Observing Sweden 9- April

Observing Sweden – 9 April

This was a very good day. We got our car! I was so worried. I mean, they took away my guns, and then my knives (pocket knives illegal here – huge fine) and me with no car. For an American this is about as bad as it gets.

Yesterday we took three trains to get to Gothenburg. The transfers were surprisingly easy, just got off one train, walked across the platform (12 yards) then a 10 minute wait. Wife had our tickets on her cellphone. Conductors just look at the code number. Technology far beyond my 75 year old brain. She used same cellphone take some photos of the small town stations on the way.

Trip took 5 hours. We arrived around midnight and it was seriously cold, first time I’ve been that cold since arriving in Sweden.

Next day the fun began. First stop was the customs office which was far from our hotel – three bus rides or a cab, We took the cab – eighty bucks. Lou had a stack of papers two inches thick: titles, shipping documents, various declarations, mileage, bills of sale, previous owners, my passport, permanent resident card, my birth certificate, marriage license, her birth certificate, American driver’s license and paper saying her Swedish driver’s licence was in the mail.

She must have signed and filled out a dozen documents. I just watched in a clueless state of anxiety, understanding little of what was being said and waiting to find if we were missing some obscure document. In between time wondering if our Volvo had survived the trip. Sounds weird, shipping a Volvo to Sweden, but cars are much more expensive here, Everything is much more expensive here!

Forty minutes later it was over. We had passed customs! Now another cab to the port of arrival. Gothenburg is the biggest seaport in Sweden. Then more documents, but not as many this time, and we were given permission to wait for someone to take us inside; only one of us was allowed to go and Lou seemed the obvious choice since she speaks the language. I waited at the gate with exit papers.

Would the car start after spending a month in a container? After a stressful thirty minutes Lou appeared smiling in our undamaged and fully operational car. It was over – Not!

For some reason they made me take the license plates off before shipping in Seattle. I never thought to pack ‘em. It’s illegal to drive here without plates even though we had the completed paperwork from customs. It is also illegal to drive without insurance. We could not get insurance because the car had not arrived in Sweden when we left to pick it up.

We drove home on back roads, seven hours and over 300 miles with our hearts in our mouths. Believe it or not we did not see a single police car! Thank God! We saw lots of moose warning signs, but no moose.

We made it home without incident. It felt wonderful to drive again – first time since we left, but we don’t dare to drive again until we fill out more papers, register the car and get plates.

Now we are waiting for furniture to arrive.

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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9 Responses to Observing Sweden 9- April

  1. Great that the car is going… bummer about the plates – first the good news, then the bad news.. It’s amazing reading about your Odyssey Bruce… who could have thought that life could be so complicated … when I arrived here, I just went through customs and that was that!!!! Just slipped in, and no-one cared or minded back then in 1970… how things have changed….

  2. PS – I am always awed by each of your posts – how brave you are Bruce… not an easy thing uprooting so profoundly in our 70’s… Good on you – as they say in NZ !!!

  3. lgyslaine says:

    Very interesting all these writings. I travel with you lol. I see a lot of paperwork, as here in France. I have an American friend who always tells me that France is too complicated with all his papers lol 🙂
    I wish you good days ahead

  4. catnipoflife says:

    What a journey, Bruce! Love reading each of your new adventures. I see I am at the end for now. I’ll be back later when you post next…maybe the furnishings will be arriving soon! Foxie send purrs! 🙂

  5. Jew Boy says:

    Swedish Connection: Thank god they didn’t find the 20 kilos in the “rocker panels”.!

  6. Alice says:

    Heehee–love the illegal drive. The stress is incredible, isn’t it? Glad you have a car now, and you can explore your new territory. You looked a bit forlorn at the gate waiting for your car.

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