It was interesting to see how robots created the luxury wheels we’re driving now.  Volvo also doesn’t look like a bad place to work, if you can stand factory work, that is.  The factory was clean and surprisingly quiet.

6.  The Stasi Prison Museum in Rostock is closed for renovations.

I was bummed that we weren’t able to see the museum.  It was the one reason we decided to stay in Rostock for two nights instead of Copenhagen.  Oh well.  Rostock is a pretty interesting city anyway. I wouldn’t mind going back.  If we do go back, maybe we can see the museum then.  Or maybe we should just go to Berlin again and see the one there.

5.  East Germany is still pretty unspoiled and vacant compared to the west…

It was a pleasure to drive on the mostly open Autobahns, although I kept wondering what it must have been like there before and immediately after the Berlin Wall fell.  I think the former East Germany is fascinating.  I’d love to spend more time there.  And yes, I know East Germany doesn’t exist anymore.  I’m a child of the 80s.  Humor me.

4.  Leipzig is a very musical city.

I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t know Bach, Wagner, and Mendelssohn had connections there.  I will admit, though, that they aren’t composers I’ve studied much about.  Aside from the heavy hitting classical composers, Leipzig is home to a number of talented buskers and hosts its share of rock stars.  We got to see one up close in the hotel bar where we were staying.

3.  Bedbugs may or may not have bitten my leg…

And if a bedbug did bite me, it proves that bedbugs aren’t necessarily attracted to filth.  Even really nice hotels can have issues with them.

2.  German Apothekes are very helpful if you have a minor illness or health mishap.

I’m sure I knew this, of course.  I just don’t make it a habit of visiting them because as an American with on post shopping privileges, I can get my hands on a lot of over the counter drugs without having to talk to a pharmacist.  But if you’re on a trip in Germany and something bites you or you have minor aches and pains, a German Apotheke may be very helpful and worth a stop.

1.  Autobahns in East Germany have emojis to indicate the length of building projects.

Maybe they have them in the west, too, but I have never seen them.  They’re pretty cute!

This is pretty much how I feel when I encounter a Stau… especially if it’s caused by one of the neverending building projects over here.


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