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Swedish meatballs & Island life

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When you think of Sweden, a few things may come to mind. 

Swedish meatballs.

Blonde hair, blue eyed Swedish gods. A.K.A. Swedish guys.

Or maybe the swede. The purply root vegetable that looks like a turnip….

 

OK, maybe not the last one….

Whatever you think when you hear ‘Sweden’, I am going to let you in on

my adventures in the pretty land of all that is Sweden.

It was in June of this year – I’d just finished my exams for my second

year at university and having the travel bug as I do…

A trip to celebrate being halfway through my degree was inevitably

on the cards.

One of my housemates is half Swedish, so we thought –

why not Sweden?

It’s somewhere different

Free accommodation staying with my housemate’s family

Ryanair return flight all in for less than £35

I was sold.

 

Take a deep breath & marvel at Sweden’s beauty

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What I remember of Sweden is the long open roads with tall pine trees

on either side, outstretched and disappearing into the forest.

It was a sight to see as my head hung out the window,

I was left thinking, wow.

Although Sweden is home to beautiful rivers and lakes, there is also

lush greenery that covers the land. Hands down, Sweden for it’s

landscape alone is one of the most amazing places I have visited.

Whether you want to lay in the grass and catch shade underneath a

pine tree, get your boots on and go explore the woods or go for a run

around an idyllic lake. Sweden has got it all covered.

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But beauty comes at a price you say?

Yes. Despite the cheap ryanair flight, staying in Sweden may not be

so nice to your bank account once you get there.

It is quite expensive to go out, eat out, just living in general

For instance, my Swedish friend told me a shot in a club could cost £10

But it’s all relative, in Sweden the average hourly wage is around £15

 

Although Sweden may be expensive

You get what you pay for

Ryanair is neither comfy nor great service

That’s why flights can cost peanuts

But Sweden is beautiful, very clean and just a delight to the eyes

This is what you are paying for.

 

Swedish meatballs ain’t got nothing on IKEA

No exaggeration. I had one of the best meals of my life in Sweden.

I’d tried IKEA meatballs, they were good – don’t get me wrong.

But when my friend’s aunt cooked us proper homemade Swedish

meatballs…there was no comparison.

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The traditional dish looks something like this…

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As well as a gravy, the meatballs are served with lingonberry sauce.

So great. However, if you don’t happen to have any Swedish friends

who can cook you all this homemade – when you go out to eat, order

the meatballs. You won’t regret it.

On the subject of food, let’s talk snacks.

Let’s talk ‘fika’.

‘Fika’ is the typical Swedish snack eaten at around 3 or 4 o’clock.

‘Fika’ can be a cup of tea, an ice cream, a cake…

it’s just another excuse to eat really!

Amen.

 

Paradise Island

Sweden is made up of many stunning islands.

You just have to go out there and find them for yourself!

When I went to Stockholm in June, me and my friends took a ferry out

to a picturesque island called Grinda.

Whether it was because we went in early June and school holidays

hadn’t started yet or just because we were lucky – the island wasn’t too

busy and we managed to grab our own spot on the rocks looking out at

the never-ending sea that is a Swedish paradise.

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A few Swedish traditions…

If you go into any Swedish household or a Swedish game shop, you are

guaranteed to find the game ‘Yahtzee’.

Let me explain…

‘Yahtzee’ is a very traditional game which involves 5 dice and not much

else. Each turn you pass the dice round and each round will ask for a

different dice combination.

For instance, all 5’s. 2 pairs. Yahtzee…which is 5 of the same number.

Once you get started and you’re on a roll, it’s difficult to stop!

 

As well as being a clean country, Sweden is also pretty polite…

When you go to the supermarket in Sweden it is custom to lay out all

your products in a single file line on the conveyor belt with the barcode

facing the scanner. Just to make life easier for everyone.

 

Now let’s talk politeness at meal times.

This is one politeness rule I found tricky.

At meal times, you should not take huge portions in one go.

It is frowned upon; instead you should pace yourself.

A concept I don’t really understand and one that goes against all my

Italian instincts.

So hold back, lower your fork…

And don’t eat all the meatballs in one go!

 

Swedish language

The Swedish language is by far not the easiest.

Being a language student, when I travel I always like to learn at least a

few words.

Here’s the basics:

  • Hey/Hi – Hej (the ‘j’ is pronounced like a ‘y’)
  • Thanks – Tak
  • Thanks very much – tack så mycket (‘mycket’ is pronounced
  • ‘mm-ki-e’)
  • Your welcome – Varsågod (pronounced as ‘Va-sha-guuud’)

My favourite Swedish word is ‘hallonbergen’ which means

‘raspberry mountain’.

I only remember it because it was the name of the tube station which

we took every day.

The word might come in handy…one day?

 

Sweden is a place that you will never forget: for the food, the stunning

landscape….and the Swedish people aren’t too bad to look at either!

Also Stockholm is the place to be! A bit more expensive but with a lot

more to offer…

Whether you go in the winter, the summer, or find yourself there for

National Swedish day (as I did, which made a happy coincidence).

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Celebrating National Swedish Day, just minus the Swedish meatballs

and more with the German hamburger…

 

Whenever you go – it’s worth checking out what cheap flights are on

offer and booking yourself a ticket.

Just DO it!

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