As some of you know, I went to Sweden for the second time from 9th to 16th September. I came back home with much more than I ever expected. Even though I planned a few specific visits to new places with Matt, I thought that living in the same small town (Skurup) and visiting the city of Malmö multiple times wouldn’t provide significant new experiences. Luckily, I was wrong.
I don’t want to write a detailed diary trip like I did last time. That was my first visit, therefore it required some details. This time, I am going to list my new experiences, my repeated experiences, and some regrets or missed opportunities.
1. Travel – This time we flew with Norwegian Air and therefore we reached Copenhagen directly without any stops. Another different experience was going through the immigration ID checks in Denmark before crossing the Öresund bridge and on arrival in Malmö. It went quicker than expected, maybe because it was past midnight and there were fewer travellers.
2. Weather – Surprisingly, the weather was great every single day. And by great, I mean HOT, with an occasional light breeze and barely any cloud in sight! It was around 25 degrees Celcius every day and I could go around in t-shirts. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring enough t-shirts with me, so I ended up making my first purchase from an H&M store ever (two tops).
3. Going South – On the first day, our hosts – Tom and Ker, relatives of Matt – needed to drive to Trelleborg and so we went on an unexpected trip with them. Trelleborg is the southernmost city in Sweden. From there, we took a coastal road back to Skurup and on the way we stopped at Smygehuk, the southernmost point of all Sweden. The atmosphere there felt more like a holiday, with many people strolling about and eating ice-cream (we did too!).
4. IKEA – One of our planned trips was to this huge furniture store in Svågertorp, Malmö. This brand is not available in Malta so it was a first for me. Not only was I amazed by their range of cosy, affordable furniture but I was also surprised to see that they have a big restaurant inside the store. Some people actually love to go to IKEA for the food after some window-shopping. I had meatballs (and kanelbulle for dessert) and they were quite tasty.
5. Culture vulture – I managed to satisfy some of my museum cravings, thanks to Matt’s patience. In fact, he took me to Malmöhus slott, i.e. the Malmö Castle, which houses a museum. In there, I found lots of classical art and cultural and natural history, as well as contemporary exhibitions. We also paid a short visit to the nearby Teknikens och Sjöfartens hus (Technical Museum) with the same ticket. Last but not least, I finally went inside the Malmö library! It was amazing to witness this notable piece of architecture from within.
6. Improvised picnic – One day we were too tired to travel. But instead of moping inside the house, we decided to buy lunch from the confectionery/cafe (Conditori Centrum) and have a small picnic at a park in Skurup. We had lunch on the grass and we fed a whole army of ducks and birds near the pond (captained by Mama Goose). It was amazing and relaxing to walk around, rest on a bench sheltered entirely by trees and watch school kids jog and ride bicycles.
7. Nature – Besides the park in Skurup, I visited other green corners in the city of Malmö. I went to Magistratsparken, where one can find some of the biggest trees, and to Beijers Park. I briefly visited Kungsparken and Slottsparken after the museum trip, but unfortunately, we were both too tired to walk around. Even back in Skurup, I got a different taste of nature in those cosy neighbourhoods. Once again, we spotted some wild rabbits. Right on the last evening, we first saw a baby bunny hopping into a bush and then a big rabbit sitting peacefully on the grass, unperturbed by passers-by. We also saw a small hedgehog walking on a house’s lawn (sadly it was too dark for videos or photos) as well as a cute domestic cat taking a stroll. And on one other particular night, we saw an unidentified creature hopping up a lane and later I thought it might have been a badger (if that was the case, it was a good thing that he was headed towards the opposite direction!).
8. Al fresco dinner in Skurup – One evening, when we had no family meetings, we opted for a dinner at one of the restaurants in Skurup. We chose Skurups Pizzeria, one of the many pizzerias available, and had our dinner at an outdoor table. We were the only customers dining there as everyone else was coming for takeaway and the street was rather quiet and semi-deserted. I wish I could have such peaceful meals in Maltese restaurants.
Nice experiences I loved to relive
1. Hospitality – I was extremely happy to be back in our hosts’ house in Skurup. It’s really cosy and it was nice to spend some time with them when they weren’t at work.
2. Breakfasts – I’m not a breakfast person here at home, so breakfasts in Sweden are still a big thing for me. I can now deal better with the strong Swedish coffee and I’m always experimenting with sandwich toppings. It’s funny how my appetite gets up when I’m there.
3. Jansson’s is still a temptation – For our first lunch with Farmor (Grandma), she made once again Janssons frestele (Jansson’s temptation). I still love it! On the table, there were also meatballs, salmon, bread, kaviar and eggs, making it a mini smörgåsbord. I found my culinary heaven.
4. Late dinners at the kiosk – Twice we went back to the kiosk in Skurup for a quick dinner of sausages and fries. Had we lived there permanently, this place could have been our biggest guilty pleasure.
5. Falafel near the library – I’m talking too much about food, I promise this is the last one! Like last time, we had a falafel wrap at a popular kiosk close to the library in Malmö. Like the Skurup kiosk, this seems to be becoming a tradition for us. This time, I was less clement with the ducks and birds demanding bites because I was terribly hungry and tired from all the walking.
6. Skurup’s perfect neighbourhoods – At least to me they appear to be perfect. Rows of big houses with flowers and fruit trees separated by lawns and lanes. It’s always nice to walk towards the train station and enjoy the calm ambience and it’s even nicer when some of the passers-by say “hej” to us.
Regrets or missed opportunities
1. Lund – Matt was planning to take me to Lund since I’m fascinated by the international student life there. Unfortunately, after our trips to IKEA and the museum in Malmö, we were drained of energy and so we gave up on the idea. But I wasn’t too sad about it since Lund was never in our original plan. We’ll make sure we visit it next time.
2. Johannamuseet – Once again, I missed the chance of visiting this vintage museum in Skurup. The walking distance is a little too much and it seems that no one shares my interest in retro things. Sigh. Maybe next time I’ll succeed.
3. Photos – I didn’t bring my camera with me because a) we needed to travel light and b) I’m still not confident with handling it. As always, I took a lot of photos with my phone. In fact, on the day I went to the museum and library, I almost ran out of battery. They aren’t anything great but they’re good enough. I was always preoccupied with not taking good or enough photos. On the other hand, sometimes I regretted snapping too many shots, fearing that I missed some of the live experience.
4. Speaking Swedish – After learning some basics for the past two and a half months, I could say a little more than “hej” and “tack” but not much. I was too embarrassed and my memory was playing tricks. At least, I managed to randomly mumble “tack för maten” (thanks for the food) and “jag pratar lite svenska” (I speak a little Swedish).
For my second and last post about this trip to Sweden, I want to write a little information about the particular places I visited in Malmö, Skurup, Trelleborg and Smygehuk. So, keep an eye on the blog in the coming days!