Last week the Danish Boy and I drove to Sweden. One of the best parts about doing this is *saying* "I drove to Sweden". But of course, if you know your Nordic current events, you happen to know that Denmark and Sweden built a bridge connecting them. And this is the bridge we drove across to get to the third nordic country I've been to. Finland, watch out!
So how is Sweden? Remarkably like Denmark, except where it's not.
Well, duh, you say. It is a different country.
Yes, but I expected it to be different. In the way that France is different from Germany. And Norway is VASTLY different from Denmark. Fjords, people, *fjords*!
So how is Sweden different ('cause you don't really want to know how it was the same - same is boring, different is cool)?
1) It costs about $50 to drive there and $50 to drive back. (For the bridge fee.)
2) There is a Swedish Kroner (they don't use the Euro) and it is worth less than a Danish Kroner and so it looks like you are spending a *fortune* on coffee, when really you are just spending *a lot*.
3) They took the idea of "city planning" to a whole new level. In a creepy good way.
Okay, that last one needs some explanation, but in a creepy good way. No, really.
So, in southern Sweden they are being overrun by ex-pat Danes who find living across the bridge cheaper than living in Copenghagen and all of those foreigners they keep letting in (Sweden has let in more Iraqis than any other non-Middle Eastern country and also are very flexable with their immigration laws). And they have to go somewhere. Enter the city planners. Sweden has a GREAT transportation system (and if the Danes don't agree, that's because you have a FANTASTIC transportation system too... take it from the Americans, we haven't yet figured out public transportation) - so instead of building ever expanding suburbia, they go a bit farther away from the town and set up a villiage. Connected by GREAT transportation. This villiage includes not only cute streets with the best sub-division tract-houses I've ever seen (each slightly different with YARDS) but centered around a SCHOOL and a COMMUNITY CENTER and, get this, a LIBRARY!
Now, I hate development. I hate tract-homes. I hate suburbia. But if I had money, I would move to one of these villiages in a heart beat.
Damn, I should have taken Swedish language classes when I had a chance.