So what’s to do in Sweden?

Date:February 16, 2004 / year-entry #63
Orig Link:
Comments:    104
Summary:Here is where Raymond gets to abuse his power as a blogger to get some free travel advice. I will likely travel to Sweden in mid-March, with a whopping total of five months of Swedish under my belt. I'm sure I will embarrass myself horribly, but that's sort of the point, after all. The question...

Here is where Raymond gets to abuse his power as a blogger to get some free travel advice.

I will likely travel to Sweden in mid-March, with a whopping total of five months of Swedish under my belt. I'm sure I will embarrass myself horribly, but that's sort of the point, after all.

The question is, "So what's to do in Sweden?" I was thinking of flying in to Stockholm, spending the first day recovering from jet lag, then spending maybe a week exploring whatever there is to see there. (Well, I'll actually be staying with a friend in Uppsala, but there appears to be regular train service to/from Stockholm.) Definitely hit Vasamuseet, Nobelmuseet, and Gamla Stan. I'm sure there's other stuff too.

Then I figure I'd hop a train to Göteborg and spend the remaining three days there doing, um, I have no idea. But I'm told it's a nice city.

Yes, this plan means that I miss out on Gotland, Skåne, the -Köppings, and all the northern bits. But then again, you can't see a whole country in just ten days.

So am I nuts?

Comments (104)
  1. PaulB says:

    I can recommend the vasamuseet and a boattour through the city.

  2. Clayton Nash says:

    In Stockholm, Soder Mahl (sp?) (the old town) is gorgeous and simple to walk around. A few other cool things are the viking boat tour which you can find on the southern side of the old town. Cocktails in the skybar of the SAS Raddison on top of the main station — there’s also a fun fair which looked interesting but which I didn’t go to myself. You should also try and eat some reindeer — very rich but very tasty.

  3. Ivan Towlson says:

    Goteborg is nice, but do check what’s open and when, and be prepared to plan your visiting time around that. I went for a day trip in September, and a lot of places were closed. I’d have got much more out of the trip if I’d gone on a Tuesday or during peak season.

    The naval museum in Goteborg is well worth a visit. Lots of crawling through cramped submarines and the bowels of old warships. Great atmosphere.

  4. Morten Andersen says:

    To not embarrass yourself quite as much as possible :-), you should probably learn a little bit about (black) swedish humour too. So please welcome:

    "Arne And"

    This is absolutely one of the funniest cartoons I have ever read, and is 100% native swedish. You can see a sample of some of the strips here:

    (an english translation is available, at the left top, if necessary)

    I don’t know whether it is possible to buy the original 4? albums anywhere anymore (I only have them in danish).

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  66. Raymond Chen says:

    I think I’m going to leave these comments in, just so everybody will know how obnoxious you are.

  67. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    I win

  68. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    All you need is a little Seig Heil to get the party going.

  69. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Sweden is a breeding ground of Nazis and racists.

  70. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:


    "With a spate of murders and bombings last year, Swedish neo-Nazis established themselves as perhaps the most active terrorists in any EU country"

  71. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Lets show the fuckin TRUE COLOURS of Sweden.

  72. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Even more so than the Provisional IRA, thats saying something, probably the most feared in Western Europe but Sweden is the most active on harbouring terrorists in the form of Nazis.

  73. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Founder of IKEA was a nazi.

  74. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    I can name names of MSFTers who have connections with nazism.

  75. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Shall I start posting theyre login aliases?

  76. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Some are still at MS Nordic, some under contracts some are in Redmond.

    They know who they are and they know I know who they are.

  77. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    I now declare this thread DoA :D

  78. Raymond Chen says:

    Well I’m glad you’re satisfied. Now maybe other people can say something now.

  79. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Oh I havnt finished yet :D

  80. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    It aint over until the fat geek i mean lady sings, and I aint singing yet :D

  81. Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] says:

    Sick and fucking tired of this shit being swept under the rug and people beautifying something that it isnt.

  82. Raymond Chen says:

    I’m find with your pointing it out, but be civil about it, and don’t claim to be a Microsoft employee when you aren’t. (And if you really are, then send me email from your work account to prove it.)

