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#LastNightInSweden: Some Things Swedish

Twitter got busy with the hashtag #LastNightinSweden some time ago and it piqued the interest of people about Sweden.

I figured I’d write some tidbits too myself rather than have people rely on Mr. Trump for that. So if you want to know more, read on.

Let me start off by greeting you with “Hej!” – pronounced as ‘hey’, meaning hello .

Sweden is a pretty relaxed and peaceful country in the Scandinavian region, the home to about 10 million people. The south is where you can find most of its big cities like Gothenburg, Malmö, and Stockholm – the country’s capital. I, on the other hand, live in a city up north that carved a special place in my heart. I’ll tell you later on why.

A visit to Sweden pretty much meant a trip to Stockholm due to the rich mix of history, culture, and modernity. Swedes live life in a lagom way or what we, the non-Swedes, may interpret as “moderation or balance.” Even the cities give off that vibe. At one point, you could be walking the narrow cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan wondering about its medieval past and just after a turn, you would be welcomed by the sight of modern office buildings where employees come out after work with enough leisure time left to do as they please. Such is the idea of lagom, a balance of everything!

If you’re a fan of the Vikings TV series, visiting their museums are a must. Vikings were all about wars and raids, a stark contrast to the quiet Swedes who exude a reserved attitude. But don’t let this demeanor fool you into thinking they’re cold, they are just pragmatic people who respect each other’s space and privacy. They’re a helpful bunch, even ready to assist lost but polite, queue-respecting tourists. Swedes fall in line for everything and everywhere so don’t dare try to skip!

Before coming to Sweden, think about the activities you’d like to do and figure out the best season for them. The country is great for winter sports like skiing, hockey, cross-country skiing, etc while a trip to the Swedish Lapland is great for outdoor adventures at whatever time of the year. It’s a year-round wonderland and a simple trek in the woods might turn to a chance encounter with wild animals like a moose or wolverine (not the one from the X-Men).

Now, let’s turn to food and see the gastronomic experiences Sweden offers. To name a few, meatballs (köttbullar), räksmörgås (open-top shrimp sandwich), and sill (pickled herring) are some that one can try anywhere. Swedes love their seafood, they go crazy during summer with crayfish that they have parties called kräftskivor just for that. If you’re the curious foodie, the traditional surströmming is a worthy challenge. Out of the tin can, this sour fermented herring has an overpowering smell that the cans need to be opened outdoors!

What’s a Swedish fika? Or lagom? Want to know more things Swedish? Get in line and take a glimpse of Sweden that President Trump wouldn’t be able to tell you about.

Their love for sweets turned Saturday into the Swedish lordagsgodis day (Saturday Candies), the time to enjoy all the goodies they want including salty licorice. You think they’d get fat, right? Not really. They’re the healthiest people around and they LOVE to exercise!

At the heart of Swedish society is the beloved concept of fika or to have time out for coffee. It’s more the socializing part that makes it rather special than the actual cup of joe paired with any typical Swedish baked treat on the side, like kannelbulle (cinnamon roll) or kärleksmums (chocolate coffee square cakes – my personal favorite).

Ok, I promised to tell you why I love the north, right? So here it is. I am a child of the tropical oceans and a sun-worshipper but I did not mind the long Arctic cold nights of Umeå because in exchange, one of my wishes came true – the chance to see the Aurora Borealis! There was even that one night when I got lucky to watch the most beautiful dance spectacle of purple, red, blue, green and white lights through the window before I went to bed. It was magical!

Enough said. I do admit that the longer I stay here, the more I’m loving Sweden. There’s still lots to share, but I leave that for you to discover when you visit! So for now, I bid you “Hej då!”

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