In 2009 a friend and I spent eleven beautiful days in one of the most beautiful countries I can imagine. I am talking about Sweden here.
We had bought a travel guide and with this little book, a small car and an even smaller tent we made our way along the east cost up to Stockholm and down again. It was August and the weather was truly great. While climbing up mountains and trying to read runes on what amounted to half a million stones (my friend is a huge fan of the Viking culture-unfortunately), we did not wear more than shorts and shirts. People tend to think of Sweden as quite cold and rainy, since it is way up north, but it was a summer like pretty much everywhere else.
As with Ireland, I think the best part of Sweden is its landscape. We spent two days in Stockholm, but the city itself did not impress me in comparison to what I had seen during the rest of the trip: endless fields, old trees from centuries ago, mystic lakes, dreamy meadows…
Since you can put your tent almost everywhere in this country, we just stopped where we liked and while I prepared the meal on a tiny portable gas stove, my friend built up the tent. This worked surprisingly well and wherever we met Swedish people, they offered us water, food or any other kind of help we might have needed. Never have I met so many friendly people in such a short time. There were really no exceptions. Can a country breed polite and friendly and cooperative people?
If there’s a recipe for that, than Sweden sure owns it.