At the mention of Sweden, what comes to mind?  IKEA!! That’s almost an icon for Sweden!  Instead of selling moose souvenirs (Moose is like their national animal), they should consider selling IKEA souvenirs to tourist.  Almost every house and shops that I stepped in, there will be at least a piece of IKEA furnishing.  There are 5 things that I love about Sweden after a wonderful family winter holiday last Christmas.  (If you are thinking how I survived the family trip with 2 young ones, you can read my earlier post “Our first winter holiday – my preparation“)

1. Scandinavian Beauties

About 90% of the men and women including children on the street are GORGEOUS looking!  It probably has to do with the diet they have.  All of them are slim and tall.  Anyone of them can pass the audition for Arwen (played by Liv Tyler) in Lord of the Rings.

2. Swedish are very friendly and civilized

Most of the people we met on the street are friendly.

– They stop in their tracks and wait patiently when they see you take photos.

– The cars stop well in advance for passengers to go.  We have not heard of a single car horn while we were there.

– They follow safety rules strictly.  While my son YH was waiting for his turn for the trampoline at the supermarket play area, the child who was playing inside was immediately asked by his parent to stop and let YH play.    And then the child and parent waited patiently till YH let him have his turn back.  And they are very strict about having only ONE child to play in the trampoline area.  No compromising on safety.

3) Environmental conscious society

Sweden has many environmental friendly practices.  I like the way they have waste sorting.  It is probably common in many countries but not in Singapore yet.  All Mac Donald’s practise waste sorting too!  The picture here shows how customers can sort different waste after meals.  Cute, isn’t it??  The supermarkets have rebates for returned bottles and cans.  And all supermarkets charge for plastic bags just like IKEA.

4) Nobody scrints at their iphones / smart phones on the street

I love this one.  The pace in Sweden is so unhurried, that no one is checking facebook, mails, or swiping furiously at their smart phones on the go.  Even commuters waiting for buses wait patiently with their arms in the pockets or crossed in front of them.  Commuters on the buses and trains either do nothing or are reading books, chatting with friends.

5) Unhurried lifestyle

The pace of living in Sweden, probably even more in Karlskrona where we stayed, is slow.  No one runs.  No car horns.  Everyone seems so relax.  You just feel like slowing down your pace and take in the serenity, nature and fresh air.  And my brother-in-law who stayed there told us that the people are so friendly and unhurried, they can talk to you about anything for a long time even if you may be queueing at the counter, with people behind you.  And they probably still wait patiently with no complaints!  It’s amazing!

Sweden is a nice place to visit.  We enjoyed ourselves very much and were glad that we managed to catch the first snow in Stockholm, lots and lots of snow (knee-high) in Salen Ski Resort, lastly enjoyed the cold weather without the troublesome snow in Karlskrona (even though we would have loved Karlskrona to snow too).  All in all, it was a wonderful winter holiday minus the siblings squabbles…