What were your impressions of visiting Sweden?The first time I went to Sweden was 40 years ago, so I barely remember it, but I have been there several times in recent years and make the following observations:
- If you arrive from Germany, Sweden seems ungodly expensive. Even a 7-Eleven store seems beyond the means of a normal budget and McDonalds has gourmet pricing for the same old same old.
- If you arrive from Norway, Sweden seems like a bargain. You can actually buy a nice meal for less than $45.
- If you arrive from France, Sweden feels like it might be controlled by the Women's Christian Temperance Union as the few Systembolaget stores where you can actually buy wine are closed during the times when you might actually want to consume it, closing at the ungodly -- or it is godly? -- hour of 15:00 on Saturdays.
- If you arrive from Teheran, which I have never done, it probably feels decadent. If you second mortgage your home, you can routinely afford to drink a half liter of beer with your dinner.
- If you arrive from the 70's, every Swedish woman looks like Agnetha Fältskog or maybe her progeny. If you have to ask who she is, you obviously didn't arrive from the 70's when ABBA ruled the world.
- If you arrive from the USA and decide you'd love to marry one of those beautiful Swedish women, think again. While she might consent to be the mother of your children, the Swedish woman is less likely to want to marry you. [Actually, marriage rates have nudged up a bit in the last several decades].
Our visit to Sweden was brief but consequential - a relatively "small" country in terms of population (definitely not land!), but much larger in terms of what they do and how they live. My impression of this "quiet" land and its people was limited to their unusual linguistic and info-tech abilities, two areas of particular interest, but the one thing we noticed upon entering was their very unique architecture and color schemes,
For me, Sweden is an oasis of sanity. For example, if you are tired of people:
- screaming about their religion,
- denying science,
- not fitting into grocery store aisles, or
- speaking least-common-denominator English
There was very little that was hard for me to acclimatize to. Here are some of the things I remember:
- In December, the darkness is pretty extreme. It is easy to forget just how far north this country is.
- The girls are comically pretty. For example, I once wanted to ask a police officer a question. Before approaching the officer, I spent several minutes making sure she wasn't a movie star in the middle of filming a scene.
- It's not so much that Sweden is expensive per se, but prices are extremely hard for Americans to predict. IIRC, a 400-mile first-class train ticket was 1/3 the price of the cheapest haircut in Stockholm. (In the US, a first class ticket from D.C. to NYC would be about 20 times the cost of a basic haircut.)
I visited Sweden last year with my ex-partner. We travelled around Scandinavia for five weeks and probably spent about two weeks there.
We drove over the bridge from Copenhagen. At first we were worried they wouldn't let us in. When we crossed the border, the police officer asked us to park to the side. Then another officer approached us. We told him we were Australian and without even looking at our passports, he let us continue.
I really loved Sweden. It'a a beautiful place. Lots of beautiful forests and lakes. Stockholm is easily one of the most beautiful cities I visited in Europe.
Swedish people are awesome. Very friendly and they speak English very well. I quite liked the food too. The weather was really good too but we went in summer. I thought it would be much colder.
I think it is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Europe. But it is very expensive (though not as expensive as Norway), so that is probably why.
PS - I love that you can buy sausages (Polse) at service stations.
As Mr Leo Mir wrote, all visitors find that colors are perceived to be stronger and clearer and deeper than in most other metropolitans, such as can only be experienced in some high montain areas. The reason is that the air is fresh, clear - almost crispy - as a familiar from Florida said; you can almost bite it.
The light also falls more shallow becouse of the nearer localisation to the Pole that creates sharp contours and high contrast. True paradise for city photographers.
The Swedes speak not only excellent English (and other major languages - which can actually be a disadvantage for permanent visitors, because they can never get a chace to learn Swedish) but the Swedish accent is also very pleasant and not so sharp compared to some other languages.
It kept up with my expectations a lot. Outstanding nature to enjoy when the weather is good (pretty rare I have to say, but other things about Sweden can make up for it). The people were extremely polite, and seeing me as a stranger they wouldn't mind helping me when needed. I'm definitely planning to go back in the future. The city where I stayed (Gothenburg) was extremely nice and clean, and would definitely advice other people about going there.
The only thing I regret is probably that I haven't been able to understand in detail how the swedes were due to my short stay. I have a feeling that I needed more time to integrate better, but they made my stay extremely easy and comfortable. (never felt a stranger)