Friday, October 08, 2010

sweden in lists

Days in country (so far): 20
Beers consumed: 2.5
Conversations with others: 3
Kilometers driven: about 5500
Kilometers yet to drive: 445
Cops seen: 4
Price of gas: 12.45SEK ($1.87) per liter (yep liter)
Odds of fainting while you tanka: pretty good

Things I love about Sweden:
- so many pretty little cake things
- their ice cream is way better than our ice cream
- same goes for the cheese
- tiny cars
- red barns decorated with antlers

- they tend to think I'm German or Canadian
- millions of soft, hidden trails through forests; this is the only place on earth I've ever felt like going running (it hurts less and no one can see me)
- cute houses

- we have 24Hour Fitness; Sweden has "Frisky & Sweaty"

(loosely translated)

Kilometers driven out of the way down sketchy roads in attempts to find MC-friendly humans, or just look at some bikes: 27

Number of humans (or bikes) seen at a motocrossbana: 0

(This one was really pretty! Lakeside setting, cool-looking terrain, not that I really know. Sign claimed it was open from 2pm to 9pm, and I was there at five minutes to 2. I waited, but no one ever showed up.)

Things observed on major highways:
- sixteen baby reindeer, just chillin'
- guy on a bicycle pulling a wooden canoe, pretty fast
- horse and buggy
- hundreds of spandexed people on roller skis

Things about Sweden that confuse or annoy me:
- roller skis
- pay to pee - seriously, free health care but it costs a buck fifty to take a leak at the train station?
- being tailgated constantly, for miles, going 30kph over the speed limit in the slow lane - effin' pass me already, you jerk!
- men in bright red jeans
- men with extremely high-maintenance hairdo's
- leggings for pants
- wildly varying parking costs, from 7 to 20 kronor per hour (40 to 120 for overnight)
- the Stare
- $9 beers - not worth it
- the Swedish approach to roadwork, which is, basically, "Hey, you're an adult. Your car is tiny. YOU figure it out." There is no hand-holding, none of those "you guys wait here while the other lane passes the obstacle, then we'll guide your lane around it." Oh no. They just kinda go about their roadworky business, do what they need to do, with their giant, stinky machines taking up the whole road, and it's up to you and the guy coming the other way to sort out who goes first. Actually I should put this in the Things I Love category. It's pretty advanced.
- tryck vs drag: all Swedish doors are either push (tryck) or pull (drag), like everywhere else, I guess. But you can't tell by looking. There are days when every single door I push is a pull door, and vice versa. It's fun to watch, like when new (or drunk) people try to leave Beulahland. Then after a while you start to think you've got it figured out. But you are wrong. The minute you're sure that every door in the building is a drag, you can bet the next door is a tryck. I suspect there is someone in a secret room, watching, with the power to change any door from tryck to drag at the push of a button. Just to mess with me.

Things that are cheaper than coffee in Sweden:
- caviar (red or black)
- RedBull
- brie
- peeing

Still, chances of doing without coffee for even one day: 0

Genius ideas I've had while driving 5500kms alone with my ipod:
Just one, actually. At the Husqvarna museum, one of the exhibits explained that after WWII, Husky served a function very similar to what IKEA does now (household modernization, advanced but uniform gadgetry, etc). So my brilliant thought was, of course: IKEA should make motorcycles! Imagine: they'd be cheap and almost weightless. Anyone could put them together. They'd fall apart after one year. But they'd be cheap! And so simple! Get on it, Ingvar.

Random quote from a museum plaque:
"Kerstin Petersson of Sweden had a collection of 71 Swedish cheese-dish covers as at April 1998." -- Guinness Book of World Records (Smalands museum)

Weirdest sight encountered so far:

Most baffling instruction:



  1. Patrick3:09 PM

    great update!

    What is "the Stare"?

  2. now I REALLY want to go...

  3. Anonymous3:01 AM

    This makes me weirdly proud of my heritage. Part of me comes from odd people: I'm mainly Swedish-Irish-Scottish. (By the way, both the IKEA crack and the last photo made me laugh out loud.)

    Ever figure out why coffee was priced so pricey?

  4. Anonymous3:04 AM

    By-by the way, this is Chris, Mike's friend. I wanted to say hi online as well as read your blog. So now oyu need not wonder who the heck this "chris-walsh" person is...