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Week of March 17, 2019

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In our last blog entry, we asked you to find the country that is located at 15 00 longitude and 62 00 latitude. The majority of those that voted said Norway. Norway is 62 00 latitude, but it is not located at 15 00 longitude. The country of Norway spreads across the degrees of 5 00 to 10 00 longitude. Our flight actually took us to Sweden (which is located at 15 00 longitude and 62 00 latitude). We haven't gotten to see much of this country yet, except in pictures during our in-flight movie. The onboard movie also talked about "Piter." This is the nickname for St. Petersburg, another famous location in Russia. We had a 5-hour layover in St. Petersburg on our way to Sweden. During our first flight (from Moscow to St. Petersburg), we sat next to a girl name Alena. Alena was on her way to visit her father (in St. Petersburg). She actually takes the flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg every month! She was a few years younger than we are (probably middle school age), but she taught us a lot about St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is both a city and a federal subject. Alena explained to us that a federal subject is sort of like a state in the United States. Russia has 83 federal subjects. Each federal subject has 2 delegates in the federal council. I guess this is similar to the senators that represent each of the United States in Washington, D.C.?

St. Petersburg has over one million residents. Among all of the cities in the world that have over one million residents, St. Petersburg is the furthest north. So I guess that makes this the COLDEST highly populated city in the world? I assume St. Petersburg is farther north than New York City, Mexico City, or any of the other highly populated cities we have visited during our mission. Alena told us that her favorite month to visit her dad is June. Right after she gets out of school, "White Nights" begin. Do you remember how Alaska had days that remained dark and without the sun? Well, St. Petersburg is similar. "White Nights" in June occur when the sun doesn't set until late evening (11pm) and it stays fairly light all night long. Complete darkness doesn't occur for a few weeks. Alena said that St. Petersburg has a huge celebration called the "White Nights Festival." They have fireworks and everything to celebrate the end of the school-year. Alena has a favorite place to visit in St. Petersburg - the Hermitage Museum. Alena took us on a "virtual tour" of the museum. This museum is VERY FAMOUS throughout the world. We included a link to the virtual tour - enjoy!

The summers in "Piter" are cool, short, and humid. The winters are long and cold, with a few warm spells. St. Petersburg is known as a transportation Hub. There are a ton of railroads that have St. Petersburg as their final destination or a connecting point for other locations. There are also several airports (the largest being Pulkovo International Airport - where we had our layover). You can really get to anywhere in the world from this huge transportation center. We included the map from our last blog entry (can you find St. Petersburg?). We also included some pictures that Alena shared with us from her phone. I wish we would have had time to get out of the airport and explore the city, but we had to stay and wait for our connecting flight.

     - Geo

Here is the Grand Cascade. This beautiful fountain area is a tourist attraction in St. Petersburg.

This picture shows the harbor in St. Petersburg. Isn't the lighthouse amazing!

This is the church that Alena and her father attend.


Map of Scandinavia
Here is the map we showed you in our last blog entry


Hermitage Museum
Take a virtual visit to the Hermitage Museum.


Take a virtual tour of Saint Petersburg!

Thursday Night

This afternoon we met with Uncle GT at his Swedish office. Holy Idaho! I didn't realize that Uncle GT had an office in Sweden; he said he has over 10 offices throughout the world. Anyway, we gave him the video, and his technology experts are working on the case now. They are using special enhancement software to analyze the video. They are going to call us as soon as they learn anything. Uncle GT took us out to dinner and told us all about Sweden. Sweden is bordered by Finland and Norway (we already knew that from looking at the map). Sweden is a little bit larger than the state of California (about 450,000 square kilometers). We are currently in the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm. Sweden is divided into 21 counties. I guess this is kind of like the counties in Arizona. Phoenix is in Maricopa County. Each county has individual cities. Do you know what county you live in?

The climate in Sweden varies. The north experiences subarctic conditions. Do you remember what subarctic means? The climate in the south is temperate. The south has cold and cloudy winters, and cool and partly cloudy summers. I guess they don't have many sunny days like we do in Phoenix. About 6% of the land in Sweden is arable. Some of the most common agriculture products include milk, wheat, barley, sugar beets, and meat.

Sweden has several natural resources - zinc, lead, copper, iron ore, arsenic, uranium, tungsten, timber, hydropower, and feldspar. Do you remember we learned about feldspar a few weeks ago? Do you remember what feldspar is?

The people of Sweden work in a variety of industries to earn a living. Some of the more popular industries include motor vehicles, iron and steel, precision equipment (such as radio and telephone parts), processed foods, paper products, and several others. The main export from Sweden is machinery (35% of their total exports). Holy Idaho! That is over 1/3 of their total exports. I guess they can make machinery out of all the iron and steel. I wonder what exact type of machinery they are referring too? Most of the exports go to Germany, Norway, or the United States. Here are some pictures we took of Sweden.

     - Meri

Look at this picture we found of the icicles in Sweden. It isn't as cold at this time of the year. I wish we could have seen the ice. Holy Idaho!

The waterfront of Stockholm.

This is a war monument that we saw. Geo loves visiting the war monuments.


In the words of Meri - HOLY IDAHO!! Uncle GT just called us. His technicians have zoomed in on the face of the woman who stole Dewey. We were shocked (as you will be) to find out that it was Phoebe Equator! Claude is still in prison in Oceania. Phoebe was released because she agreed to testify against Claude. He is facing criminal charges in the United States for stealing government property. Phoebe didn't get in as much trouble because she didn't meet up with Claude until he had already stolen Dewey and left the United States. But boy, she is going to get into a LOT of trouble now! Uncle GT has a database of all of Phoebe's aliases - she has seven! He even has the capability to see her credit card statements in each of the seven names. He checked all of the aliases, and several have had recent activity. He told us to pack our bags because a purchase was made less than an hour ago on a French airline. So Uncle GT concluded that she is flying from Moscow to France. We aren't sure exactly WHICH city she is flying in to. Take a look at our map of France. Where do you think we should book our flight? We tried to think of some logical (big) cities that she might be traveling towards. Should we fly to Lyon, Paris, or Bordeaux? We have attached a map to help you decide.

     - Geo

The flag of Sweden

The streets of Stockholm (very narrow compared to the streets in our neighborhood).

Another picture of the harbor area of Stockholm.


Map of France
Where do you think we should book our flight? Should we fly to Lyon, Paris, or Bordeaux?

Tell Geo and Meri what to do:

- Should we fly to Lyon?

- Should we fly to Paris?

- Should we fly to Bordeaux?



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