Anybody who has been to Scandinavia knows the characteristic black signs against blue or white background (see the picture) by the road. These are supposed to indicate natural or man-made wonders and often do, especially if the name of the attraction is given too. In some cases, however, obeying the sign you take a detour of a few kilometres just to discover the sign pointed to nothing more than a small private zoo or a millstone or something equally uninteresting.
Unique Suggestions: If you have a definite plan of your journey don't let these signs seduce you, not too often anyway. Find out about the local attractions in advance - this will help you take your decision.
I've been twice to Sweden. Once in 2000 and once in 2003. The first time my friend and I were driving around to see some elks but unsuccessfully. In 2003 we came from Finland and Norway, where we've seen reindeers and elks en masse. But as soon as we crossed the Norwegian-Swedish border all deer disappeared. For the next days no elk and no reindeer was seen.
That's why I belive that it is a rumor that elks live in Sweden!!
As soon as you reach the Lappland, you can't avoid to read and hear this : "land of midnight sun". Right, that was one of the things i absolutely wanted to see there. But if you can, avoid to try to see it at Abisko. First, you can't see it if you stay at the station, because of the mountains around. So, you have to take the chairlift to get at the top of Mount Nullja to see it. We tried it : unfortunately, we took it a bit late. We arrived at the top just after the sun was hidden behind a mountain. Actually, you can see it between two mountains, maybe a few minutes. And do you believe that the guy at the cash could tell us it was too late to see it ? Nothing... and what about the price ? ..hum... 170 swedish crowns for each person (about 18,5 euros !!)... just for being as cold as an icecube on your chair lift for about 20 minutes (ask my friend florent... never tell him about it any more..lol)
Anyway, that's it, i would have regreted it if i didn't try to get at the top to see it...
Unique Suggestions: Hum... i think the only thing is to be sure to get on the top at time... it takes about 20 minutes on the chair lift more 5 minutes climbing to get on a small top (actually not the real top of mount nullja).
The best is to hike on the top. You save 18,5 euros and you take advantage of the fabulous view around when you climb. We did it one afternoon. About 1h30 min to get to the chairlift arrival (900m) and 1 more hour to get to Mount Nullja (1169 m). i guess the midnight sun is unique from there...
Fun Alternatives: We met two girls in Stockholm and one of them was from a village near Kiruna. So, when we told her about our "midnight sun history", she was totally disappointed for us and a bit ashamed. She used to get to see the midnight sun by car, with friends, beers ans something to eat to some good places. Sure next time i will try this way !!
So that seems to be the best. Meet or ask someone who knows some places to see it free...
Just see below... a picture of the sun at about 11 pm... I guess the midnight sun is not so different from this !!
Buying a round of beer can be very dangerous for your bank balance but I hear things are improving. You may hear of the 'before' party and the 'after' party in Sweden. Basically means get some booze down yer neck before you go out, drink a few beers at the expensive nightclub and then go on to some private party to really get stuck in. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------
Also watch out for 'Systembolaget' (literally ‘system company’) is the name of the state monopoly responsible for retailing alcohol. It’s shops - marked with distictive green and yellow signs - are the only outlets allowed to sell spirits, wine and full-strength beer (Class III). Supermarkets and other shops can sell no alcoholic beverage stronger than Class II beer.
Systembolaget shops were a shock to me. You collect a little raffle ticket on entry and wait for your number to be called out. It’s like being transported back to the GDR or Soviet Union circa 1985. There are no shelves with enticing displays of the goods on sale. The interior is bare, except for a display cabinets, where a single example of each item on sale is safely held behind protective glass. At the back of the shop is a counter, where the customer tells the assistent what is required, which is then retrieved from a hidden storeroom. Not very welcoming and quite an obstacle for a foreigner wanting to browse through what is available. This austere image has been softened in some outlets, which have daringly adopted the self-service system. They are still, however, the exception. Of the 390 shops, only 30 are fully self-service, but with a further 60 self-service for beer. The intention is to create 10 more supermarket style shops, but no more. The argument is that it encourages people to buy more, so it is intrinsically bad.---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------
The opening hours are the second hurdle the consumer has to negotiate. These seem to be designed to make it as difficult as possible to buy alcohol at the times when you might want to consume it. They open 10:00 - 18:00 Monday to Wednesday and 10:00 - 18:30 or 19:00 Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday it is impossible to buy alcohoal to take away, unless you’re in Southern Sweden and take a ferry to Denmark. Very convenient if you’re visiting the country for the weekend. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --
Being a retail monopoly, the Sytembolaget decides what beers you can buy. If they choose not to sell a certain beer, tough, you won’t be able to get it. They insist on a minimum volume of sales which can rule out minority tastes. Having said this, their selection isn’t that bad. The 300 or so beers they stock includes a good few of the Belgian classics and some decent ales, but nowhere can sell anything else. Specialist beer shops are, by definition, unknown. When you consider that a good Dutch or Belgian beer retailer will have 500+ different brands on their shelves, you will appreciate what a restriction this is. It makes the level of knowledge of beer which some Swedes have even more impressive. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
For more info check out this site - looks nothing like the systembolagets I used.
