Looking back, the nicest thing about our brief weekend in Sweden was getting a snapshot of life as it unfolds in this part of the world. I only spent two days there, but they allowed me to sample the country – just as you sometimes take a bite out of an apple and get a feel for its full flavour.
Sweden seems to be a mix of two different ways of living: the quiet way, which you can find throughout the small islands, towns and villages. Nature is all around and, amidst the pine trees and the cold, fresh air, the few houses here and there remind you that, yes, the area is still inhabited by people. We walked the trails around Nykoping on our Saturday morning there. It was a well-deserved “walk through the park”, although, on this occasion, “the park” was considerably larger than the ones in London. It was the end of November, but the landscape and the air felt like Christmas morning; I assume you would expect that in a country so far up in the North of Europe.
The other way is the life of the cities. I can only speak about Stockholm, and perhaps my perception is skewed, since life in capital cities tends to be more animated than anywhere else: imagine a vibrant place, minutely organised, similarly to the main cities in Austria. Architecturally, it’s a mixture of tall Roman buildings, just like the ones you find on Regent Street (ironically), sprinkled with what I recognised as Dutch and local design influence. People swarm the streets throughout the day; still, in pure Scandinavian style, they snuggle up in warm clothes to protect themselves from the blanket of cold temperatures outside.