Sweden figures among those countries which can generally be found under “Top Ten” UN-Rankings, but this is only one of the many reasons why I decided to go there. This summer vacation, I traveled across the Scandinavian land for four weeks, participating in a program launched by the German Zis Foundation. The latter seeks to offer traveling grants to people journeying alone or on a low budget. It was sometimes challenging, but mostly rich in experiences and interesting people, with whom I collected memories of wonderful times. Here are some impressions I wish to share with you.
Responsible for writing a report on sustainability in Sweden, I arranged some meetings in different cities. At the beginning of my journey, I stayed in Lund, a renowned student town close to Malmö in the South of Sweden. I fell in love with this town—particularly thanks to its colorful houses, depicted on the pictures below. Hopefully you will understand what I mean.
My next stop was Växjö in Smaland, followed by Vimmerby. Have you heard of Astrid Lindgren? She is the author of popular children’s books, featuring characters such as Pippi Langstrumpf or Emil/Michel. Vimmerby, her birthplace, is home to a large theme park in her name, also located near Emil/Michel and Bullerbü’s film sets. Visiting these places overwhelmed me with dreams from my childhood. I then worked on an organic farm near Uppsala. In addition to staying with delightful hosts, I could gaze into a wonderful clear sky replete with stars every night.
My last week was spent in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. I became increasingly familiar with Swedish culture and felt comfortable and safe in this Nordic country. Other than the numerous other stories I could pull out from my chest of memories, what I can do is warmly recommend a stay in there.
Anyone can find a match for his or her interests. Nature lovers particularly will feel in paradise. Sweden is puddled with tens of thousands of lakes and teems with a wide range of plants. You prefer cities? Not a problem. Perhaps compared with other countries, big cities are not Sweden’s distinguishing characteristic, but there are so many opportunities for exploring exciting things that you will not be bored. For instance, more than 80 museums can be visited. Last but not least, are Swedish people.
Although it initially may appear as a rather closed and reserved society because multiple groups of people tend to stay closely knit together, Swedes are great company once contact is taken with them. The language also is no barrier, as almost all can speak English—even those of older age!
For traveling and meeting new people, Sweden is the place-to-be!
by Marie L.