Why I love Sweden

I was lucky to have a short visit to my homeland (look at this blog title if you didn’t guess it) and since some people ask why I love it, I decided to write this blog post.

Disclaimer: this is my highly subjective opinion on why Sweden is the best country (for me).

There are several points which I present below.

Scenery. Swedish scenery is truly breathtaking. In my opinion it consists of proper mix of rocks, water and trees. If you add more rocks you’ll get Norway (I should see it one day, Oslo doesn’t count). If you add more trees, you’ll get East Siberia. If you add more water you’ll get Sumpfstadt with its roundabouts (for non-Germans: less official name for Berlin). If you get it right, you get a country with wonderful lakes, impressive mountains, pretty fjords and forests making it all even more beautiful — in other words, Sweden.

I cannot say that I’ve seen all Sweden, but I’ve been to Malmö, Lund, Göteborg, Stockholm, Västerås, Gävle, Sundsvall and Ultima Lule (never went past it though I’ll try net time). While those places are mostly near coast, they are situated in different regions and I’ve seen a lot of different scenery on roads connecting them (like E4 between Luleå and Sundsvall or train between Stockholm and Malmö). In Southern and Central Sweden one can see green or yellow fields, but mostly it’s lakes, forests and occasional elk (yes, they live not only in souvenir shops). And I’ve seen young deer hopping on the street at Stora Essingen (that’s almost centre of Stockholm).

Food. You should know that saying about path to man’s heart. My stomach agrees: Sweden is a good place to live. Traditional Swedish food is simple and good, especially herring, bread and cheeses. And traditional sauce for meat and köttbullar (that sauce is actually lingon jam). Speaking of it, I liked cranberries since my childhood and I found a country where they really love it too (no points for guessing its name). Somehow I like berries that are popular in Sweden and what they do from them: lingonsylt, blåbärsoppa (jag har litet burk hjortronsylt också). Those deers and elks are tasty too.

Drinks. I don’t drink alcoholic drinks, so I really appreciate when you have alternatives (and I won’t touch Coca-cola or Pepsi unless I really don’t have other alternatives, which happened only once so far — in Berlin). And again, there are a lot of drinks to choose from in Sweden with different (and original) tastes available almost everywhere. And some of those drinks have history of decades, like Cuba cola (the first proper Swedish cola) is brewed since 1950s, Julmust/Påskmust is older and Sockerdricka is more than hundred years old.

Special case is Trocadero — national drink of Norrland. I’ve tasted it from five different breweries (Spendrups, Carlsberg, Guttsta Källa, Nyckelbryggerier and Vasa Bryggeri) and would like to return for more.

Also in my opinion Sweden has the best tap water (not to mention that there are not so many countries with drinkable tap water at all), and the best tasting water is in Malmö and Sundsvall (double as good with Vasa Bryggeri).

And while I’m not great dairy products consumer, I found filmjolk to be surprisingly good.

Drunks. That is the thing I definitely don’t like and in Sweden they’ve build good system to prevent drinking in Russian way (like drinking several bottles of vodka and buying a few more in process) and it seems to work fine. Read about Systembolaget for details. Neighbouring countries also have such systems (except Denmark but it sucks in other aspects too).

Other small details. Sweden has a lot of small details for my convenience like supermarket working hours, a bit more comfortable travel: some regional buses have free Wi-Fi, train carriages — even second class — have one power outlet per seat (some regional trains are exception) and 1st class ticket includes Internet access (again, some regional and intercity trains don’t have Internet access) with default site showing your current position on map. And wireless cards used as period tickets in Stockholm are also very convenient.

And since I’m not good in Swedish (I can hardly read something and say simple phrases like “två hekto Västerbotten, är du snäll”) the fact that 90% of Swedish population knows English quite well is extremely convenient to me. I should go to France for comparison.

2 Responses to “Why I love Sweden”

  1. Reimar says:

    To my knowledge the process of getting really drunk in Sweden often involves hiring a truck and buying beer/whatever in Germany or Poland.
    And while I’d consider Swedish food good enough, the bread is usually not really great, and I think the sausages can at best be described as horrible.

  2. Jonathan Wilson says:

    Sweden has given us so many wonderful things including IKEA