Go Sports! Swedes love healthy lifestyle and being active. However, with the temperature dropping down and more and more people hiding in the safe harbour of their own homes, I’ve spotted a few less conventional sports on the streets of Malmö. Check out this list of national Swedish sports that you haven’t ever heard of to understand a little bit more about what living in Sweden is like.
1) EXTREME TEMPERATURE BIKING
If I were to pick the most Scandinavian sport of all time it would certainly be extreme temperature biking. What seems to me like a total absurd in Poland, here is a daily routine for a quarter of a year: go out, clear your bike out of snow(!), sometimes even scrape the ice off of the saddle, unlock it from the plural number of locks and bike away with a horizontal wind and rain going straight at your face. When most of Europe says “enough” and hides their bikes in the garages for the winter around October, Swedes apparently can’t see the logic behind this behaviour. Well, you’ll see me and my bike at the streets in November, December and January. After all: when in Rome, do as the Romans do!
2) LONG DISTANCE QUEUEING
I am not even sure if queueing can be counted as a sport in Sweden or is it already an art form. Nevertheless, Swedes practice it with love. In almost every place from a post office to a bakery you can find a ticket machine disposing queue numbers. If you are lucky, you might even find that there is already a queue for the ticket machine! Waiting in a line to get your place in a line – doesn’t it sound fun? Although one might argue that Swedish love for queueing is a myth, you can’t deny the existence of lines and tickets machines in the most unexpected (at least for us ignorant foreigners) places…
3) PASTRY COMPETITIVE EATING
Another peculiar sport that seems to be popular in Sweden is pastry competitive eating. Every time I am in a supermarket I wonder how is it exactly possible that they sell this amount of pastries each day. I suppose there is some kind of nation-wide competition in eating Kanelbulle and I am the only one who haven’t got the memo. That would also explain the amount of fikas (coffee and cake breaks) and the need for national Kanelbulle day (yes, this country has a national cinnamon bun day). Come to Sweden if you want to explore dozens of types of pastries you haven’t ever seen!
Ok, we are getting closer and closer to some more conventional sports. So number 4 shouldn’t be a surprise – all Scandinavians seem to love healthy living and working out. The amount of gyms in my city overwhelms me. I have moved 3 times already and each time I hadn’t lived more than 5 minutes from a gym. In the center I would say that every other street has its own gym. Many of them open 24 hours a day. I was expecting more saunas, but apparently gyms are even more popular. Gyms are the thing. So grab your leggings and let’s hit Fitness 24/7!
Credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se
Last but not least – one conventional sport had to make this list. Because for me it is not conventional at all. In Sweden I discovered that I have spent my whole life in ignorance, not knowing that throwing a bunch of metal balls in the sand could be fun. I was sceptic at the beginning too, believe me. But apparently a game in which two teams compete in throwing metal balls, trying to throw your as close to the aim as possible and bounce off the balls of the rivals further away suits Scandinavian culture just perfectly (and is much more exciting than it seems). So if you visit Sweden – don’t wait, just find a boule bar and get loose!
Featured image credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se