It’s that time of year; holiday planning. As usual we have been all around the globe over the last few weeks considering where we fancy going this summer and seem to have plumped for Sweden. Why?
- Denmark was fabulous last Easter: loved the Scandinavian vibe so would like to see more.
- Still influenced by my dad’s stories of his trips to Sweden in the 1950s.
- With all the Stieg Larsson mania there is at the moment, Sweden seems a hip place to go. In fact there are numerous ‘Millennium Tours’ available for fans who want to stay in a hotel near Lisbeth Salander’s apartment, drink in the bar frequented by the Millennium journalists and travel several hours in a train to go to a town which near-enough matches the fictional town of Hedeby.
- Last year was lovely doing nothing on a beach in Portugal but we did become a bit restless; touring a country will be far more interesting with plenty of blog-fodder.
Now we have to decide which bits of Sweden we should visit in a two-week period. I’m trying very hard not to try and ‘do’ everything: we want to have some stops of at least three days to avoid it just being a race around the southern half of the country. But which parts to leave out? Should we include Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo or just two fo the three, leaving time to chill by a lake or a beach? I asked on Twitter about the logistics of doing all three cities and got some helpful advice from @Davtel in Stockholm about driving times and a suggestion from @KaisaLarkas in Finland to add a boat trip to the itinerary so we could visit Helsinki too.
We are almost certain we’ll fly cheaply with Ryanair from Stansted to any of the three cities: fly to one and come back from another. Having saved money there, we can splurge a little on the hotels. I keep mentioning interesting hotels to Dougie, carefully avoiding showing him room rates. So far we are looking at two classy joints in Stockholm each with a different story to tell: the chic Hotel Rival, partly owned by Benny Anderson from ABBA or Hotel Nobis, a new hotel in a grand building which used to be the bank where hostages were held captive in 1973, leading to the term the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.
Malmo keeps coming on and off our itinerary. I’d like to see the Turning Torso building and Dougie is amused by a Wikipedia entry which states that the Malmo town council have passed a law permitting women to swim topless in the public baths. As one council spokesman put it: “”We don’t decide what men should do with their torso, why then do women have to listen to the men. Moreover, many men have larger breasts than women”.
Mind you, as both Dougie and Rory are wondering about the nudist beaches and the Swedish liberal attitude to sex, I have drawn their attention to the introduction in The Rough Guide to Sweden which states, “Sweden isn’t populated soley with people waiting for any opportunity to tear off their clothes and make passionate love under the midnight sun…..You’ll doubtless see people sunbathing naked but this state of affairs is not an invitation for a love-in”. Take note, boys.
The Rough Guide is giving me lots of information and, as it only arrived yesterday, has caused even more changes in the itinerary. I’m dipping into it for the detail but we’ve also got the DK Eyewitness Guide for the pictures. A perfect balance.
One thing we are definitely going to do is hire a decent car and spend time checking it over so we don’t, like we did last year, set off with bits dropping off it and find our spare tyre has a huge gouge in it. I’m sorry if that means less funny stories but I can assure you we will get lost frequently and fight even more frequently so there’ll be a good smattering of schadenfreude to make up for it.
Any suggestions of places to go still very welcome. Tack.