We’ve left Sweden. Although the south west didn’t appeal as much as the south east and north (busier, less wild, more agricultural), we are sorry to go but happy to be moving on. We’ve had a fantastic three months in Sweden and Finland and wanted to leave you with some impressions and observations – although the post is called Swedish impressions, most of these apply to Finland too.
– if you are lucky, flower pots will be provided at your overnight spot, along with the usual picnic bench.
– Sweden & Finland have some of the highest coffee consumption in Europe, if not the world. This might lead you to think that their coffee is good. You’d be wrong.
– no-one bats an eyelid if you go for a walk in your underpants.
– they are completely oblivious to bad weather. We have watched people setting up a picnic at a picnic bench in 9°C and drizzle.
– staff at DIY stores have way too much time on their hands.
– there is a huge range of cheeses available. We tried lots of them and they all taste the same.
– flags are very popular. Lots of businesses use them which makes it easy for a motorhome trundling through a town to find supermarkets & petrol stations. Not many supermarkets & petrol stations have green roofs though.
– if you put a selection of buckets, spades & assorted beach toys out for everyone to use, they won’t be pinched/vandalised/chucked in the sea. The same goes for flower pots, toasting forks & axes at fire pits and frying pans at camping places in national parks.
– everyone speaks English, even those who say they don’t.
– there is a bewildering array of sauna accessories available. This one applies even more to Finland where there is a sauna for every 3 people. And no, we didn’t have one in either country.
– the Swedish language is beautiful to listen to, very musical. But for some reason they are quite potty-mouthed when it comes to English. On the radio, they play games like ‘Truth or Bulls**t’ and ‘Mindf**k’.
– they really, really like driving lights.
– road signs are red on yellow, which makes them look like lollipops but is actually so they stand out better against snow. I like the lollipop theory better.
– hydropower is a big thing. Yay, no fossil fuel. Boo hiss, it messes with the whole river system and dries up waterfalls. Bloody sustainability.
– the love of the outdoors, ability to walk/ski/ride/camp almost anywhere you like, the provision of camping shelters, fire pits with wood and axes , BBQs with frying pans – it is all brilliant. But best of all is that this freedom treated as a privilege and not abused. We saw very little rubbish, no vandalism or graffiti. People use wood for their fire and make sure there is some available for the next person. They make a toasting fork from a twig and leave it next to the firepit so someone else can use it. They use a free camping cabin in a national park and leave a bottle of wine for the next visitors.
It is bloody brilliant and we loved it.