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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The weather on Sunday morning was even worse than the days before. As I peeked through the blinds of our room, all I could see was darkness and rain. That meant that the walk in the forest which we were promised the day before by our hosts had to be cancelled.
We went upstairs for breakfast and as we were preparing it, I looked out from the window again. The rain was very light but at the same time the drops looked ‘fat’. I stared harder and asked Matt to confirm my suspicion. Indeed, it was not just a rain shower. There was a hint of snow mingled with the rain! It was just around 9 a.m. in the morning but my day was already made: I was experiencing snow for the first time!
Well… ‘snow’. It could hardly be called that. The air wasn’t cold enough for it to set for long. However I was quick to take some photos of wherever I could see it piling up in the house’s yard. It wasn’t that much but I was still thrilled to see at least some snow, when less than two days before I was convinced that I wouldn’t see any.
Snow disappeared as quietly as it had appeared but the light rain stayed. This did not stop us from going out by car. We went to a sports clothing store with the hope of finding Matt a winter jacket. He had left Malta with a thin woolen jacket which might not be enough for Sweden’s cold. Our hunt was fruitless though, so we moved to the ICA supermarket next door for groceries. It wasn’t very big but there were many shoppers. The thing that amused me most was a stand full of tubes. In Sweden, it’s common to have food in tubes such as caviar, cheese and liver paste. I had never seen so many tubes on one stand.
As we were on the way to the counter, my amusement turned into shock when I saw a whole aisle full of candy, the pick-and-mix kind. I already knew that Swedes love candy – in Malta we have a shop with Scandinavian candy – but to see an entire aisle dedicated to that kind of candy in a supermarket was glorious. I resisted the call to take a bag and fill it up so instead I picked a Marabou bar and a couple of snacks to have on our daily trips or at night.
We queued at the counter as I was still staring back at the candy section. You have to know that standing in queues is one of the first things that you have to learn about Sweden; it’s a sacrilege if you don’t queue, in any place. I also noticed that the employees at the counter were extremely polite in greeting us customers and all wore a smile on their face. So very unlike the Maltese supermarkets, I thought (to be fair, in smaller grocery stores, the Maltese are much warmer).
Back home, we still had a long wait for the family dinner. So, on our hostess’ suggestion, Matt showed me another typical Swedish thing that has to do with food: mellanmål. This is a snack to have between meals. Ours was very typical: sliced boiled eggs on top of knäckebröd (crisp bread) spread with butter and all topped with Kalles kaviar. That is actually the correct (or best) way of eating Kalles, with boiled eggs. It was delicious, as you can deduce from the photo of me pigging out.
The guests for dinner arrived later in the afternoon: Farmor and the hosts’ son, who works at the airport. It’s normal in Sweden to have dinner early, between 5 and 6 in the evening, but ours was at around 3 p.m., half way between lunch and dinner. We had seafood which was bought from Limhamn the day before. I had no idea what kind of fish it was and it was probably the first time that I ate fish that was not out of a frozen pack. It was accompanied by shrimps in a delicious creamy sauce and salad. I enjoyed it and had two portions which were not so big – I was too afraid of overeating so I stopped my greedy, growling stomach from dictating me. I was also very tense because I am not used to sitting for dinner with many people and I was afraid of spilling half of my food on the table cloth while pouring it onto my plate (it is common in Swedish meals to have all the dishes in the middle of the table and each one is passed around). Eventually, everyone spilled on the cloth at some point.
It was a little awkward because of that and all the Swedish talk, although I was very glad that all of them spoke good English and we ended up discussing about travelling and how to afford business class flight tickets. It turned out to be a pleasant meal after all. We concluded with coffee (which I was getting used to) and yummy apple crumble. Then the party moved to the living room until it was time for the guests to leave.
Finally, it was our time to bid goodbye and we sighed with relief as we went back to the room. A whole day with the family can be quite tough for two introverts like us. We planned for the day after as we went to bed – it was going to be a whole day in Malmö, in search of a winter jacket for Matt.
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