Showing Up Late Insults My Intelligence

Travel tip: If you show up early, the workers may see you and conveniently forget to put up those obnoxious chains that keep people from getting too close to the attraction.  Then, you might find yourself in the fray of some nice, beautiful military endeavors:

Luckily, I've never had to be closer to the business end of a cannon.

Luckily, I’ve never been closer to the business end of a cannon.

In case you were wondering, this is the changing of the guards in Stockholm.

Cultural Ignorance Insults My Intelligence

Quick… can you tell me what country this windmill comes from?

It's as though the blades were twisting in the wind.

It’s as though the blades are twisting in the wind.

If you’re smart, you’re probably thinking it can’t be from the Netherlands… unless you believe I’m pulling some reverse psychology on you.  Or perhaps those Dutch windmills are more diverse than you imagined.

This reminds me of when Barack Obama was “helping” with Chicago’s unsuccessful bid to win the 2016 Olympic Games.  He claimed that the United States’ uniqueness lies in its diversity (unlike those homogenous countries like India, the Netherlands, and the eventual winner, Brazil).  In turn, he touted Chicago as a city where people from across the globe could go and meet people who look just like them…

because the purpose of the Olympics and of travel in general is to avoid encounters with people who aren’t like you.  Right?

And so maybe you can see yourself in someone or something of another ethnicity or race or nationality.  For instance, a Dutch windmill might enjoy meeting this foreign Swedish windmill at the Skansen museum in Stockholm.

Blue Skies Insult My Intelligence

I arrived in Stockholm late at night and awoke the next morning in a city I had been excited to visit.  The skies were blue and there wasn’t a drop of rain.

And do you know what?  Stockholm was hideous.  Various faded pastel colors adorned a lot of buildings, especially in the historic old town where the general atmosphere resembled a washed-out rainbow.  The city likes to bill itself as the “Venice of the North” and I wasn’t buying it.

But, the Swedes are pretty ingenious.  They’re the folks that gave us Ikea, Abba, and that cute little Muppet with the white hat.  Of course they’re going to have great architectural artistry.

And then it clouded up and drizzled the day I left.  Normally, rain is your enemy when you’re on vacation and none of the glossy tourist advertisements ever give you a glimpse of anything as “ugly” and “unmarketable” as gray skies.  But this is Sweden.  I already knew that major European cities with rotten northern weather often use Stockholm’s vomity color scheme, and now I could see why.    That day, I took pictures of things I had passed over because they hadn’t seemed like anything special when the sun was out.  Here are a few:

Washed out in the sun, but imposing in the rain.

Darkness brings out the color in this church.  No, they don’t worship Satan here.

Even mustard can look great on a building if the weather is right.  That peach building to the left also looks surprisingly good.  This is the only time I recommend mustard and peach together.

Because everything was so wonderful that day, I was running a little late and needed to grab a quick bite to eat before catching my plane.  Please believe me when I tell you that you should never buy caviar in a tube from a 7-11.  Not tasty.