Observing Sweden

Most of these posts are a bit of a flaneur pretension from Berlin, but we did visit Sweden over the winter holidays, of course. Many things have not, but some things have changed from the Sweden of my childhood:

  • where Berliners all wear fur-rimmed parkas, Swedes are really keen on fluorescent vests, jackets and stripes on pants. Yes, it’s dark in Sweden in winter, but by the same logic Alaska should be aglow, but is not.
  • there are medium-sized windmills everywhere (like Germany), but the big pioneer is gone from Trelleborg. This was a landmark into the 1990s, a towering wind generator right at the harbour, visible from some miles offshore
  • the 1 ½ lane highway design is disappearing and being replaced by single-lane or double-lane stretches of freeway. Gone is the expectation that you drive in the full (left) lane and move to the half lane on the right to let someone pass. With that, the civility of “thank you”, “you’re welcome” signals is disappearing. You pass, you signal right, left, right. You’re passed an signalled to, you flash your headlights
  • most of the winter-time passengers on the Germany-Sweden ferry are still a particular breed. Not quite the Waldschrate (a European variant of an Alaskan sourdough, perhaps) that dominated in the 1980s, but still not your usual crowd of vacationers.

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