At the Swedish dinner table sauce accompanies fish, potatoes, roe, pork, anything, and I for one, love it. I’m incorporating Swedish dippin’ sauces into all of my meals at home. I will probably hit 400 pounds around Easter. Dairy. Man oh man do the swedes love their dairy, but they also have a lot of non-dairy available too.
Sweden has humongous Dairy-free sections. Fina is pretty severely lactarded, and I’ve never seen her happier than watching her run to the dairy section of the grocery store to lovingly embrace the lactose-free cottage cheese, creme fresh, and gruyere.
Oh my god the candy. I don’t really like candy that isn’t chocolate, but both Fina and my sister do. It was crazy the level of candy one could consume in Sweden. There are literally supper stores dedicated to the stuff and every grocery store has a robust candy aisle.
The tax rate dictates a sense of all-for-one communism, I mean commune-ism. We even had a communal bathroom at the house we rented in beautiful Rosso — because the door wouldn’t close to the other bathroom. We were sleeping in close quarters in what I lovingly referred to as my coffin — the inside of the bottom of a bunk bed I shared with my daughter and Fina. Our room also happened to be next to the one working bathroom. As I mentioned, we were eating A LOT of sauce and dairy in general. The bathroom waffed into our room between the PP (poop procession) which took place regularly from 9 am – 10:15 am, like clockwork. Regular, barf.
MARINE LIFE & SWIMMING
Swedish marine life. Uh. Does it exist? There really isn’t a sadder snorkeling experience to be had than snorkeling in Sweden. The water is actually quite clear, but there is absolutely no marine life, save for some sad little inedible brown crabs that just kind of walk away from you when you approach them underwater.
That being said, summer swimming in Scandanavia and Sweden in particular is amazing. I’m not a scientist (despite that time I played a Dr. on the internet), but I hypothesize the sea is pretty shallow because the water is really warm. We swam daily and without the puritanican ‘mercian hangups on nudity, my four-year-old was free to be a kid and swim naked. She only occassionally came out of the water to go pee in front of us, but that is the cost of freedom.
MO’ OIL MONEY, MO’ PROBLEMS
The sheiks of Scandinavia as my brother refers to them are rich with abundant oil and the SUVs to burn it. We were staying in Rosso which is only a 1.5 hour drive from Oslo, so we had many Norwegian 2nd or 3rd or 10th homes near us. We ventured on a day trip to check out the amazing Snøhetta-designed Oslo Opera House and during our 3 hours there we weren’t able to confirm that there are any actual Norwegians in Oslo. We only spoke to service workers that all appeared to be from Sweden. Comparatively poor people seeking better service-worker opportunities, that made even more money than the guy at the Copenhagen 7Eleven!!
F*CKING CHIP & PIN !!?!?
If you are traveling to Denmark you will not be able to use your US debit or credit card. It does not have a chip that allows you to use a pin when making purchases. It’s really something I should have considered before emptying my bank account on a flight. I was lucky I had Fina as a sugar-momma, but her dad told me of friends of his from Minnesota that had to borrow quite lot of Kroners from him because they couldn’t use their cards anywhere they expected to. Fina is convinced that it is possible for merchants to accept our cards, but most workers don’t know how to with the point-of-sale machines.
While Scandinavia isn’t the center of the universe, it is a unique and amazing place to make great memories. This is not to say that American influence, in the form of obesity and Friends reruns, have not crept into Scandinavia. We are making an impact!