When I had finished my summer internship at GMI in Vienna, Austria at the end of August 2012 I had said to myself I would not work whole summer long in a lab again. Only ten months later I was sitting on a plane heading to Uppsala. The reason of the trip was very simple: a summer internship at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
Scandinavian Arlines called SAS offer an early afternoon flight from Václav Havel Airport in Prague directly to Arlanda Airport daily except for Saturday. With an afternnon flight it was very comfortable to get to Prague on time by train and the flight is only 1h 50min long. However, things were not working out so smoothly: the plane was 45 minutes late due to some technical issues.
A bit of statistics may summarize my traveling experience well. The way from my town to airport in Prague (270 km) took me about 4h 30min and I spent 3 more hours waiting for the departure. The flight (1089 km) turned out to be 1h 35min long and it took me less than 2 hours (including waiting for the buses and one change) to get to my final destination (less than 40 km) – a student dorms with super small windows and surrounded by woods.
No matter how long it took to get there, the very first impression of Sweden was really great. When the plane started to land all I could see was just vast forests and meadows, accompanied by meandering rivers. The only proof of presence of humans was the airport. The feeling of almost untouched nature persisted for most of the journey from the airport to the Uppsala bus station. It was not until outskirts of the city, when first building appeared. All those 40 km we were driving through woods, woods, meadows, we passed occasional barns and kept driving thorough woods. By the way did I mention there are lots of woods on the way to Uppsala?
It seems to me there is a very good network of public transportation and the only confusing thing was, how to get off the bus. Seriously. You have to push a “stop” button which is OK, but the problem is that the driver does not slow down while passing the stop unless there is someone waiting. So, you really have to rush to push that yellow button. That’s also why a got off one stop later than I originally planned, however it might have been bit closer to the house from there…
Then everything was going pretty fast: I realized wooden windows with pieces of paint falling away, bit dirty corridors and then – finally – my tiny room. 9 square meters, a bed, a table and a chair. That is it. What shocked me the most was the size of a window there. I do not believe its dimensions are bigger than 50 cm x 50 cm.
Fortunately there are some sunny sides, too: very nice and friendly people living at my corridor, very well equipped kitchen (although it may not necessarily be clean) and not so bad bathrooms (although they are shared).
I spent late afternoon/early evening chatting with 4 people from my corridor: a girl from India, boy and girl from Persia who prepared tasty mint tea for us, and a German guy doing his Ph.D. in Chemistry. Then I prepared my sleeping bag for the first night in Sweden and wondering whether it was a smart decision to get here I fell asleep.