Lummelundagrottan - dripstone caves in Gotland. They are promoted as some great tourist attraction, but in essence they are a boring set of caves, with very unimpressing dripstones. The Challenge tour could be more interedting, but I didn't get a chance to try it out, and its also pricey (400 SEK)
Accomodation is VERY expansive in Stockholm. Well if you failed to book anything upon arrival, you can approach the tourist information center in the main train station for help. Take note that they charge you 10% of cost what you booked with them.
Well, the Dala Horse factory is one major trap. It's interesting, but nothing more than a huge showcase to get some money out of tourists who have seen these horses times and times before, but can't believe they're finally at the very place where they come from! By the way: they're called Dala Horses because they come from the Dalarna region; sounds pretty obvious, but I never knew this...
.....that we have all been trapped in in it, is for sure!!!!! MAKE LOVE NOT WAR!!!! I guess we can still say that!
HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!
I want to thank you this nice couple of frogs behing my house here in Sweden.
Personally i dont like the elk safaris which are arranged everywhre in Sweden. Try to find the elks by your self and you get a nice day in the forest. But this is my own opinion.
Its difficult to haggle in Sweden, we are not use to it. But you can alwys try.
Mosquito Traps :)If you put one of them spray cans onto your window sill they won't come in. A miracle .. I guess they can read - even different languages as this was a German anti mosquito spray :)
I wanted very much to see real, alive elk (moose) in Sweden. Before my trip I studied carefully my guides and found the place 'they used to be'. I went there and spent more then 4 hours looking for any. I found only thousands elks on the T-shirts, road warning signs, mascots etc. Maybe I should go to the ZOO instead?
Maybe you'll be more lucky. If you find any say him hello from me and after coming back home e-mail me where and when you've found it (I plan the next trip to Sweden and I still want to say hello to the elk personally).
The museum at Gamla Uppsala. It was finished last year (2000), and is well, dissapointing. Gamla Uppsala is the location of 3 large and many small viking burial mounts. No one is sure about the details, and as the vikings had a thing for funeral pyres, there was not much left to be found when archeologists dug up the graves. It is a nice place to go and 'feel the ambiance' of such an ancient and historical place, but the museum...
As they didn't find much, and don't really know much about what went on here, there is not much to show or tell. Most of the exhibits have been taken from far better viking grave finds elsewhere around Lake Mälaren. To get any use out of the displays they have, you really need a guided tour, and there is only one (free) every day (11 am). Otherwise the museum is expensive (40 SEK) and somewhat confusing. Avoid it! Of note - in the old Uppsala Cathedral next to the burial mounts, you will find the grave of Anders Celcius - the inventor of the sensible temperature scale!
Liseberg in Goteborg. Sweden's premier amusement park. It is the must see for all families!!!
Astrid Lindgren's Varld. In Vimmerby. The author of the Pippi Longstocking series has her own theme park dedicted to children of all ages!!
The only trap I noticed in Sweden after four times of visiting it is country's prices. Well, I never was in Tokyo, that is claimed to be a most expensive city in the world, but I found Stockholm prices EXTREMELY high, although many people here on VT (and not only they) say that situation is not so mad as some years ago, and Sweds themselves are constantly talking about neighbouring Norway, that is even more expensive country.
Campsite, Arvidsjaur. If you cant stand being alone, its better to skip to visit Arvidjaur in lappland. This is the most quiet place on earth. The only sound I heared was the noise of a mosquito.
The Grand Hotel is beautiful and centrally located. I'd have loved to give it a good review....more
The Barken Viking is said to be the largest sailing ship ever built in Scandinavia and one of only...more
I havent stayed at this hotel/castle. Not many people with normal budget do that, perhaps if you...more
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