Despite a challenging start to our Swedish adventure, it has been a great week – and we have learned lots of new things about the country and the culture. Here are a few:
1. It’s the first country country on our trip (at least in Scandinavia) where we have encountered things being chained down to stop people stealing them – such as tables and chairs outside pubs. A bit surprising after Denmark and Norway where everything was just left lying around on the (correct) assumption that it was all safe.
2. Licensing laws are so strict here that all beer sold in supermarkets is no stronger than 3.5% and never cold, and import beers like Heineken have a Swedish supermarket version to fit this rule. Beer in a pubs on the other hand is the usual 4.8% and stronger….so it would seems it’s OK to get pissed in a pub, if you can afford it, but not at home!
3. Swetdish Fika is a coffee and cake culture that is very common in Stockholm and the 2 main cakes for this are a stodgy (and delicious!) chocolate cake or a cinnamon bun. Unbeknownst to us, we had actually experienced and enjoyed both before even being aware of the Fika culture….we are obviously more Swedish than we actually realised! Apparently many Swedish companies allow for multiple Fika breaks in a day….obviously the place to work if you think you need to pile on the pounds.
4. In the southern part of Sweden there are apparently 257 people per square km. in the north of the country there are only 3….a lonely old world up there, but obviously fewer cars and trucks so maybe an option for another cycling trip??
5. In the summer Stockholm gets about 18 hours-a-day sunshine. That is probably 16 hours at the moment, which is why we are wide awake at 4am most mornings!
6. The chevron warning signs at the side of roads seem to be colour-coordinated to match their national flag colours of blue and yellow. Has this been done on purpose??
7. Despite it being the home of ABBA, we haven’t heard a single ABBA song in our week here…but all the tourist boats in Stockholm were named after an ABBA song…we sailed on Dancing Queen and saw Voulez Vous.
8. Mashed potato seems to be served with every meal, rather than chips which tends to the the UK staple. It was like being back in Ireland…
9. Buses have phone chargers in the ceiling…excellent idea. Why isn’t this a universal thing??!
10. While we have both heard cuckoos in May in various countries, we have definitively heard more here than any other place. Maybe it’s because there are more trees and forests, who knows….we even heard and saw 2 cuckoos have a fight on one of our campsites, which was a first!
11. We through Sweden was relatively flat, but we did encounter quite a few hills coming into Stockholm which surprised us.
12. Apparently 1 in 6 people in Sweden own a boat.
Am sure we could have found out a lot of this on Google and maybe they are not all unique to Sweden but its what we experienced on our great adventure here – and despite a fairly unimpressive start, we had a great time in the country and especially Stockholm. (Main pic).