A Conversation for Sweden

Message from the inhabitants

Post 1

Rzepka

Hello Dave (great name), I just would like to know where in Sweden you are or going, so I could give you some very intelligent tips.

Rzepka


Message from the inhabitants

Post 2

Sam

Hello Rzepka,

Great to hear from you. I'm sorry, but Dave can't answer you at the moment. He's probably carousing in some European bar doing wonders for Euro/American relations. BUT... if you'd like to tell me all about where you live, or ANYTHING at all about Sweden, I'd be delighted to read it, and I'll make sure to pass it on to Dave.

Where abouts do you live, exactly? Your home page says something about the north. We'd be really interested to get a little glimpse of your life there.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sam


Message from the inhabitants

Post 3

Lost in Scotland

Some


Message from an emigrant

Post 4

Lost in Scotland

Some random thoughts about the south-east of Sweden.

Every summer, the south Eastern parts of Sweden gets invaded by tourists from a country situated south of Sweden, on the other side of the Baltic Sea, namely Germany. The germans enjoy the Swedish countryside very much and they really, really like the warning signs for moose on the roads. In fact, they like them so much that for several years, after the germans have returned to the south of the Baltic Sea, there has been a whole lot of moose-warning posts standing around with no signs actually warning for the mooses in question.

The south east of Sweden is generally known as the "Glass Kingodm" since there are a lot of glass factories in that region, including the home of the world famous (at least we like to think so) Orrefors factory. If one finds one's way to any of the glass factories in the region, they can most surely find the rest as well, including the smaller ones that noone really knows about. This is because the glass factories in the region doesn't like the idea of the small ones goes out of business, cause they usually makes pretty fascinating stuff.

The south eastern region is Sweden is also where the town of Kalmar is located.

There are several museums in the town, and the most popular museum is the "Kalmar Länsmuseum" (Kalmar County Museum) which contains a standing exhibition of the excavation of the Regal ship "Kronan" where new items are added every year. The museum has more than 20 000 items that has been excavated from the wreckage of the ship at the depth of 27 metres (90 feet) since the discovery almost 20 years ago.

There is also, in many people's eyes, the most well-preserved Renaissance castle in the north of Europe in Kalmar. The castle's first structure was built in the 12th century and after a reinforcement in the 14th century it was the most important and strongest castle in the North. In 1397, the castle, and in deed the whole town of Kalmar, was in the focus of a major political event in the Scandinavian history, when the Nordic countries were all joined under one regent. This event was called "the Union of Kalmar", and in 1997, the current royal families of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, along with the President of Finland gathered in Kalmar to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the Union of Kalmar.
The appearance of the castle of today is that of a fairy-tale castle ornamented with richly carved paneling, gold-encrusted coffered ceilings, colorful wall paintings and secret passages. This is the product of a heavy restoration done by Gustav Vasa (king of Sweden from 1523-1560) and his two sons during the 16th century.

Just outside the catsle walls lies the "Old Town" of Kalmar, where many well-preserved 17th-18th century buildings invite the visitor to take strolls in a historic environment. During the summer there are guided tours among the winding streets and alleys, but one can also walk around by oneself.
One of the sights in the "Old Town" is the Krusenstiernska House, a 19th century lower aristocracy home with a spacious garden filled with walnut trees, fruit trees and flowers as well as a herbal garden filled with medicinal plants and spices for cooking. The paths through the garden is lined by seashells and there are decorative iron furniture throughout the garden if one feels like sitting down and just soak in the atmosphere.

These thoughts has gone on for long enough, and I shall not detain you any longer.

Lost in Scotland


Message from an emigrant

Post 5

Freedom

A few things about Stockholm (which is, of course, the capital of Sweden) that immediately spring to my mind:

The best way to get around is by the subway or by cab. A cab ride within the city limits should never cost more than 200 SEK (Swedish Crowns. £1 = 14 SEK approx.) and tourist bus & subway passes, valid for 3 days, can be bought for a little less. If you're in a hurry, stay away from the Green subway line - it's not very reliable.

Yes, Sweden is expensive. There's not much to do to get around it. Travelling costs can be kept down by travelling by buses or trains, and staying at youth hostels, which there are plenty of. They're called "Vandrarhem" in Swedish, which literally translates to "hiker's lodge". In Stockholm the best one is called "Af Chapman" and is located on a boat by one of Stockholm's many islands. Actually, Stockholm consists of nothing but islands. Fortunately there are also many bridges.

The Old Town occupies all of the center island. It's all narrow alleys between 16th or 17th century houses, with the Royal Castle on one end. The Change of Guards at the castle is worth seeing, it's most spectacular on weekends and takes place at noon (I think smiley - smiley).

Other things worth doing in Stockholm: Visit the Vasa museum. Take a boat tour around the archipelago. Take a walk on Djurgården (another island). Go out at night, the most fun is on the south side of town, around Mariatorget (torget means square). I recommend, for example, the Black and Brown Inn on Hornsgatan and Café Tivoli by Mariatorget. There are also several nice pubs and bars on Götgatan. Most places close at either 1 or 3 am. Be prepared to pay a closet fee.

And one more thing: If you ever go to a Swede's home, remember to take off your shoes as soon as you enter the front door. Walking right in with your shoes on is very rude behaviour. Always wear whole, clean, and matching socks.

