Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day-cation to Sweden

For travelers, the most amazing and convenient thing about Europe has got to be it's size. As you (hopefully) already know, European countries are very resemblant of American states. This close proximity is exactly what allowed Federico, Alexandria and I to casually spend a day in Malmö, Sweden!

Quick geography lesson, Denmark proper is connected to Germany but the country also consists of a peninsula (Jutland) and 406 islands (although only around 70 are actually inhabitated). Copenhagen is located on the largest island, Zealand. So Copenhagen is actually closer to Sweden than the next biggest Danish city (Aarhus). See the map below!

When Federico and Alexandria invited me to come to Malmö with them while Victoria was at school, I was so excited! Since I had arrived in Denmark, I had yet to spend a day alone because I went to school with Victoria on Friday and then it was the weekend but I wasn't really looking forward to when I'd have to be alone so it worked out perfectly that I had some travel buddies! :)

We packed a lunch, took a train from Hellerup (the round-trip ticket cost 30 euros) and 45 minutes later we were in Malmö! Of course, since both countries are part of the Schengen Area we didn't have to go through border control. So easy!

Malmö was actually one of the biggest cities in Denmark until the 17th century when Sweden took over control. Honestly, besides the differing language and currency, I didn't notice many other differences between Sweden and Denmark. However, I was only there for one day so obviously I'm not saying that Sweden and Denmark are the same but at least on the surface they look very similar!

I know it sounds harsh but I didn't think Malmö was anything that special. Victoria said that she pretty much only goes there when she wants to do some shopping because it's a bit cheaper but there's not much else to do. I mean I still thought it was cool just being in Scandinavia in general but I think Stockholm seems much nicer. Whatever, even though Malmö wasn't all that great, at least I can say I've been there! If I never went, I never would've known what it's like. I think to be a true world traveler, you have to be able to visit every place (even if it's nothing extraordinary) and gain your own personal understanding/opinion of it.


No idea who put this on display in the center of the city or why?

So I did a little research online about Swedish and Danish and, to my surprise, discovered that they're both supposebly easy for English speakers to learn... This article on Matador Network has Danish listed as the second easiest language for English speakers and Swedish as #9. Wtf... Maybe it's because I honestly haven't attempted to learn either language but their pronunciation just seems impossible!! According to Matador, both languages have simple grammatical structures but difficult speaking patterns and vowel sounds. 

Aw someone's trying to find their lost teddy bears!

Scandinavians LOVE their bikes!


I thought this tree looked really cool! 

We saw two Swedish daddies on a stroller date with their babies! I thought this was the cutest thing ever and also really suitable because Sweden ranks #4 in the Global Gender Gap Report 2014 (followed by Denmark), so it makes sense that men would be doing so-called "feminine" duties. After reading online a little bit, I discovered that in Swedish a new gender-neutral pronoun "hen"is becoming more common instead of using "hon" (she) and "han" (he). I think this is really interesting because it shows just how committed Swedes are to obtaining 100% gender equality. To read more on gender equality in Sweden click here :)

Although Malmö wasn't the coolest city ever, I had so much fun hanging out with Federico and Alexandria! It was awesome to speak Italian again and I got along with them really well :) They're such a nice couple and remind me so much of me and my boyfriend, Mihai, because they love to travel! Last year, Federico and Alexandria spent a semester living in Helsinki with Erasmus (An EU university student exchange program) and also take two trips together every year to a new European city. 

Speaking of Mihai, in case anyone is wondering, our long-distance relationship is going great :) He's now living in Kiel, a medium-sized city in the northern-most region of Germany (if you look at the map at the beginning of this post you can see Kiel; it's only 4 hours from Copenhagen!) with his permanent host family. He said his host family is a perfect fit for him, which is great news!! Check out his blog here for more info! 

Sometimes the distance is really hard though because it's easy to feel a little bit forgotten whenever the other is having a ton of fun in a new country. It's important for us to remind each other just how much we care by making the time to talk. Me and Mihai can both be really busy sometimes but we always try to wake up earlier or stay up later to talk on the phone. Communication is key :)

Some really good news is that Mihai and I will be seeing each other in 5 days!! I found a workaway (budget travelers can work for someone 20-25 hours a week in exchange for room & board) only 45 minutes away from Kiel! I'll be staying in Germany for a month and I'm beyond excited to see Mihai after 2 months apart! 

Hope you're enjoying reading my blog just as much as I'm enjoying writing it! I have a lot of blog posts to catch up on (the stuff I wrote about in this post actually happened 3 weeks ago...) so expect another post verryyy soon! Until then, hej hej! :)

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