I’ve almost now spent my first entire winter in Sweden and it’s been an adventure.
Living in the UK Winter seems to last about six weeks. Once the bitter coldness has squeezed the remaining hours of sunshine it is a gradual transgression into the long dark nights of winter. Usually there are a few weeks in January when the weather seems to be constantly dark but spring seems to come around very quickly. In fact winter, for me, is the shortest season of them all.
Not so in Sweden.
I remember when it began snowing in mid-November. I thought that the snow would last for a few days and then melt but oh I was wrong! Here we are some eight weeks later and the snow still comes down. It’s not the soft snow that we had over the Christmas period; it’s now turned to ice. I quickly became accustomed to the snow and the general habits that seem to be embedded into the life of all Swedes. Brushing off the snow from your window with a soft brush was a novelty to start with (The snow quickly turns to ice in the UK) but now this is a morning ritual each time a trip in the car is required.
However it’s the hours of darkness in Sweden that have taken the greatest amount of time to get accustomed to. I calculate that the UK has around 2 hours of daylight more in the winter than Sweden and it REALLY is noticeable. It is slowly getting lighter but still it is dark around 4pm and here in the UK this week it was still daylight close to 5.30.
Over the course of the years I have heard the Swedes refer to the long dark winters and can now fully understand how they celebrate summer with so much passion and love. The winters are not dull. Some of the sunsets and night-time visions are just amazing to witness but the dark nights are something that can seem to last forever.
Whilst the winter in the UK lasts weeks, Sweden’s seems to last for an eternity. Yet within the hours of darkness lies the light of a beautiful snow filled land.