Country number: 17
Territory number: 19
When? A long time ago
How? By car ferry, coming from Denmark, going on to Finland
Who? With Don
‘In Sweden, self-sufficiency and autonomy is all; [interpersonal] debt of any kind, be it emotional, a favour, or cash, is to be avoided at all cost. The Swedes don’t even like to owe a round of drinks.”’
Michael Booth, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
- An overnight ferry from Elsinore (Helsingore) to Helsingborg. No bridges in those days -and not so many Scandi thrillers either.
- North to Stockholm. The scenery the same each side of the road, and in front. Pine trees, fields, lakes and clusters of log cabins.
- The capital has engulfed 14 islands, which require more than 50 bridges to join them, another city with claim to the name ‘Venice of the North’. It’s a beautiful city, set on a large harbour at the mouth of a lake and water taxis shuttle you to the different sights (all the signs are in English) on special tourist day passes. One highlight was the restored Viking warship, the Wasa, which, like the Mary Rose, sank on its maiden voyage
- You can also walk to much of this compact city over the bridges. The cobblestone streets and gabled timbers of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) with the thirteenth-century Storkyrkan Cathedral and the Royal Palace, are especially enticing. The Nobel and ABBA museums have been added since. What a dilemma trying to decide which to visit if time is short. Also, of course, all the modern Scandi chic in the many ultra-stylish shops and cafes.
- Another, overnight, ferry from Stockholm, across the Baltic Sea, to Turku in Finland. There was a very good smorgasbord buffet on board.
Sweden’s name, Sverige, in modern Swedish, derives from the Svear language and means “Our Kingdom.”
Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union in area, yet it has the second lowest population density
Sweden has not participated in any war for almost two centuries, including both world wars.
ABBA is the fourth-best selling music act in history, after Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson.
The Nobel Prizes have been awarded every year in Stockholm since 1901. They are the legacy of Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite in 1866.
Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad.