Thursday, February 10, 2011

Random Musings from Stockholm

  • There may only be a million people in Stockholm’s urban area, but it seems like 70 percent of them smoke cigarettes. It’s incredible, even for a “big city” where smoking will obviously always be more prevalent than a small town.
  • Stockholm is a beautiful place full of gorgeous people, but again, I guess that’s to be expected for any country’s largest city.
  • MAX sucks. I hadn’t tried Sweden’s largest burger chain despite living here almost six months and I probably never will again. MAX tries to compete with McDonald’s and Burger King, which are both very popular here. MAX claims to serve “Sveriges godaste hamburgar,” but I respectfully disagree. The fries were good and so were the bun and toppings, but I’m a firm believer that the meat makes the burger and I’ll take Burger King beef over the crap I forced down at MAX any day of the week.
  • On a related note, “American Dressing” really isn’t so bad. I’ve never seen it in America, but Swedes love it and MAX, McDonald’s and Burger King all slop it on every burger they serve. It’s like a cross between Thousand Island dressing and the special sauce McDonald’s puts on Big Macs, and I used to absolutely hate it, so much that I simply wouldn’t eat the burger if I asked for it with no dressing and they put the sauce on anyway. One afternoon at Stockholm Central, while waiting for a train back to Falköping, Burger King put the dressing on my Big King XXL and I was so hungry that I ate it anyway. Turns out I might actually kinda like it. Chalk it up to becoming more Swedish with each passing day, I guess…
  • Public transportation in Stockholm, particularly the subway system, is underrated outside Sweden due to the small size of Stockholm in relation to other European capitals. It’s extremely efficient and, at around $100 USD monthly for unlimited bus and subway trips, it’s also a bargain.
  • There’s a certain type of adolescent male who rides around Stockholm on the subway all day long blasting metal music from his iPod at a volume so loud he’ll be deaf by age 30.
  • Public transportation can be an awkward experience, though, especially if your eyes tend to wander. You’ll get anything from an awkward look to a mean glare if you make eye contact with anyone. Tunnel vision is a must on the tunnelbana and other trains in Sweden.
  • Even if it’s less than a buck and I’ve been to enough major European cities that I’m used to paying to use a public restroom, I still hate doing it. When I do, I always try to “take full advantage,” if you catch my drift.
  • I’ve rekindled a childhood love for blueberry muffins.
  • There are a lot of English-speaking expatriates from countries not called the United States, and to borrow a fellow American expat’s trademarked expression, nearly all of us are “love refugees.” I learned the most about cultural differences from non-American expats this winter.
  • I have an easier time paying 70 SEK for a beer than 70 SEK for a fast food value meal, when it should probably be the other way around.
  • I didn’t fully grasp the importance of a large, hot meal at lunchtime in Sweden until working this 9-to-5 job in Stockholm and going out to eat with coworkers every day. While dinners may be as light as cheese and crackers, Swedes enjoy a hearty, multi-course meal at midday. For anywhere from $10 to $15 USD, you typically get your choice of meat, potatoes in multiple styles, a salad bar, bread and a drink, and if you’re still hungry after all that, dessert and coffee are also included. Dagens lunch is a great concept.
  • Skyview at Ericsson Globe is a cool experience. My brother and I visited the attraction one evening and got some great views of Stockholm from the top of the world’s largest hemispherical building.
  • It’s easy to take for granted seeing your significant other every day. I started learning this over a year ago, but the last two months in Stockholm definitely reiterated it.

No comments:

Post a Comment