With a terrible delay, here I am writing about my impressions on my first trip to Sweden with my boyfriend Matt, which occurred between end of February and beginning of March 2015. We stayed in the county of Skåne (Scania): Malmö, Skurup and the surroundings; while also visiting Copenhagen in Denmark.
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27th February, around 7 o’ clock. It was a rainy Friday morning and we (me, Matt and my parents) were all crammed inside my dad’s tiny car. The old Seat Marbella was struggling to go forward, with the weight of four persons and two luggage bags, and with considerable amount of rainwater gushing through the cracks of the bonnet. At one point, we almost grinded to a halt but in the end we made it to the airport in time for check-in.
We were flying to Sweden, my boyfriend’s country of origin, to visit his family. But first we had to stop elsewhere: Munich for the connecting flight and Copenhagen, our flight’s final destination.
This was my second time travelling abroad, with the first one being only two months before. This time, the anxiety of being on a plane gave way to another uncomfortable feeling: boredom. Despite having a book to read (An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington… the perfect choice for a holiday read, I must say), I was still bored and restless. I think that one has to be either very used to it or else not caring for the situation at all, if the time sitting on a plane is used for sleeping and watching movies. Sleeping… for me that’s out of the question. I tried, I really wanted to sleep, but how could I, with all the noisy people in such a tight space next to me? In any case, both flights went well and a little before 5pm we landed in the Kastrup airport, Copenhagen.
From there we had to take the train to Malmö. Here came my first new experience, one of the many “firsts” that I had during this trip: I had never been on a train yet. Yes because if any of you is wondering, Malta (my country) does not have any trains. Unfortunately, I could not enjoy my first time on a train as we had to remain standing next to the doors with our bags. Besides that, it was already dark, therefore I had no perception of the environment outside the train. Luckily, the trip was quite quick and in no time we were at the station in Malmö, where we were greeted by our hosts, Tom and Ker.
We left in their car for the town of Skurup, where we would be staying during all our visit. It was in the car that I first started to take in the Swedish atmosphere. Grey skies, modern buildings, typical houses with slanting roofs, endless highways cutting through vast fields of green, trees mostly undressed from their foliage. Inside that car, I felt like a small child opening the first Christmas gifts. I was enthralled, eager to immerse myself completely in the Nordic environment.
The enchantment stayed with me as we entered the neighbourhood in which we were going to live. The street was lined on both sides with small to medium-sized cute houses, surrounded by green lawns. I felt like in a movie, I was not expecting such charm in Skurup. Our hosts’ house was delightful on the inside as much as on the outside. I took in the parquet, wooden decor and all-around cosiness. We were to have the ground floor all for us, consisting of a sweet, spacious guest room and a small bathroom which, lo and behold, also had central heating! I couldn’t believe it… central heating in a bathroom? It sounded like luxury to me.
Central heating, in general, was an issue which I hadn’t pondered enough back in Malta. I had packed for a very cold weather but I hadn’t considered that I would be spending a lot of time inside various relatives’ homes. So throughout my stay, I ended up ditching some thick garments and keeping just one layer of clothes while my new puffed coat kept me warm enough outside too. Our hostess had already told us in the car that Sweden was experiencing an “early spring”, with the weather being warmer than usual. That meant that there was barely any chance of seeing snow. It made me sad; as a Maltese person who had just begun to travel abroad, I wanted to see snow so badly (remember that there is no snow in Malta).
The day was coming to an end. After we unpacked, we had a nice take-out dinner with our hosts, where I could witness more Swedish talk. It was naturally awkward for me to sit through the conversation without being able to understand, even though I was often involved when they directly asked me questions about my life (in English, of course). Yet it was interesting to learn of their speaking habits. They’re all very quiet people (not loud and brash like the Maltese). I noticed as well some little particular things like the aspired “Ja” (Yes).
After the meal, we retired to our room and laid down on the bed until sleep conquered us. The day after would be the start of Matt’s familial duties but also the start of my sightseeing, thanks to our hosts’ help. Let the discovery of Sweden begin!
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