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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On Monday morning we woke up for the first time in an empty house. Our hosts had left for their jobs by 8:15am but not before leaving a pot full of freshly made coffee in the kitchen, together with a cute sticky note in which they encourage us to make use of all supplies in the fridge and cupboards. And that’s what we do. By then I had already formed a definite breakfast menu: two slices of bread, one with ham and one with either kaviar or räkost (prawn cheese) and a cup of Swedish coffee with just one or two teaspoons of sugar. Once I also tried liver paste on my bread; tasty but I can’t say that I go crazy for anything that has to do with liver!
Before I put on my coat, scarf and woolly hat, I run back to the kitchen to fill up my plastic bottle with tap water. I find it amazing how you can have as much water as you want from the tap without any fear. That’s an amount of money saved from the shopping bill at the supermarket.
Then we leave for Skurup train station. The destination, once again, is Malmö.
Being the first time on the train in daylight, I could see better the environment outside, although Matt sat next to the window. I could see lots of fields, wind turbines, trees, pretty train stations, curious buildings and… some more fields and trees. I also had a ball hearing the voice announcing the stops, while trying to imitate the accent (“Svedala” is still my favourite name to pronounce).
We stopped at Triangeln station and I took a better look at its futuristic ambience. We soon made our way to the Triangeln shopping mall, just a few steps away from the station. Our main objective for the day was to find a good winter jacket for Matt. The shopping mall is very big so we were optimistic about finding one. I lost the count of the number of clothes shops we entered and exited (sometimes within a few seconds of entering). Of course, there had to be an H&M store too. That was my first time at H&M since unfortunately we do not have it in Malta. Anyway, the only jacket we found to Matt’s tastes was in the last shop that we entered and unluckily, they didn’t have his size!
While going around the mall, I felt extremely hot and I had to take off my puffed jacket, the scarf and eventually even the hat and had to carry them in my arms. I felt a bit silly. I was also irritated and kept asking why they had to keep the temperature so high when it wasn’t such a freezing weather outside. Exhausted and boiling hot, I finally announced that I needed a cold drink.
We chose to stop at the Espresso House, a big coffee shop chain in Sweden. In there, I was going to have my first fika. Fika is a coffee/tea break, once or twice (or more?) a day and it’s regarded as a social activity. I ordered an ice latte and a kanelbulle – a cinnamon roll – which was made in an atypical square form. The sitting area was bustling and nicely decorated with a bookshelf and cushioned sofas. I sensed that everything was expensive and I felt guilty for this unwarranted stop, but I was so glad to have a cold drink and a fill of sugar. It totally energised me.
We exited the mall from the other side, next to the Scandic Hotel. By that time, it had started to rain; just a light shower but we still waited for it to stop before we went on our way. I was also greeted by a loud, intermittent noise which freaked me out. I would learn later on that it’s the Civil Defense siren which is tested every first Monday of every 3 months. It was just my luck that I happened to be in Sweden at the ‘right time’ to witness this event. Until this day, I keep wondering what would happen if something serious had to occur right at the same time as the test and the Swedes ignore it…
Brief rain showers kept pouring on us while we were browsing more clothes shops on a main street. The search for a good jacket remained fruitless, yet we still walked on in the rain – after all, I still wanted to do some sightseeing and take photos. We passed from Gustav Adolfs torg, a large, crowded square named after a Swedish king. From there, we walked on to Stortorget (Big Square) where I bought some postcards and souvenirs. The Malmö Town Hall overlooks this square and there’s a statue of King Charles X Gustav in the centre. Lastly, we visited Lilla Torg (Small Square) which was absolutely my favourite.
Going back through Gustav Adolfs torg, we crossed the Södra Förstadskanalen – the canal that passes through the city. In doing so, we passed next to Gamla kyrkogården, a pretty-looking cemetery. Unfortunately we didn’t walk inside – I have this insane liking for cemeteries. Turning to the right, around the cemetery area, we arrived in front of the Stadsbiblioteket, Malmö’s public library. The first building is the old original one while a few steps away from it is the new library. It’s tough to decide which one looks better: the old one definitely looks nicer in terms of architecture but the new one – having a metallic look and covered from top to bottom with glass that enables you to see the patrons and high bookshelves inside – certainly makes for an interesting view. I hope that next time I’m there, I can go inside!
After creepily staring some more at the readers inside the new library, we crossed back to the canal’s side, where we spotted a group of ducks marching around a tree. We stopped for a quick dinner a little further away, at a falafel kiosk. We each had a spicy falafel wrap, which we ate there outside the kiosk. A curious, hungry duck kept us company, begging us with her small beady eyes for some crumbs. We actually fed her several pieces – falafel, salad and tortilla wrap. She voraciously gulped down everything whilst fighting off the intrusion of gulls and fellow ducks. Forget about hungry wolves; this duck helped me with coining a new idiom – “hungry like the falafel duck”. I still use this phrase sometimes, when I get really hungry.
The dinner marked the end of our day in Malmö. We walked back through Södra Förstadsgatan to the Triangeln square, in front of Scandic, to wait for our hostess to pick us up in her car. I really enjoyed my day in the city, despite the unsuccessful jacket search and the bad weather. At least it was that kind of rain that is pleasant to walk under. I looked forward to return the next day and was hoping for a better weather since I was promised a visit to one of the parks. See you again soon, beautiful Malmö!
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