Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Flying, UK

Sweden, mooses and no lockdown

There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose – Lord Rockingham’s XI

Now what has ‘Hoots Mon’, a UK No.1 from 1958 to do with the price of Irn-Bru?

Only that the moose is considered a measure of distance in northern Sweden.

Which we’re all looking at enviously because there’s no lockdown there.

In the region of Norbotten locals are warned to stay ‘one moose length’ away from each other.

Check out the lights. Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

While in the rest of the country they’re still eating meatballs, smorgasbords and pickled herrings and highly-priced beer in bars and restaurants.

All the time following Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s guidance to keep social distance.

The Swedish hinterland

So what is it that Sweden is doing right?

Well, in a nutshell, they believe it is not sustainable to keep its people in open-ended lockdown.

A night out in Sweden

And that they are prepared to accept certain restrictions on movement and interaction over a prolonged period.

Rather than to take the pain today for jam tomorrow.

She and her fellow Swedish politicians recommended this on internal travel at Easter.

The government exhorted Swedes not to travel to their summer cottages or relatives but did not ban them from doing so.

Which was 90 per cent lower than in previous years.

The Abba Museum

All of which progress and good husbandry focuses our attentions rightly on Sweden…

And talking about husbandry I’m reminded of what a good husband I would have been to Agnetha Faltstog, my first love.

Alas her husband Bjorn Ulvaeus was on the scene… and I was only 11.

ABBA’s Greatest Hits was the first album I ever bought.

And it was my love of Abba that got me innocently into trouble in my Jesuit Catholic all-boys school when I brought copies in of The Sun newspaper.

The ABBA Story

All because they were serialising The ABBA Story… I even used my lunch money to pay for the newspapers.

Easy ahopping

However my teacher suspected that I was ogling the bare-breasted Page 3 girls instead. All of which landed me with a belting.

I will continue to make it one of my life’s missions to track down Agnetha in her retreat.

And the best starting point is to actually get out to Sweden.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines http://www.flysas.com is your best bet, and they fly out of Dublin, and in the UK from London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

A tour around Scandinavia

Now I dipped my toe into Scandinavia when I cruised with MSC http://www.msccruises.co.uk and http://www.msccruises.ie around Denmark http://www.visitdenmark.com.

And Norway http://www.visitnorway.com, getting within touching distance of Agnethaland http://www.visitsweden.com and http://www.visitstockholm.com.

Finnish forest huts

While I’m continuously being tempted by my old Finnish http://www.visitfinland.com and adopted Glaswegian Paula from our Disneyworld http://www.disneyworld.co.uk

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/ to go our to her home country, which is more culturally Scandinavian than geographically.

But the UN named it the happiest place on earth so the Scandinavians will claim it gladly.

Iceland for geezers

Ah, those Northern Lights

Heck, so that I’m not accused of not including the other Scandinavian countries, I’ll flag up Iceland here.

With Iceland Airlines http://www.icelandair.com and http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com.

Although again it is probably more culturally Scandinavian than geographically traditionally so.

Greenland in demand

Shifting plates

The Faroe Islands http://www.visitfaroeislands.com is a self-governing Danish territory and Greenland which is a Danish territory will also qualify.

Mind you Donald Trump has had his eyes on buying the world’s biggest island https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/22/greenland-americas-51st-state/.

In what he would probably tag a beautiful, beautiful deal.

So we’ll just have to watch this space.

Adventure, Deals, Europe

Fairytale deals to Copenhagen

Once upon a time there was an airline carrier which offered wonderful deals to Scandinavia.

But guess what we still live happily ever after with these deals from Scandinavia Airlines http://www.sas.com.

They offer Stockholm from €41, Copenhagen from €44 and Oslo from €37.

Our ship down there: MSC in Norway

We got our first taste of Scandinavia https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/ when we cruised around Denmark and Norway and got a tantalising look at Sweden on our MSC tour of the fjords… http://www.msccruises.ie and http://www.msccruises.co.uk.

Where we also popped in an old friend in Copenhagen … well, yes him. But him as well, my old university mucker American Tom.

Fairytale story: With Tom and The Scary One

It was invaluable having local knowledge for that day trip with Tom being able to show us where you can buy a coffee for under a tenner.

And also tell us which rides to go on and which not in the Tivoli Gardens http://www.tivoli.dk which we all know Walt Disney used as his inspiration for his Disney theme parks http://www.disneyparks.disney.go.com.

BTW I’m up there somewhere and did get a fabulous view of the whole of Copenhagen http://www.visitcopenhagen.com and our ship.

Tom knew all the cool parts, Vesterbro (you’re very welcome).

Dance away: In Copenhagen

Where local artists use industrial holders to play out their modern interpretative dance moves.

And yes Bandanaman was throwing some shapes from the back of the crowd too.

Sweden is tantalisingly close when you sail off from Copenhagen on your way to Norway.

And when you do visit Stockholm http://www.visitstockholm.com you will, of course, hit the dance floor at the ABBA The Museum http://www.abbathemuseum.com.

Munch break: In Bergen

And I will also catch up with my old friend Agnetha… though again not that one. A long story which I’ll return too. And a salutary lesson too!

But while we only dipped our toes into Denmark and barely at all Sweden we did jump in head first into the Norwegian fjords. And will be back.

Dahl boy: Norwegian landscape painting

And this time having sampled the art of Munch and the drama of Ibsen it’ll be full sail for Oslo… http://www.visitoslo.com.

Cruising in the fjords became popular in the 19th century through the works of Hans Dahl and there began an influx of tourists there on the back of it.

Mind you they would have got there quicker and cheaper with SAS.