sweden

Lund, Sweden: minimalist designs and progressive views by Jessica Lee


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.


Malmo, Sweden by Jessica Lee



Malmo, Sweden, is not where my trip to Europe began, but it is pretty close.

After a brief two days in Copenhagen, Denmark, I went to stay with my friend Myra in Lund.

I remember having trouble adjusting to the new timezones in Europe. I would sleep until noon, not make it out of the house until 1 pm, then find that the sun set in Sweden at around 3 pm. I never really got to see Sweden in the daylight as much as I would have liked to.

Then one day, we took a day trip to Malmo, to see one of her friends for dinner.

A train ride from Lund to Malmo is around 12 minutes. It was amazing to see another fully formed city with a square and established businesses within such a short distance.

In other big cities such as Berlin, it takes much longer to get to another suburb by train. Why are some cities bigger geographically? I am not an expert in urban sprawl, but I liked seeing the differences myself firsthand.

Anyway, here is what Malmo looks like:


One thing that stuck out to me the most was the design and the architecture.


We went into this furniture store which was full of fresh and inspiring ideas.


Usually, travellers don't like "consumerism" because buying more things means more things to carry around with them. Most hardcore travellers I know/ read about don't usually hang around the urban shopping centres, but I find this tragic because when a store is artfully done, it's like going to a design museum- for free!


This Swedish store we were in even offered free tea and coffee.


While we were in Malmo, they also had some sort of festival. Candles were being lit in the streets.


And there was a market of vintage/ handmade things in the square.


We settled down for a coffee break, went grocery shopping and then night set in.


Here is a photo of our dinner: salad, lasagna, ginger cookies and Swedish tea.