  83. Andreas Häber says:

    Morten: Arne And/Anka rules :) lot’s of good points! Rocky is another good Swedish comic. You can order "Arne And" vol I & II at, but I’m not sure if that’s the same as the Danish versions :)

    I’m wondering how the subject of this blog could change this way, but seems like "Ivonna" needs a new (and better!) hobby.

  84. Don X says:

    Hey does she need something to fill her mouth or what? 8===()

  85. e8johan says:

    When you visit Gothenburg, be sure to drop by Universeum. They have a huge jungle located indoors. It is really impressive. And if you want to have lunch or something with a "local", just drop a mail.

  86. Jeppe Larsen says:

    IMHO you should change the destination of the last part of journey to Copenhagen in stead of Göteborg, but I think you have already been to CPH, right?

    If you do I would be happy to give you some pointers on what to do in this fair city (Yes, you guessed it I am a Copenhagian) or I might even through in a guided tour!

    PS. I am a fellow MSFT working at the Vedbaek campus!

    PPS. I very much enjoy reading your blog!

  87. Jeppe Larsen says:

    Uppsss! It should of course have read: I might even THROW in a guided tour!

  88. Glenn B. Hansen says:

    You should visit the Systembolaget (?). From a Dane this is not a typical recommendation, but I find the Systembolaget amusing/entertaining for two reasons:

    1) The have a huge number of different beers. And very competent store clerks.

    2) It’s interesting to view this type of shop — almost like the old eastern Europe.

  89. Jeppe Larsen says:

    I agree with Glenn: Systembolaget is definetly something that is very swedish, and well worth a visit. Besides your options are pretty much limited to Systembolaget if you want something to drink (besides low-percentage beer).

  90. Thomas Olsson says:

    The archipelago of Stockholm and Göteborg is very unique. It is a bit like the archipelago of NW USA and SW Canada, but there are many more and smaller islands. During the summer there are quite a lot of boats of all sizes.

    Mars is perhaps not the ideal time for a tour in the archipelago since it is still quite cold, but you can probably find some guided tour even at that time of year.

    If you came to Göteborg during may-october you might be able to persuade someone (like me) to take you out in a sailing boat. That is the preferred way to experience the archipelago.

    Here are a few pictures:

  91. Andreas Häber says:

    Unfortunately "Systembolaget" is not special to Sweden. Here in Norway we have "Vinmonopolet" :/.

    AFAIK "Systembolaget" must be de-monopolized due to EC-laws, so visit it when you’ve got the chance :) Or just visit Norway next time where "Vinmonopolet" will still be a monopoly in probably a looong time :)

    A good thing with "Vinmonopolet" is that it’s easy to find the place where they sell wine & liquor if you’re in a new town :) (of course – if "Vinmonopolet" exists in that town.. often you have to travel to a bigger town to find one) And if you’re very unlucky then you travel for an hour to a bigger town and find out that it’s closed because it’s illegal to such at holidays for example (such as Christmas Eve).

    Think I stop here now.. Someone could write a big book/library about the joys of the Norwegian alcholol politics :)

  92. Raymond Chen says:

    My friend in Uppsala is a college student who works as a bartender so he’s well aware of Systembolaget. He finds it amusing that the principle of "lagom" (which Swedes define as "not too much, not too little" but which my friend defines as "satisfactorily mediocre") applies to beer as well. There are three beers, all of which are perfectly serviceable but not outstanding. And yet people have strong feelings about one brand over another. Sometimes as a joke he switches them around and nobody notices.

    I remember seeing the big Carlsberg Beer sign in central Copenhagen which read "Possibly the best beer in town". An American brewery would of course declare "Absolutely the best beer in the world".

  93. toh says:

    You can’t say your product is "the best" in Sweden unless you can prove it. Marketing laws! I guess that applies in Denmark too? ;)

    Oh, and "Soder mahl" (real spelling: Södermalm) isn’t the real old town. Historically, Old town (Gamla stan) used to be the city core and Södermalm was where the workers lived.

    Göteborg is a lovely town in spring/summer, but too windy to be enjoyed in other seasons, IMO. At least if you’re doing the enjoying outdoors.

    Oh, and if you ever do embarrass yourself horribly, read this and be comforted: (Swedes (and other people whose primary language isn’t English) try.. but don’t get it quite right.)

