Tuesday, December 7, 2010
With my last name, there is no denying where I am originally from. I moved a couple of month ago from Zurich to Stockholm to work for SWISS in its local branch office. And I have already fallen for this city. As of 17 December the capital of Sweden becomes even more accessible from Switzerland. SWISS will then operate three daily flights between Zurich and Stockholm. And I would therefore like to tell you how much this city in northern Europe has to offer (in case you don’t already know…).
So before I get to the interesting part of guiding you through Stockholm with nearly-local tips, I’d like to start by clearing up some of the most widely spread preconceptions and clichés about the country and its inhabitants.
Number 1: cold and darkness
If a country is located between the 55th and the 69th degree of latitude, it is inevitable that the weather will not be Mediterranean. It is true that winters can be very cold but if you come from Switzerland, for instance, it is definitely not a huge difference. The darkness on the other hand can drive up your coffee consumption; at least that that’s what happened in my case. The average coffee consumption in the Nordics is around 400mg/day, which is double the amount of other European countries (Germany is at 200mg/day). So you might consider packing some warm clothes and dropping into one of the nice and cosy coffee shops I’m going to tell you about in another blog entry.
And here comes the BUT: summer can be really warm, even hot, and the issue with daylight becomes the opposite of what happens in winter, meaning there is almost no darkness. I guess that also why some hotels offer rooms without windows. Imagine daylight at two o’clock in the morning! But if you visit Stockholm, you are not supposed to sleep a lot anyway. Because there are loads of things to do. It is a perfect place for night owls.
Number 2: high alcohol consumption
Swedes are well known for keeping their throats well lubricated. This is somehow right, but mostly only on the weekends as during the week the main beverage is milk. Yes you read right, MILK! Even with a delicious dinner (called “Middag” in Swedish) they go for milk. For the past 160 years the alcohol retail monopoly belongs to Systembolaget (also known by the short form as “systemet”). This means the access to alcohol is limited to the “systemet” opening hours, which are not so flexible. This was one of the first lessons I learned.
Number 3: blond and blue-eyed
Yes the famous blond and blue-eyed Swedes. One fact to get used to is that there are a lot of good looking and attractive people all over the city, but not all of them are blond. Still, as a good friend (male) of mine keeps saying, if you have a soft spot for blonds you might fall in love every two minutes. I guess there is nothing further to add to that.
So now I hope I have made you a bit curious about my upcoming blog entries. The tour of my beautiful and exciting new home city shall begin…
Sincerely and happy reading,
And by the way, here my Do’s and Don’ts for today:
Do - stand in queues and wait for your turn
Don't – try to get around the city with a car