The southern part of Sweden may not be the most famous part for its overwhelming nature and mountain hikes, in fact Lund and its surroundings resemble that of Holland a bit. But, on the other hand, between the cities and villages there are spacious open areas packed with forest in which neighbors live kilometers apart from each other. It feels very rustic and peaceful and is definitely worth visiting. A lot of smaller and bigger towns are situated relatively close to one another in Skane. During my stay, I also tried to travel around a bit when my money and time let me.
The first bigger town I visited was Helsingborg, a bit above Lund. We went there with our guild to compete against other guilds in a car building game. To go to the harbor, where the competition was held, we formed a big procession of people, colored in their overalls and with loud music. This must have looked very funny, since people stopped to film or photograph us everywhere we passed by. It was a sunny day and Helsingborg is a very good place to be at such a day. It is situated directly at the sea and between the big old buildings there a lot of parks to lay in the grass for a while and do some sunbathing. From Helsingborg, you can take a ferry and arrive in Denmark, Helsingor, in about 20 minutes. That is how close Denmark is to Helsingborg. Although there was no time to do that when I was there, I would definitely do that when I would be back there once. We ended the day with a really delicious pizza from one of the local pizzerias.
Goteborg is quite far to the north from Lund and it took us a long bus ride to get there. I went there with a friend from my Neurobiology course on a spontaneous trip. The day before we left, we booked our bus tickets and the next day we arrived in Goteborg. Booking a travel bus is a very easy way for direct and pretty cheap transportation for distances from city to city in Sweden. We slept in a hostel which was rather far away from the bus station, but then we had a chance to see the city already while walking to it. Goteborg is also situated at the sea and an important harbor city. It has beautiful big parks and a very large botanical garden. It seems that botanical gardens is something, every city in Sweden is mandatory to have to call itself a city. You can find one in every single place, one even bigger than the other. Since it was already cold outside (we went at the beginning of November) we tried to switch outside sightseeing with going to one of the many bars for a drink or ‘fika’. And it turned out Goteborg is the perfect city to do that! An employee of the hostel showed us some districts where we could find many bars and cafés for younger people. When going there, we always had trouble trying to decide where to sit, since every window looked so appealing. In Sweden, the cafés are specialized in making all sorts of little pastries. Carrot cake with nuts and vanilla sauce, red fruit crumble cakes, brownies, cupcakes with a meringue tower on top, all freshly baked, is something you can find in almost every one of them. A real fika-culture, so to say. On Saturday, we went a little bit out of town by metro to go to the skärgården. Those are peninsulas at the westcoast. A group of little islands, each with their own inhabitants, connected to each other and to the mainland by ferries. It is a really different way of life on such an island. To us, it seemed very deserted, no one was outside and the few shops or restaurants present were either closed or almost empty. Every island had its own church and the way of transportation was by bike or by something that resembles a golf car. The speedlimit was 15 km/h, but I wonder if they also have speed cameras to supervise that. Furthermore, the ferry was a really good system to get around form island to island. Ferries serve the same purpose there as for us the bus would do. To do big grocery shopping, they have to take such a ferry to mainland and buy their provision for the upcoming week. We had a timetable, telling us when the ferries would arrive on each skärgård to bring us to the following. Or at least, that is what we thought, until we discovered that there was no ferry to be seen at the indicated time. After 30 minutes of panicking, a really long visit to the closest supermarket to avoid being frozen by the strong wind and discussing how to survive on this island when there was no way to get off, a ferry finally came. We didn’t know what its route was and where it went, but we just wanted to get of that island anyway. When it had brought us a couple of islands further, we decided to take the risk and get off again, in the hope that the last ferry was just running late on its schedule or something. But after a walk on that island and waiting at the ferry point to be picked up at the right time, there was no ferry again. So we waited until we saw one, and that is what we did on the following islands, discarding the scheme. Back in the hostel after our island adventure, we figured out that the ferries had been running according to the Sunday scheme. Then we made the link, that is was All Saints Day, a public holiday in Sweden, and that they had been doing their job correctly after all. Just a pity that we didn’t found that out earlier. But something to laugh about afterwards. One thing really typical for Goteborg is the ‘Fiskekyrkan’. It is a church-like building where they sell all kind of fish products. But unfortunately, it was closed because of All Saints Day… For the rest of our visit we avoided ferries and had dinner in a nice restaurant, visited the harbor and did a little shopping in the mal until or we had to catch our bus back to Lund.
Malmo, so close to Lund, but still the third largest city in Sweden. One we had to pay a visit of course! It was a one day visit with some friends on which we did a short sightseeing trip around the city. It was really funny to see how impressed the rest of the international group was to see a mill. We had a nice hot chocolate at an overpriced café at the end of a dock and strolled around for a while. From the beach, we could see the famous turning torso against the blue sky. The beach in Malmo is so beautiful. Before the beach lies an outstretched grass area with little hills. It reminded me a bit of the teletubbie landscape actually. And then the sea with heavy waves behind that. Such an open area was not something I would expect in Sweden’s third largest city, but it just shows that Sweden doesn’t have the pressure to build high flats on every open part. Something I really like about the country.