Sunday, October 07, 2007

Astute Observations from the Swedish Countryside

I went back to Sigtuna today, this time with DCP, BMW, and ATM. We had a pretty good time and explored some more of the town. Stopped in on a little café called Tant Brun (Aunt Brown) and had some raspberry pie and hot chocolate. This lovely little place was a suggestion from BGC, who has intimate knowledge of Sigtuna having spent some time in school there.

Anyway, as we drove out there, in a Saab of course I mean come on we’re in Sweden, it became abundantly clear that the Swedish countryside is a bit different than Stockholm. Obviously. With that in mind I’d like to enlighten you with just a few observations from drive. Feel free to comment and add your own. Without further ado, Astute Observations from the Swedish Countryside:

· The stereotype of red houses everywhere is very much based on truth. It’s incredible, right before Sigtuna there is an entire community of only red houses. Welcome to Sweden right? I think that the red color has something to do with the mining industry and how cheap it was to use it in the paint. For some reason I feel like this dates back to the Vasa era but I could be way off on that.

· All that tourist information is not kidding around when it describes how well forested Sweden is. I’m constantly waiting for those little Swedish gnomes to come flying out of the forest and attack me. Or at least give me directions and try to sell me something from Eniro.

· The water doesn’t stop just because you drive inland from Stockholm. Stockholm is built on islands, water is expected there. It continues though. Sigtuna sits right next to the water and has a beautiful view.

· Stockholm is a pretty nice smelling city. Pretty decent air considering how big it is. It’s got nothing on the country air though. It had rained this morning and the smell of forest and water and rain and outside is an incredible mix.

· The idyllic idea of a small town really came to life in Sigtuna. BMW kept commenting on how it was just perfect. Of course he was afraid that zombies were going to attack because it was so perfect but, I blame that on too many movies up in the lonely Alaskan wilderness.

· We ate apples directly off a tree that stood in front of a 12th century ruin. You can’t do that in Stockholm. Hell, you can’t do that in a lot of places, especially in the United States.

· There are a surprising number of Americans who visit Sigtuna. Both today and last weekend the place was crawling with English speakers. I’m not really sure why this is but I would venture to say that it has something to do with the fact that this city has been around since 980 AD and the United States, as Americans know it, has only been in existence since 1776. Old stuff seems to draw people in for one reason or another. Or maybe it was just a bunch of people who were trying to get back to their Swedish roots. Maybe that’s why I went back a second time in two weeks.

· It’s fun being able to explore the country. I love having a car that lets me get up and go. The public transportation is great but nothing beats the freedom of having a car and getting out and adventuring a little bit.

Well, there are my Sunday observations from the Swedish countryside. I said they were astute, not profound. Maybe the next adventure will lead to something a bit more profound. Don’t count on it though.


  1. My wife and I got married in the old town hall in Sigtuna (the brown building standing on its own in the town square).

    I'd not long moved to Sweden so when the registra started speaking in Swedish I didn't actually have a clue what he was saying. At one point he stopped and looked at me, my wife nudged me in the arm and I said, 'I do' or might even have been 'Jag Ska' !

    When we walked out there was a bus load of Italian tourists standing there taking pictures of us and clapping - surreal...

  2. That's an amazing building. And a great story! Sigtuna is amazing by itself, but to have all of that happen really takes the cake.

  3. In some groundbreaking research done by BGC the following has come forward about the red houses in the Swedish countryside. The habit does in fact date back to around 1500. In the 1600s it was seen as a sign of wealth to have a red painted house. The paint tends to come from the copper mines of Falu.

    Check out the wikipedia entries on the Falu koppargruva and Falu rödfärg. The entries are in Swedish.

  4. Hi, just found your blog and been reading it a bit since I'm lying sick in my bed. I always find it interesting reading about what people think of Sweden. :)
    I actually grew up not far from Sigtuna, outside of Märsta in the countryside. But I've got to say we're a little bit different since our house is green, with red corners and yellow windows. :) Sigtuna is a really nice town and so is the café Tant Brun, where many of my friends have been working. :)

  5. Glad to hear it! I mean you reading my blog not being sick. That's no fun for anyone.

    Sigtuna is pretty impressive. I haven't made my way to Märsta yet, it's on my train line though so maybe I'll just stick it out and ride all the way one of these days.

  6. Sigtuna is great, although I don't know if Märsta is worth a visit. There's nothing there. It's just a place to live, and only visit if you actually know someone there. And honestly, I'll never get an apartment in Märsta, I will only go back to visit my family. :)

  7. Fair enough. These are the things people need to know when moving somewhere. Would someone my age be willing to live there? If not... well it's something to think about.

  8. Fair enough. These are the things people need to know when moving somewhere. Would someone my age be willing to live there? If not... well it's something to think about.

  9. The Germans are crazy about those red houses. If you own one and want to sell it, sell it to the Germans cos they pay almost anything too get one.

    There is nothing more Swedish than a house painted with Falu rödfärg, Ikea, Volvo and Absolut Vodka etc. is nothing when compared


  10. I feel like there are a lot of things Swedish that the Germans just love. Like Henning Mankell.