So What, is Your Favorite Beer Budweiser or Something?

Location: Lund, Sweden

My flight over to Europe was on time, efficient, and I had no complaints (unlike a certain other world traveler friend of mine that also writes a blog) and I was excited to finally be in Scandinavia.  Despite the fact that my flight was into Copenhagen, I immediately met up with my friend Ed and took the Øresundsbron over to Sweden.  Our destination was Lund, a city founded around 990 when southern Sweden was still under Danish rule.  The centerpiece of the town is Lund Cathedral, a huge cathedral that was built around 1085.

Lunds domkyrka - a cool old cathedral.

I spent the next two days exploring Lund.  Lund University is one of Sweden’s oldest universities and was founded in 1666, 98 years before Brown!  The city itself is an excellent city for pedestrians and a great example of Sweden’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  45% of commuters use bicycles to get around the city’s small streets and the public transportation is great.

Ed unfortunately has to study for his finals coming up in the next couple of weeks so while he was studying I went out to explore the city on my own.  First stop was a quick peek into the local H&M.  I got really good at dividing by seven ($1 USD is roughly equal to 7 Swedish Crowns) as I checked the prices on the clothing.  Next stop was a candy store named, appropriately, ‘Candy People.’  Swedish people definitely have a sweet tooth and this store obliged.

Candy People

Candy People - Crazy Cool Swedish Candy Shop

After the candy store I wandered around the city finding cool shops to explore.  The city is full of Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and other Asian food places that look interesting.  One of the more bizzare restaurants is a Thai Food/Pizza place combination.  I stopped into a cafe for a cup of coffee and was determined to look like an ordinary Swede.  After deciding to order a Mocha Latte I stepped up to the counter and said (quite sheepishly I’ll admit) “Kan jag få en mocha latte, tack?”  The coffee man responded “ja” and I was excited by my success.  I waited patiently while the man went to go make the coffee but before I could get my money out to pay the man came back and said on of my favorite Swedish words “tyvärr” which means “unfortunately.”  While I do like the word this is not what I was expecting and I listened hard as the guy started to explain that they close in three minutes and that they had already turned off the espresso machine.  He said that I could have regular coffee if I wanted.  I asked him to repeat himself which in this town full of exchange students usually causes your everyday Swede to try again in English, but this guy tried again in Swedish.  I responded that coffee would be good but I must have looked a little nervous because another worker, who I think was British, said “just regular coffee?” to which I nodded.  I was discovered!  When the first coffee man returned he had switched to English and I said “thanks” as I walked away.

While I would have preferred to keep the entire conversation in Swedish I was happy that the conversation progressed as far as it did before the coffee guy switched to English.  Swedish kids begin studying English in their first year of school and just like I want to practice my Swedish in these opportunities, they want to practice their English when this type of opportunity arises so I understand.

On Saturday night Ed and I decided to make a taco dinner and invite REAL LIVE SWEDISH PEOPLE to the party.  I was excited.  We hung out and watched Ed make the tacos.  The Swedish guys were very friendly and topics of conversation included USA geography (no, Philadelphia is not on the west coast), American politics, Rushmore, Swedish TV, and of course Swedish women.  When the food was made we sat down but before we started eating one of the Swedish guys said “but where is the ketchup?”  Despite the lack of ketchup for the tacos we pressed on and the meal was delicious.  Since Ed and the two Swedish guys are in a secret society about Swedish Punsch we decided to make the American equivalent of punch with cranberry juice, sprite, and vodka.

We finished that punch quite quickly and went on a mission to find more beverages to enjoy.  On our travels we met several other Swedes who I talked to for only a few minutes.  One guy asked me if American college students really drink out of red cups like they see in the movies and I was happy to tell him that we indeed do.  He then asked whether or not my favorite beer was Budweiser (it’s not) and he came upstairs with us to hang out some more.  It was a great night and it was cool to meet so many Swedish people.

The next day we went to visit another town in southern Sweden called Helsingborg.  We took the Øresundståg which is the commuter rail train that runs between Denmark and Helsingborg.  The trains are awesome and put the Boston Commuter Rail to shame.  Helsingborg is a larger city than Lund and is located on the water.  Across the sound you can see the town of Helsingør, Denmark which lies a quick ferry ride away.  We hung out with Ed’s mother who lives in Helsingborg and walked around the city.  Because it was Sunday every single store without exception was closed so we just enjoyed the nice views of the water and took a lot of pictures.  One of the coolest things in Helsingborg is Kärnan, a medieval tower that used to be part of a larger Danish fortress in Helsingborg and can be dated back to the early 13th century.

Kärnan

Kärnan

Plans for the rest of the week include a day trip to Malmö, seeing a movie in Sweden, trying the Mexican Meal at the Swedish Burger King, and more Swedish practice.

I’ve been posting all of the pictures I have been taking on my flickr account that you can access over in the right column on the blog under ‘pictures’.  Also if you have twitter, definitely follow me!

Hej då!

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~ by dfjenkins3 on January 10, 2010.

One Response to “So What, is Your Favorite Beer Budweiser or Something?”

  1. Awesome post! Tell me how the Mexican meal at burger king goes!

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