Sunday, December 8, 2013

First Day in Sweden

I got up bright and early, actually dark and early, on Saturday morning, to head to SFO to begin my journey to the Google Teacher Academy in Stockholm.  The first flight was great, the plane was nearly empty and I got the whole row to myself.  After a stop in Newark, I got on the plane to Stockholm.  This plane was packed, and there was no room for my backpack in the overhead bins.  So my backpack got to ride in first class.  Too bad I couldn't ride with it.
Artwork in SFO
The plane flights both went smoothly and I arrived in Sweden a whole hour early, at 6:30 am.   The airport had wooden floors and it looked like I stepped into an IKEA store. I took the Arlanda Express train to Stockholm, walked up the stairs, and my hotel entrance was right there.  It was super easy to find.  When I walked in, another GTA participant, Gary Johnston, was in the lobby.  We chatted, then I checked in, dropped off my luggage, and headed back downstairs to have breakfast with Gary.  We talked about our schools, our different education systems (he teaches at an international school in Vietnam), and the Next Generation Science Standards.  I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and learning about their different schools, countries, and education systems.

To combat jet lag, I knew I couldn't go to sleep, even though I really wanted to.  So I decided to visit Skansen today.  A friend of many of my friends, Elisabeth, whom I've not yet met, left a transportation pass for me at my hotel, with a lot of maps.  I figured out what tram to take, and made it to Skansen.  

"Skansen is the world's first open-air museum, founded in 1891. Here you can stroll through five centuries of Swedish history, from north to south, with a real sense of the past all around in the histori­cal buildings and dwellings, peop­led by characters in period dress."  They even have native Swedish wildlife in a "zoo" and there were Great Gray Owl's in the aviary.  

When I walked the corner around the aviary and spotted the first Great Gray, I was amazed at it's beauty. I have waited for 17 years to see one, since my first Avian Sciences class at UC Davis where I was assigned the owl for a report.  Even though it was a captive bird, I am so excited to see not one, but two, Great Grays on my first day in Sweden.  I stayed for the 12:30 feeding of the Great Grays.  You actually get to stand in the aviary with the birds!  

The zookeeper even left the mice on the rail right in front of us to have the owls come right up close.  I was standing about 4 feet away from one of the owls!  I will never forget this experience.  After the owl feeding, I wandered around and took some pictures of the wild birds in the park, then had some lunch and shopped at the Christmas market.  By this point, even in all of my layers, I was beginning to freeze.  I left and took the tram back to the center of Stockholm.  I got a little lost on the way back to the hotel (there are some streets that are above others... I walked in circles, but found my way back).  

Christmas Market at Skansen
Cold day at Skansen
Glassblowing Studio at Skansen
I took a nap (after being awake for 27 hours), woke up, went to 7-11 for some water bottles, grabbed dinner, and am now planning my day for tomorrow.  Elisabeth is going to pick me up in the morning for some birding around Stockholm.  Then I think I will go into the old town, Gamla Stan.  For dinner, some of the Stockholm participants in the Google Teacher Academy have set up a dinner at a restaurant in town so we can get to meet each other before the GTA begins on Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE reading about your Great Googley Adventure, Melissa! How amazing to be so close to those owls! Have a wonderful time!