Day 8 - Oslo (NO) to Stockholm (SE)
- Home to Abba, Volvo, Saab, Ikea, H & M, Electrolux and spas as well as the cheese slicer and nicotine-replacement gum! And not forgetting - Tetra Pak, the pacemaker and dynamite!
- Sweden has twice the population of Norway but still only 10.5 million (nearly the same as London) - it is one of Europe's largest countries and has the lowest population density.
- Recycling is key here with only 1% of waste ending up in landfull. 50% is recycled/composted and 49% is incinerated for energy. There is not enough waste to keep the incinerators running so they import waste from Norway and the UK and get paid for it!
- Stockholm is built on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges - will we manage to cross them all!
- The city has a population of 1.8 million people.
- Most of the metro stations in the city feature as art galleries. More than 150 artists took part in the project creating mosaics, paintings, graffiti, installations, sculptures and more.
- It is one of the cleanest cities in Europe - just when I though we couldn't get any cleaner. (It has slashed carbon emissions by over 25% since the 1990s and is aiming to be fossil fuel free by 2050.
- More than half of Sweden is covered in forest
- Sweden is home to the famous Ice Hotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi.
- Taking a break is baked into Swedish culture and the practice is called Fika. Twice a day workers enjoy communal coffee, cake and a chat. It is pretty much a compulsory thing and in most companies anyone not taking part is considered rude. Maybe that’s why Swedish employees are the fourth happiest in the world!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is affects many people in the far North of Europe with less than 5 hours of daylight for months on end. To help combat this, one city in Sweden installed lightboxes in bus stops to allow people waiting for their transport to experience a little extra daylight during the dark days of winter.
It might appear that we are 'doing Europe' in a week! However, we basically want to get maximum use of our unlimited interrail ticket and our main goal was to head as far north as we could in the hope of catching some Northern Lights - although there is no guarantee! We therefore logically had to move from city to city and we decided that it was a great opportunity to see some of the main sights in each of these capitals. It worked very well since our hotels were not far from the stations in each city and we had 2 full days which enabled us to see nearly everything in Copenhagen and certainly in Oslo, which is a much smaller city.
Today we are off on a fast train to Stockholm so this will be our first experience of Sweden.