OK, that's it. I might think of more.

smiley - smiley

/Freedom
(on location in Stockholm)


Message from an emigrant

Post 6

Miriam

Are you serious about the taking off your shoes bit?! And if so, do you have any tips on how to keep your socks clean while you're wearing them? smiley - smiley

Miriam\


Message from an emigrant

Post 7

adeve

Yeah, he's serious about the shoes bit. The same applies for visiting in Finland. As for keeping the socks clean... antiperspirant? Having shoes that are made of some "breathing" material helps a lot.


Message from an emigrant

Post 8

Miriam

Thanks for that informational bit smiley - smiley
Good to know before making an ass of myself smiley - winkeye
Any other habits that are good to know?


Message from an emigrant

Post 9

Freedom

Actually, taking your shoes off also helps keeping the floors clean and therefore your sock's don't get as dirty when you walk around in them smiley - smiley

Other habits...if a Swedish person invites you in, you will most likely be offered coffee and maybe some cookies. It is OK to ask for tea instead of coffee, but it will probably be of the teabag-right-in-the-cup kind.

Food is generally good, and if nothing else on the meny looks inviting, you can always go with the meatballs. They probably come with potatoes (sometimes mashed), lingonberry jam and gravy.

Almost everyone has at least one piece of furniture from IKEA.

smiley - smileysmiley - smiley


Message from an emigrant

Post 10

Lost in Scotland

Not everyone in Sweden takes their shoes off indoors. So sometimes the best thing you can do is to follow the leaad of the person whos house you're visiting.
Personally, I take my shoes off when I'm indoors, which leads to some funny-looking situations, as I walk around in my socks and my roommate walks around with his shoes on.
I know that living in Scotland, I'm kind of in "Shoes inside" country, but it's just a built-in thing to do, I guess. I can't help myself.

Another thing, while we're on the subject of indoors and feet. The floors are generally not carpeted in Sweden. Most places has either hardwood floors or plastic floors. Sure, this doesn't mean that everyone has hardwood or plastic floors, just that most have.

Lost.


Message from an emigrant

Post 11

Miriam

Yes, and if the floors aren't clean you'll clean them by walking around on your socks smiley - winkeye
So, what makes Swedish meatballs Swedish meatballs? (besides the point that they were made in Sweden smiley - winkeye)

Miriam


Message from an emigrant

Post 12

Miriam

So where in Sweden are you from then?
That's cool, floors with carpet are uncomfy to dance on smiley - winkeye

Miriam


Message from an emigrant

Post 13

Lost in Scotland

I'm from the south-eastern parts of Sweden, originally. A small village just south of Kalmar, that I did some rambling about.

True about the fact that if you don't have any carpets and walk around in your socks, you do clean the floors a bit just walking around, but as already pointed out, since everyone walks around in their socks, it doesn't get really messy really fast anyways.

I haven't got a clue about why Swedish Meatballs have been named "Swedish" meatballs. Maybe some American figured that out after some emigrants made them, and noone had seem them in America before. I dunno. Any suggestions, anyone???

Lost


Message from an emigrant

Post 14

Freedom

I've wondered about the meatballs myself. In my opinion, the meatballs served with spaghetti are not Swedish, neither are the ones on meatball sandwiches. So it's got to have something to do with the way they are served. As I said before, the kind of meatball that comes with potatoes, lingonberries & gravy seems most Swedish to me. As for how they're made, I'm ashamed to say I'm not really sure...I think my mom makes them by adding chopped onions, breadcrumbs and an egg to ground beef, but that may be the same worldwide.

I read somewhere that the original meatballs were in fact Italian? I think they're called fricadelli. So frankly, I think the lingonberries make meatballs Swedish.

smiley - smiley
F


Message from an emigrant

Post 15

Lost in Scotland

Well, actually, fricadellis are boiled meatballs, and the Swedish meatballs are pan fried. At least that's the info I got back in grade school.
The making of the meatballs as you described them is correct. You soak the bread crubms for a while in either water or milk. This is to get the meat dough stick together better when you roll the meatballs. Then you add finely chopped onions, the soaked bread crumbs and an egg to the mince and after that you add salt and pepper to taste.
Best tipp to prevent the dough to stick to your hands when rolling them is to have either a little bowl of water to dab on your palms or , as my grandmother uses, some drops of oil (sunflower oil or something similar). And always remember that the meatballs shrinks as you fry them, so don't be afraid to make them a tad on the big side to start with. A diameter of about 2,5-3 cm is usually pretty good.

Lost


Message from an emigrant

Post 16

Miriam

Hmm.... sounds to me just like my mom makes meatballs, and I'm from Holland...
It's funny how nobody seems to know what makes a swedish meatball a swedish meatball smiley - smiley
Well, is there anything else I can expect in Sweden? smiley - smiley

Miriam\


Message from an emigrant

Post 17

Lost in Scotland

Only explanation I can come up with about the meatballs being called Swedish is what I said in an earlier post.

Vacationwise Sweden is very versatile. You can pretty much get to see or do whatever you like. We have Stockholm and Gothenburg as the biggest cities with really nice summer-time appeal where there's lots to do and lots to see. If you like more nature-experiences there are loads of places to go and if you're interested in historic places, we have tons of those as well.
Just take your pick.

Lost


Message from an emigrant

Post 18

Miriam

Don't you miss it?


Message from an emigrant

Post 19

Lost in Scotland

No, not realy.. I like it over here. And with the current weather, I don't think I'd like to be anywhere else.smiley - smiley


Message from an emigrant

Post 20

Miriam

What are you talking about? It's lovely weather in Sweden (at least, according to the weatherreport smiley - winkeye)
I can't imagine not missing your homecountry... I do...


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