Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What's _issing _n Stock_lm City?.....

There are a lot of great things about Stockholm. You have a moderate climate regulated by ocean currents so that its never very cold here. The weather has been especially mild this Winter with it rarely getting very cold, in fact its a good think, along with everything i packed when coming here, my goose down filled winter coat didn't fit anywhere so I ended up leaving it in Canada.

Im currently staying in an area referred to as Östermalm which if you look it up on Google maps is quite centrally located to the downtown. you can easily get to anywhere you need to by T-Bana, bus or even walking. The majority of the clubs, bars and downtown nightlife is within walking distance of the central station referred to as T-Centralen in Segels Torg. The nightlife here is especially different to what I am used to back home in that some of the more popular clubs don't get started until after midnight and several of them are open until 5 am (This is in contrast to clubs that close at 2am!) There are two main districts where the majority are located: Stureplan and Södermalm. I have had great times in both districts but I prefer Söder. The Stureplan clubs are very posh, pushy, the bouncers decide entry on looks rather then your spot in the queue, drinks are expensive -even for Swedish prices- and much of it seems somewhat fake. In contrast, Söder is down to earth, people are out to have a good time, drink prices are more reasonable and the bouncers are more friendly. If you are interested in going out in the Stureplan area, my recommendation to you would be to get there early, say around 10pm where the line ups will be non existent and the selection process to get in is less strict.

Swedish Meeting place:
Svampa or Mushroom in English....A huge concrete statue that looks the part located in the heart of Stureplan.

The heart of Stockholm is full of beautifully designed buildings and is architecturally stunning. Its clear there is a lot of history here and one of the first things that struck me when I finally got settled in my first night was the way that the city is designed for people to walk and bike from one location to another. In contrast to typically North American design where the cities are designed for vehicles with pedestrians as an afterthought. I love just walking around the city here and around every new corner you discover something you have never seen. One thing thats taken a bit of getting used to is the naming of the streets instead of the numbered grid system that I'm used to. I guess this it how its done in a lot of the world, but I will never figure it out....

What about the Swedes you ask?

Well glad you asked. There is a lot to say about Swedish people. They are famous for their English skills which i can tell you first hand is the case. Swedish is not an international language being spoken by about 20 million world wide and from the time children are in grade 4 they are taught English. Most television programming comes from the USA and is all in English (subtitled in Swedish). Swedes also normally also speak a third language, something that is taught to them starting around grade 7, they have the choice of learning a variety of languages the most popular of which are Spanish, French, or German. I have been amazed on more then one occasion where I am at a party full of international students and Swede is able to jump from conversation to conversation each time changing their language of choice to the dominant one of the person they are talking to. This is truly a life skill and one I wish i had been exposed to growing up.

Before coming here I did research on Sweden and Swedes in general and everywhere i read that they are hard to get to know but once you do get to know them they are very warm and outgoing. I have to say that for the most part this criticism is a little exaggerated. In my time here I have found that Swedes are very friendly and outgoing and while some may be a bit reserved, it takes only a hello to open up dialog. Swedes are quite interested in learning about other countries and also practicing their English skills. Going out you meet lots of people especially on the weekends, i guess a few beers helps too. One of my favorite resources on Sweden were videos by a Swedish Comedian named Henrik Schyffert. He has a series of videos where he goes out on the town and addresses various Swedish stereotypes and issues in Swinglish. I have included a few in this blog but finding the rest is as easy as search for them on youtube.
These videos are good examples of how extroverted swedes can be. This comedian is randomly selecting people walking by and interviewing them. Im especially impressed with their dancing skills...

No comments:

Post a Comment