Malmo

Trip Start May 24, 2007
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13
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Trip End Jun 27, 2007


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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

malmo
The first order of business as we start our road trip is to stop in Copenhagen at the Russian consulate to get our visas.  Olga has arranged for our "invitation" through a company that also serves as our "host" in Russia.  We arrive early and there is already a queue in front.  As we wait a slow rain starts and luckily we have umbrellas.  Those who don't either huddle under the few inches of building overhang or stoically wait in the rain, refusing our pantomimed offer of the loan of an umbrella.  The guard lets us in one by one with waits in between after checking any bag and passing a security wand around us.
 
Inside it is hushed and we talk in whispers, fill out a form, and queue up again.  I've made a few mistakes and write over a correction. Olga is concerned that they might not accept it even though she knows they are principally interested in the fee, not the paperwork.  When called we present the form and our passport and pay about $200 which includes an express fee. We sit and wait around 30 minutes and are given our passports back with the attached visa.  Although the process is solemn with no smiles or small talk, it is actually pretty simple, especially compared to the greater obstacles for a Russian to get a US visa.  Russians pay a $350 fee which is nonrefundable even if it is not granted, which is often the case.
 
After a brief stop to see The Little Mermaid statue emblematic of Copenhagen, we drive on to Malmo in Sweden.  Olga has a good friend Anna, whom she met years ago when Anna was her English student, and who will put us up for the night.  She is Russian, married to a Swede.  She is an artist, a painter, and her husband Lars, who is away on business, is a psychological coach who works with major companies on their business retreats.  They previously lived in Brooklyn and had a loft, a style they loved for the light and openness.  They finished out this apartment in downtown Malmo in that style and there is beautiful art, travel artifacts, and furnishings, including an impressive wall-size painting of New York as seen from Brooklyn (pre 9/11) done by Anna.  Anna and Lars have traveled extensively, are Buddhists, and have a meditation room.  Olga has brought freshly smoked trout and makings of a salad and we have purchased wine. We have a delightful supper with charming and interesting Anna.
 
We leave early the next morning to drive to Stockholm to catch the overnight ferry to Talinn, Estonia.  
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