Lund, Sweden, was one of the first places I visited in Europe.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see a lot of it in the daytime because I was still recovering from jet lag and Sweden only gets about 3 hours of sunlight a day in Winter. The mood of walking around at night is dark and sombre- exactly like a Swedish film I saw a couple of years ago, Let the Right One In (2008). That's okay though, because the city centre was inviting and warm.
I think my favourite part about Lund was its small size. There aren't many tourist attractions so I didn't feel the pressure to rush from place to place. I took my time, went window shopping and sat in cafes.
One of the things I noticed about Lund (and I suppose Sweden in general) was its minimalistic design in everything from architecture to interiors.
The simple, practical design of the buildings in Sweden are quite different from say, the fancy Haussmann style of Paris.
I liked the design of this bathroom in their community centre. It was non-gendered, with just one big room and a communal sink but different stalls. It's utilitarian and gender-friendly. It allows women to use the men's stalls if there is a huge line-up of women and no men's line-up, because usually that's what happens. It also puts less pressure on transgendered people.
I think it's really cool Sweden's progressive views are reflected in their designs. Swedes are known around the world for being tolerant and having great social policies such as long parental leaves (480 days, 390 of them paid), a good welfare program, and fairly equal gender equality.
As much as I liked the aesthetics and generous amount of cafes in Sweden however, I think my favourite memory of Lund was taking part in an elaborate dinner with my friend's Swedish buddies.
It's always nice to have locals explain delicacies to you while showing you how to cook in their homes. It feels much more authentic than going to a restaurant. It's also really cool to know they play the same games we do in North America. We played a sweet game of charades after dinner. But of course, the pop culture references are different. For example, I didn't know some of the Swedish politicians the group brought up. Also, because I'm Canadian, whenever I play a guessing-type game with people of other nationalities, "Justin Bieber" always gets thrown into the hat (lucky me).
By the way, Swedes really love their cheese. Here is a photo of me with an "ordinary" sized block of cheese in a grocery store, which is HUGE even by North American standards:
I hope I get to visit Lund again a few years down the road. Of course, everything will be different because I won't know anyone there anymore (everyone I do know there is a temporary student), but I love to revisit places, retrace steps and relive memories.