  94. Andreas Häber says:

    The other famous Danish beer-brewer (Tuborg) declares that Tuborg is the preferred beer for all Danes… so, Carlsberg is preferred all over the world except in their homecountry? I’m a little confused now…

    Another fine beer-ad is Warsteiner’s (German): "Because life is too short to drink cheap beer" :]

  95. If you’re a bit interested in architecture you should visit districts like Haga and Majorna when you’re in Göteborg. In those districts there are a lot of old houses that are very typical for Göteborg (one storey of stone and two stories of wood). There are some quite old in Masthugget as well, but most have been torn down there (unfortuntately). Masthuggskyrkan is a very nice old-looking church on top of a high hill with a great view over the canal (and the town).

    Of course the archipelago is one of the greatest things about Göteborg but that’s unfortunately most enjoyable during summer (June-August).

    You can also spot some moose in Slottskogen (usually keeps all German tourists occupied for quite a while).

    And, well, if you want a guided tour around Göteborg or just a local to have a beer with, I don’t plan to go anywhere in March…

  96. Jeppe Larsen says:

    Let me just clear up some of the confusion with regards to Tuborg and Carslberg.

    Tuborg, which is brewed by Carlsberg, is mostly a domestic beer that is not exported, or at least only in very small quantities. Carlsberg on the other hand has huge international market share and is enjoyed by people all around the world. Therefore the current Carlsberg slogan is: "Probably the best beer in the world". The "Probably" part ensures that there are no conflicts with marketing laws.

    Back in the good old days it was conceived as being more refined to drink a Tuborg in comparison to Carlsberg that was the preferred beer of the working class. This has of course changed today where it is just a question of taste. I my self prefer a Carlsberg over a Tuborg.

    Cheers everybody!

  97. Andreas Häber says:

    Jeppe: A fun thing is that "Grøn Tuborg" is sold as one of the cheapest beers in Norway now (you find it for 9-10NOK/bottle). So much was sold that the brewery got empty :)

    Or maybe that was just a way for the stores to not have to sell it anymore. Due to the Norwegian laws about alchohol it’s illegal to market alchohol. That includes having ads such as "Buy Tuborg for only 9NOK!". So, if the stores just raised the price after their little campaign they would’ve been sued, and probably loose their rights to sell alchohol.

    If Raymond likes beer than I must’ve scared him away from Norway now :) but hey, the nature is nice here and (sometimes) the weather doesn’t suck too! For two days in-a-row the sun have shined now wohoo :)

  98. Andy Wilhem says:

    This feedback has more plot twists then most things on the internet…

    Stockholm: Check out the website and buy a Stockholm card. You get free public transportation – subway and bus – plus free entry to all museums and some other sights.

    Beer: Jeppe, Carlsberg and Turborg are brewed side by side (at least "almindelig") you have to go to Ceres to get something that is truely different (OK, I’m over in Aarhus).

    Already got my September reservations to Munich!

  99. Kevin Eddy says:

    You might want to check out the section on Sweden in Bill Bryson’s book "Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe"

  100. Daniel says:

    Who is Ivonna Vackoff [MSFT] ?

    Does she know anything about Sweden?

  101. Bettina says:

    Thanx Daniel… !

    The best in Sweden:


    (Statshuset, Vasa Museet, Gamla Stan, Slottet, Södermalm (for Pups and Clubs),

    Slussen,Hagaparken)Dont miss Sigtuna, small town near Stockholm, you can go there by local transport, really swedish...
    <br>Universeum.... very very good, Opera,
    <br>Gotland, Visby
    <br>Nothsweden, in Winter as in Summertime. In Wintertime its cold and snowy, but you will see the Northern Light! In the summertime, its everytime bright and sunny.
    t miss to eat "Köttbullar" (swedish meatballs) nothing is more swed. ( well, maybe the Kanelbullar :-) try it !!!

  102. Potentially a Skovde student says:

    Hello, I am considering starting graduate studies in Skovde Sweden. I see a few students or professors in Sweden have posted. I would love to get their opinions (if they have any) regarding studying bioinformatics in Skovde vs a school in the US (where I am from and residing).

  103. Jakob says:

    my advice is to stay as far away from sweden as u can!

    ur likely to be disappointed by it! think bout it again

  104. Faking your way through a German transaction.

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