I came across quite a good saying today “There is no bad weather, only poor clothing” and it got me thinking about the argument that I’ve noticed between Swedish and British outdoor activities. Sweden has FAR more space than the UK but the obvious fact that is so obvious is that Swedes take advantage of it.
Last week I was in a bar in Norrkoping and I overheard a conversation, in English, that two Swedes were having with an American. They were talking about the forthcoming weekend and they were planning a sailing, fishing and camping weekend somewhere down South. Now for me if this was in the UK it would be almost impossible to comprehend, whilst we have substantial sailing, camping and fishing places it is hard to find them in the same spot, yet in Sweden they are in a multitude of places.
I’ve also been reading about allemansratten which is a Swedish right of way through many of its natural places without having entrance fees or any boundaries. In the UK the only places that exist like these are the National Heritage Parks and usually it is the “Ramblers Association” that seem to be queue up in the UK like cars on the M25 and that is no exaggeration! Just the mere notion that Sweden has so much pride and care for it is environment is thrilling to see. So many EU countries are still in that Victorian manner of, “If we have space we will build on it”
Even in the harsh winter it does not seem to stop the Swedes from having fun. When I first moved here I could not really understand why everyone seemed to be partaking in “Urban Skiing”, which of course I found to be Nordic Walking, but even on frozen lakes I’ve seen children and parents skating. Far different from when I was a child and the only reason we would dare walk out across a frozen lake was to see if we could last longer than our friends before falling.
It’s been a terrific and quite refreshing winter so far and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much winter activity as I have here and as the snow slowly melts and the winter turns to spring I just wonder how each upcoming season will change the way the Swede’s enjoy the outdoors. It’s going to be fun to watch and try.