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.
Read the previous posts:
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Day 10 – Departure
My last hours in Skurup were as sombre as the sky.
In the backseat of our hostess’s car, still groggy with sleep, I stared hard for the last time at the green fields contoured with trees. After 10 days, this scenery should have become boring but in reality I wasn’t yet tired of it. I wanted to take it in as much as I could because I knew I wouldn’t find its exact replica back in Malta.
Moving away from Skurup, the grey clouds disappeared and by the time we arrived in Malmö, the sky was blue and immaculate. We arrived at Farmor’s place, where we would be spending our last couple of hours in Sweden, and thanked and bid goodbye to our hostess.
There wasn’t much for me to do at Farmor’s, besides watching morning tv shows (which I couldn’t understand), listening to Matt talking to his granny (again, it was mostly in Swedish), and drinking coffee (which I had gotten used to by then). It was a little boring but it was my last opportunity to experience the Swedish home life.
The time came for Farmor to drive us to the Triangeln station, where we would be taking the train to Copenhagen’s airport. In the moment of our farewell, I was perplexed but also happy when, with tears in her eyes, she hugged me and told me how much she had liked me.
We bought our train tickets and went underground to wait for the train, when suddenly we were shocked to see Farmor behind us once again! She had found a parking space and came after us to see us leave. The moment did not last too long though as the train soon arrived, on time as always.
This time I was very attentive on the train, looking outside the window to catch the moment when we were to travel over the sea. Unfortunately I could only check the window in front of me, which was lined by other passengers. Matt was happily chatting away with an elderly lady who had a sweet dog with her. When we started crossing the sea, I could almost feel a lump in my throat as I saw the city of Malmö becoming smaller in the distance.
At the airport in Kastrup, we had some free time after check-in so we went around the Departures area. I spotted a Starbucks and I said to myself, “This is it! I am going to try it before it’s too late.” I ordered a caramel frappucino and gave the barista my short name to write on the cup, to avoid awkward situations. I paid for it in Euros and got Danish coins as change, which I later dropped in a charity donation box.
We sat down looking at the airplanes (mostly SAS) coming in and out while we shared the frappuccino. It was definitely tasty but then I thought, is it really worth buying a branded drink? My answer is no, not if I have to buy a drink on a regular basis. However I will not rule out trying this brand again!
Our first flight to Frankfurt went smooth, although my uneasiness aboard the plane kept increasing. We were now facing three hours before our final flight back to Malta. We thought that we would check in easily and then find a place where to relax until the time’s up. We were so mistaken.
The downside of travelling with a small airline means that we can’t check in electronically by ourselves. So our priority was to find the transfer area. We asked staff, travelled long and changed levels (naturally the airport is huge) but we couldn’t find it; or rather, we were perhaps expecting something different. That is until we finally reached the area, spotted our airline’s counter and… there was a long queue. The counter hadn’t even opened yet.
The wait was long, probably close to an hour. My only distraction was looking at the flight screens, which gave me the only amusement when I spotted “Lisgabon” – supposedly Lisbon. By the time we were ready, there wasn’t even an hour of free time left. We stopped at the only eatery that we found, even though the previous stressful process had killed my appetite. I went for frankfurters just so that I could make the pun “eating frankfurters in Frankfurt.” It was nothing to write home about, like most of other airport food.
At last, the time for our flight came and after a couple of hours, we were in my parents’ car, heading back to our place. Tired, a little confused perhaps, but still with lingering warm memories of Sweden.
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This is the end of my journey. It took me too long to finish the series and I also wrote more posts than I had initially planned. However, going into detail was essential in this case because this trip to Sweden was important and, why not, even life-changing.
It was, first and foremost, something personal. The title Sweden, My Love has a purpose which is definitely not a marketing tagline. It was my first visit to my boyfriend’s homeland and my first meeting with his relatives, so the main reason behind this trip was certainly intimate. The warm welcome that I’ve received from everyone made my stay extra special; I felt accepted.
As much of what I wrote also denotes, it was a list of firsts for me. My first time in the North, my first time on a train, my first snow, my first time in a forest. Surprisingly, it has been also a culinary experience for me. It very much felt like I was being reborn and going through what I should have already lived a long time ago. A late bloomer but better than missing out on this goodness.
Lastly, it was also a myth-defying experience. Besides the relatives’ gentle acceptance, I will also cherish the memory of the warm salespersons and the people of Skurup who greeted us while walking in the neighbourhood. My impression was not of a cold Sweden, at least not entirely. Funnily enough, even the weather was clement, although I will not hope for a repeat next time.
Oh yes, because there will be a next time. At the risk of writing a cliché, I want to say “See you Sweden.” Matt and I have already half-planned to go back there at different times of the year so that I can experience the country in all seasons. I can’t wait to go back to my second home.