• Maria Theodoras

A Love Letter to Sweden: A Page from a Traveler’s Diary

When I moved from the United States to Sweden, I did not know what to expect. The first time I arrived would be my permanent stay. I didn’t know almost anything about the country and this first impression would be very important to my outlook on the country. The first few things people notice when entering a place can develop their entire view of that place.

When first entering the region of Skåne (the southernmost region of Sweden), also called Scania, from Denmark there are a few things that one might notice. To get to the southern part of Sweden through Denmark, people must cross a bridge using either train or car. The first thing you might notice about Skåne occurs before you even enter the region of Skåne, while you are on the Danish side of the channel. If taking public transportation, in this case the train, you will notice that the train is exactly on schedule and relatively clean. The region of Skåne has a government funded system of public transportation that is well upkept.

Another thing you might notice while crossing the bridge is many, many windmills. You can see rows and rows of windmills in the water and on land once you arrive in the region. Skåne has many windmills spread throughout the region. As you progress over the bridge you will be able to see the city of Malmö. One of the first buildings you will be able to see is the iconic Turning Torso. The Turning Torso is a tall white building which, as the name suggests, twists as it goes up. This is one of the best known buildings in the area and apartments inside of it are even available for purchase!

When you arrive in Malmö you may notice that there are three train stations in the relatively small city. This may surprise you but as previously mentioned there is a large reliability on the public transportation system. This was one of the biggest changes that I encountered when moving from the United States to Sweden. There is almost no reason to own a car as public transportation can get you anywhere you need to go. There are buses that go around cities, buses that go between cities, and trains. Many people rely on the public transportation system as well as biking and walking.

Biking is another very common way to get around and you will see an abundance of bicycles, especially during the summertime when the weather is nice, as well as bike racks to park your bikes around town. They are everywhere from train stations to grocery stores to apartment buildings so that people can easily get to any part of town with their bicycle; and people do. The streets are filled with cyclists and you’ll almost never find an empty bike rack.

The first things I noticed about the region that I moved to left me with a lasting - and very positive impression. To this day, my view of this region has never differed too widely off of my first impression, and I take advantage of all the things that I at first found useful, like public transportation and accessible bike racks.

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