Our car arrived two weeks ago. Shipping a Volvo from the U.S. to Sweden? Madness you are saying. I agree, but Swedish friends of my wife assured us that it would be a good move. Cars are more expensive here they told us. This is true. Everything is more expensive here. A pair of Levis that cost $35 in the States go for over $100 here. My wife was smart enough to buy a pair of winter boots made in Sweden from Macy’s department store in Seattle. The same boots cost twice as much here.
But I’ve digressed. So far we’ve paid $1,500 for shipping the car and another $800 in fees. More must be paid for plates and registration which we still don’t have. Need to get car inspected first. Today was our appointment for the vehicle inspection – $80. They go nuts with inspections here. They took the car for a trust drive . . . put it up on a rack and looked underneath. Emission Test and another inspection will come after this inspection which took thirty minutes. Guy comes back says the car’s in great condition (2004 – low mileage) . . . “But,” he tells us, “there’s a small problem with the turn signal lights.” They are orange. In Sweden turn signal lights must be white and not working together with parking lights. “This is a small thing,” he tells us. “Get it fixed and come back for a re-inspection – only $50 next time,” (about 312 Kroner). And then another fee for the emission test.
We’ve been to three places today, and were told we need to replace the frigging headlights. Best estimate to do this was $1,300. And there might be some problems with the wiring. By the time we get this done, get through this inspection, and the emission inspection, and pay license fees we’ll be well into $5,000. The value of the car stateside was around $8,000. Meanwhile we still can’t drive the car.
Sweden – Land of Prohibitions
No guns, unless you join a moose hunting club, not worth the the paperwork and undoubted fees if the only reason you want one is for self defense. It’s illegal to carry a pocket knife. A pocket knife??? Huge fine if you’re caught with one. Can’t drive over forty mph on a four lane highway that’s straight as an arrow passing through and endless forest of trees where there is almost no traffic. The hedge in our back yard must be kept below a certain height so people can see if there’s car passing on the street behind it. I’m sure there’s a fine if it gets too high. They’re big on fines here. Cat poop cannot be thrown in the garbage, it must be taken to the city dump, five miles away.
I’ve never in my life had trouble with the law, but fear it here. Meanwhile we begin our third month with no furniture. Frustrated to the max. I’m starting to take the cat tranquilizers we didn’t give Bucky & Amber for the plane ride. Works best when taken with a shot of whisky which, of course, is twice as expensive as it is in the U.S.