Inside Sweden: On the Road to Kalmar
After breakfast, we headed to Kalmar City. Needless to say, I was torn between going with the group and staying in Stockholm where we stayed for three days. It was the excitement of seeing more of the country that won me over.
Kalmar is located in the southeast of Sweden by the Baltic sea. One of the country’s oldest cities, it played an important role in the country’s past for trade and politics.
It was a 6-hour drive from Stockholm with a one hour stop for lunch in Glasriket. In Europe, the driver couldn’t drive for more than 4.5 hours without a break.
Along the way, our Swedish tour guide introduced us to some conversational survival phrases.
Hej (hello), Hej hej! (said twice when really excited)
God morgon (good morning)
Hej då (goodbye)
Tack (thank you)
In addition, she provided us some interesting tidbits about her country and culture to keep us from being bored.
She said that over half of the land in Sweden is covered by forests and half of them are owned families.
Swedes emjoy a high standard of living. About 90% of Swedes or their family own a summer house. A place to relax and unwind and enjoy quality time with family friends, far from the stress of daily life, is on top of their bucket lists.
Swedes are more likely consider themselves as Lutheran Christians, but only a small percentage actually attend church.
Sweden is third biggest exporter of pop music after the U.S. and Great Britain. Its influence is such that it wouldn’t come as a surprise if a major hit from Taylor Swift or another artist has a Swedish pedigree.
Sweden is a great place to work. In addition to short work days compared to other countries, you get five weeks paid vacation after working for a year. If you become a new father or mother, you and your spouse are entitled to take a shared total of 480 days off at 77.6% of your salary. Lastly, you get to enjoy Fika with your co-workers taken at around 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon. It’s making time to take a break for coffee and pastries.
Interestingly, most public restrooms in Sweden are Co-Ed. Don’t worry, they are clean.
We arrived in Kalmar late in the afternoon. We stayed there for a day just enough to visit the Kalmar Castle and the Kalmar Cathedral.
The Kalmar Castle was once a fortress until it was converted into a castle in the 16th century by King Gustav Vasa. It’s one of Scandinavia’s best preserved renaissance landmarks.
Designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, the cathedral dates back in the 17th century.