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Swedish Adventures

Trapped in a Polish van

SWEDEN | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [276] | Scholarship Entry

There I was, in the back of a white van that had a scary resemblance to a van out one of those kidnapping movies. There was not much space, considering there were three bald Polish guys in the front and eight students in the back. Loud Polish pop music was blasting out of the speakers while we glanced at each other with fear in our eyes. It was just a regular day in peaceful Sweden.

Before I found myself in the back of this van, my friends and I had a lovely weekend in a typically Scandinavian cottage. You know, the ones you see in travel programs and in Pippi Longstocking. I quite felt like the latter, dancing around the house in my pyjamas, not a care in the world. This enchanting yellow house in the middle of nowhere, filled with Scandinavian design furniture – never hurts -, stole my heart. Adding up I was surrounded by a group of international people and I felt like a citizen of the world. At the same time though, it reminded me of a time when I did not know anything about all the different cultures our world holds. As a western European girl I travelled around to neighbouring countries but I had never met people from Australia, Bulgaria and Kosovo for example. It does not help that our society creates unfair stereotypes nowadays, using the media as partner-in-crime. No wonder we are afraid of each other, affected by all the things we hear on television and read in the papers. If there is one thing I have learned on my recent travels though, it is that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Ever.

And just as I told myself these bald Polish men with golden watches and chains were probably decent men that would not hurt a fly, they stopped the van. My heart skipped a beat for the last time before they comradely smiled and opened the door. A bit bewildered we stood on the pavement while they drove off: these heroes saved our day.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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