Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My bucket runneth over

Greetings from the southwest suburbs. The sun is shining, tea is steaming, my blogger password has been reset and I am finally focusing on giving you the low-down on a trip to Sweden that Darrell and I experienced in May.

Was Sweden on my bucket list? Nope. Uh-uh. Negatory. Maybe I'd wave at it from a cruise ship one day, but other than that and the Stieg Larsson triology, not much interest. Well, my friends, that was about to change.

It all began in a Volvo, as most things in Sweden probably do.

Our particular Volvo journey began on Brookpark Road in Cleveland. We bought one. We're lucky. It's a fine car, made finer by the Volvo overseas delivery program. I can't tell you about the trip without first telling you about "the deal."

So, here's the deal: Volvo paid our airfare to Sweden, put us up in a nice hotel for one night, AND knocked a chunk of change off the price of the car. All we had to do was fly to Sweden and take possession of our car, drive it around and return it to the Volvo HQ in Goteborg (aka Gothenburg if you're American, or Yooteburg if you're a local). Somehow this saves Volvo a ton of money in taxes or whatEVER. I should know and understand the inner workings, but I'm shallow and don't really care. Volvo's investment paid for our trip.

Was I skeptical about all of this at first? You betcha. I spent most of my career in advertising and was weaned on the greed of our clients. No way was this Volvo thing going to be a good thing for anybody but Volvo.

Boy, was I wrong. There. I said it.

Long story short. The Volvo overseas delivery program kicks major butt. It's as sweet as the Budapest cake we had in a cafe in Stockholm. Oh, my GOD was that good. Quite memorable, actually. and delicious, yet melt-in-your-mouth creamy...where was I? Oh, yes. Volvo picked us up at the airport just like they said they would. It was very fun to see our name on a sign in the hands of some guy who schlepped our luggage and and took us to Volvo HQ to get our car. They even fed us lunch and didn't blink when we accidentally ate the wrong ones. (How were we supposed to know there were other tours and such going on?) At the end of our weeklong road trip in our nice new car we returned said car to the exact place we picked it up. Volvo then drove us to our hotel and picked us up a day-and-a-half later to get us to the airport as we headed for home. They didn't skip a beat and were very nice, too.

Everybody in Sweden was very nice for that matter. Except for one snotty guy in Stockholm, working the box office at the Royal Opera House. Sorry, Lars. We just wanted to know about the tour. Take a pill.

Lars was just a tiny blip. Actually, he made me laugh. Truth is, Sweden is a beautiful country full of beautiful people. Dang, they're beautiful. But they get really wrinkly really fast.

So there you go.

And there I go. Signing off for now, but will return soon to give you the highlights of our Swedish adventure. What we saw, where we stayed, what we ate. It's all good. Just like that Budapest cake.