1. Airfare. This may be mostly free because I have a buttload of airline miles.
2. Hotel/Place to stay. This is the first hurdle. My cousins have places to stay that they own, but getting to them might be a problem. I used to stay with Sven, but he's moved from his single pad in Ornskoldsvik in with his new girlfriend, Karin, in Sundsvall.
3. Travel in Sweden. Luckily, because petrol (gas) in Europe is so high, owning a car is kind of a luxury for many, so the public transportation is far, far better in Europe than the US. Trains, busses, and rentals are common.
4. Cost of food/incidentals. Here's a big new problem. Things have always been a little expensive in Sweden, that's a given. But now, thanks to 51% of the people being total dumbasses this past election, the American dollar is severely weakening in our horrible economy, which will continue to fall for the next 4 years. When I went in 2000, it used to be 10 SEK (Swedish crowns) to the dollar. As I enter this, it's now 6.7 SEK to the dollar. That's the lowest I have ever seen, and it's bound to get worse. Right now, a budget room is 595 SEK, which was about $60/night. Now, it's $88/night. In the summer it will triple that rate, and the dollar will be even less. A night's stay, in a budget hotel, might be over $360/night if the dollar goes down to 5 SEK. Then there's food. Bus fare. Knick nacks, batteries, and so on.
Issue #4 is wouldn't be as much of an issue if I just flew to Boden and stayed with my cousins Karin and Jon Eric, since they have a stuga, although I have to ask permission, of course. I could swing expensive food for CR and I. But then I'd miss Sven, and that would kind of suck. He's the best interpreter and tour guide like person of the bunch. Most of my older cousins don't speak more than a few words of English, which I can manage because I speak a little Swedish, but that leaves intelligent conversations out of the enjoyment of the stay. Then there's how long I'd stay, a week or two weeks? If I am in Karin and Jon Eric's stuga, that might get dull pretty quick since it's deep in the woods, next to a river. I'd really like to travel, and see more of Sweden, especially in the south.
Ack... I have to make up my mind, speak with some of those guys.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000681.html