some observations about sweden

1 – Swedes are exceptionally stylish and good looking. The ‘no shopping’ rule we set ourselves before embarking on this adventure is tres hard in a town like this, where fashion is exceptional and EVERYONE looks amazing.

2 – When it rains in Goteborg, it really rains. Teeming, straight-down, saturating rain.

3 – Dogs are allowed everywhere. Especially in shops. (I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture, but earlier today I saw two long-haired Afghans going for a walk and they both had hairdos! Braided ears!! Twas amazing…)

Here is a nice sign I saw on the train:

A nice sign on the train - dogs & cats sitting together in harmony

4 – Converse hi-tops are making a comeback. Like dogs, they are everywhere. Fluero pink cons on grans, red cons paired with flowing floral skirts on teens, dirty white cons on handsome men in dinner jackets.

5 – There are a lot of Volvos here. A lot.

6 – Facial piercings. Who woulda thunk it? O, and leg tattoos as well. On the most unassuming looking peeps. Vines around calves, massive flowers on feet, skulls on shins. Yes indeed.

We arrived in Goteborg yesterday after catching a bus, a train, and another bus from Oslo. After checking into our sauna-inspired hotel (all the walls are wood-panelled), Rich headed off to spend his birthday at Way Out West festival while I spent the afternoon doing handwashing. What an exciting way to spend the day. For the first time, I wondered what it would be like to be a Morman with a sister-wife or two, so the task at hand could have been halved (or quartered). But alas, Rich is no Bill Hendrickson and I am without a Margene, a Barb and a Nikki to assist with menial tasks, rivalry and bitchiness. Probably for the best…

After washing my smalls (and nearly pulling a muscle in my shoulder after some vigorous wringing), I read some book, watched some Swedish TV (and saw an ad for IKEA), did some emailing, and then ventured out into Goteburg for a walk and some dinner.

I have realised on this trip that I am no good at reading maps. The concierge at our hotel drew a line on my map, leading the way to the great restaurants of Goteburg (very straightforward as well – turn left out the door, hang a right at the canal, follow the water and you’re there) and I still managed to get lost.

But in a good way. You always hafta make the most of getting lost, right?

After twisting and turning my way through several cobble-stoned streets, I ended up at an outdoor Thai restaurant opposite a river lined with beer-drinking hipsters. And a barge (with a dog on it) that was a bar/restaurant/nightclub-type affair. A balcony in the distance was adorned with two life-sized horse statues. Fo real!! The food was good, the beer was better, and it was lovely to have a bit of time out with myself and my book (The Information by Martin Amis – you should read it!!).

Tomorrow we head north to a place called Odeshog (how do you think that’s pronounced? I went to the bus depot and asked for “Two adult tickets to Oweds-hog please” and the guy at the ticket counter looked at me blankly, then said “Ur-der-herg?”).

Yes. Ur-der-herg. I think that every time I attempt to speak Swedish, I need to channel a bit of Swedish chef from The Muppets.

Anyhoo, we head north to Ur-der-herg for a few nights in a wood hut with zero electricity. But there are canoes. And bikes. And crayfish in a lake. And a SAUNA IN THE WOODS!!! I plan on taking 800 photos and will give you a full report when we get back into a wifi zone later this week in Stockholm.


Until then, I’ll leave you with this nice snap of a pooch I met at the station earlier today.