If you have followed me at least for a while, you have probably noticed that I am a little bit crazy traveller. It is difficult for me to stay in one place. Nevertheless, Scandinavian countries were out of my traveling radar even though people from these countries started being part of my life 3 years ago. It goes without saying that i was pretty excited when I got tickets to Sweden and then absolutely randomly visited Finland.
Nevertheless, my talk would be just about Sweden:) I was there almost a week and have visited not just Stockholm, but one small town in the north, in the Swedish Lapland. I would not mess up both these experience, no worries 🙂 I will not conceal that my goal for going to Sweden was to visit my friends so I can not be impersonal as, I was emotional of hanging out with the people I care about, so it has put some stamp on the country.
Before talking especially about the country, I want to tell about the first stereotype about Sweden and any Scandinavian country: it is super expensive. I wasn’t taking it seriously as traveling all around the globe I know that I have some special tricks not to spend a lot of money. Nevertheless, I would admit that it hit me as well:) All my tickets for 4 planes cost me less than 150€: the most expensive ones were from Stockholm to the north of Sweden. I flew for 10 € from Warsaw to Stockholm and for ~30€ from Stockholm to Vilnius. So if u don’t wanna go to some small cities in Sweden where nobody has been, u will be fine:) Moreover, when my friends haven’t hosted me, I was doing Couchsurfing (https://www.couchsurfing.com/): it is a server like Airbnb, but you are not paying for the accommodation. People are just hosting you in their apartments. I have used this service already a couple of times and will say that it’s a lot of fun and you can really meet great people there (Even if some my people were skeptical about it and said that I would be raped) I would not lie that bad stuff can happen, but I guess it can happen anytime in any place :b For not getting into bad situation, there is a reference system that you can see how many people the host hosted and the guests are writing comments so if you really take a look at a profile of the person you want to stay a night or two at, you will definitely understand who he or she is.
So, talking specifically about Stockholm: I am not easy to impress: probably as I was traveling a lot. I appreciate cultures of different countries, their heritage, however, when I am going to a new country, I am a pretty calm person. I was expecting the same from Sweden and Stockholm. But when I was landing, I understood that I was wrong. My flight was early morning and I saw how the sun is rising: this beauty of the sun, magic lakes and forests have conquered my heart immediately.
When I came to the Stockholm railway station and just entered the city, I understood that I am in love: i understood that this country I want to live in at least for some time. Stockholm is gathering all the amazing features of Baltic capitals and my favorite Warsaw: I immediately felt myself at home. Moreover, as I am a materialistic person, I was satisfied with the level of service and the variety of things I can get there. And being a licorice lover, I was happy to get my favorite licorice that I really miss in Lithuania 🙂
Stockholm is an international city: there are a lot of foreigners around and you can dive in various cultures from all over the globe: one of my friends invited me for the Korean dinner and I bet it was the best Korean food I tried in Europe ( more about Korean food you can read here). Talking about foreigners and especially about emigrants: there are a lot of horror stories that are around it: I would say that it’s over exaggeration.
Before going to Sweden, a lot of my relatives were scared: I was going alone so they were afraid that I could be rapped, robbed or just disappear in the middle of nowhere. I was told about the neighborhoods where Swedish police are not even going and some other random stuff. So being interested, I talked with my friends that are from there and got the answer that it is not so bad as the media is saying: my friend told me that there are some neighborhoods where only the foreigners are living, but, for example, in her school there were some foreigners and she was going to their houses and everything was alright. Moreover, while I was exploring the city, I saw a lot of people from Asia( for example, Thailand) that are perfectly integrated into society: the pleasant thing was to see how some Thai woman, shop assistant, was trying to speak Swedish with a busy man and got some troubles and how the man that was definitely in a hurry was calm and trying to help her to express herself without any anger or non-tolerance.
What else I was impressed with it is mucic. It is literally everywhere: there are so many music stores with the vinyl! I was getting lost for hours just taking a look at all these amazing pieces and moreover looking at all the music freaks that were hanging out there. To tell the truth, for me as a musician there is nothing better than this!
There are a lot of things to do there as a tourist (check this!), but for me the atmosphere is important: I have met so many ” free” people. You are feeling that you can be whatever you want and still people will appreciate you. In addition, the equality is in the air: being born in Belarus, it is pretty weird to see a lot of dads with baby carriages! 🙂 For them, it is normal to take paternity leave and there is nothing bad in it!
What I was also excited about, it is a “Fika” tradition. It’s basically a name of the coffee break where people are socializing while they are having some nice sweets. Moreover, I am a big fan of cinnamon buns 🙂
To sum up, Sweden is definitely one of the countries that I want to live in. As everything, it has its own advantages and disadvantages, but the first ones are overweighting. (at least, for me 🙂 ). Maybe one of the days I will change my mind, but nobody knows 🙂