The Ultimate Fall Bucket List – Slay Fall like a Swede

Sara Roza

Written by Sara Roza

14 Oct 2019

Sweater Weather has arrived, scarves are out of the closet, and your mood is suddenly off.

Does it sound familiar? Grab your mug of hot chocolate, and check out how a student in Gothenburg gets rid of summer- lamentation.

If you’re like me, and you’re definitely not from a nordic country, you probably wonder: ” why do I need two pullovers and a big scarf? And why do I sleep in long-sleeves pajama, with an extra blanket in October?”

Well…I am from Hungary. The temperature during summer is somewhere between 25-40 Celsius. During winter, it can drop to -10 Celsius as well, but it doesn’t really stay for more than a couple of days. Here in Sweden, on the other hand, it gets colder way faster, and the leaves turn into gorgeous autumn colors within a blink of an eye.

My medical prognosis

  • Patient: lost master student
  • History of Symptoms: patient suffers from severe mood swings, she claims she can’t find fall activities.  The patient also fears from even colder weather and terrified from its intensification.
  • Diagnosis: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) –
  • Recommended Remedy: to sniff the fresh air, to march on crispy orange leaves, and to be amazed, because fall in Sweden is nothing you have seen before!
  • Medication: Fall Bucket List (see attached)
  • Recommended control examination: in 2 months with GUARANTEED positive results

How to cure (SL) Summer Lamentation

Yep, you read right. I made a Bucket List, to cheer myself up, and give you some tips on how to enjoy autumn in Sweden!

I HIGHLY recommend  you to make one too, and of course, you can also use mine as well:

Illustration showing bucket list.
Fall Bucket List 2019 / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

1. Visit a park turned into fall

The first thing I could cross out from my list was: to visit an autumnal park. No matter which Swedish city will be your future destination I can assure you you will find the most beautiful, variety of different sizes and types of public parks in Sweden.

In Gothenburg parks and green areas are everywhere. Dogwalkers, couples, families, tourists, businessmen, musicians and very tired but cheerful uni students are wondering around, even in the heart of the city center.

If you ask me the botanical garden is the most breathtaking… AND it is literally a five minutes walk from the building where I have my classes (School of Global Studies).

There’s honestly no particular occasion nor season to visit one of the public gardens, so wrap yourself in a scarf, and take a break from your school assignments.

Student sitting beside a lake.
A break in something green / Photo: Milo

2. Go to see a hockey game

When I found out that I am lucky enough (and probably also somewhat smart enough) to study in Sweden, I made a pledge to myself: I WILL SEE a hockey game.

“Sara you’re up North, there are no any other nations (okay, maybe there’s some other as well) that probably glide better on ice than I plod on the street”. I told myself.

Yes, I can skate (no triple axel or anything like that), but I have never EVER seen a hockey game live. And Gothenburg happens to have one of the bests (some claims “the best”) ice hockey teams. So why not combine the two? (pst… student can also have student discounts for the tickets)

Tip: I dressed for the worst. Winter jacket, scarf, beenie, fuzzy socks. Well, let me just say: not everyone is on the ice! A T-shirt is enough 😀

An ice hockey arena filled with people.
Waiting for the game to start / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

3. Visit a museum

Gothenburg has many vibrant and unique museums. When it’s raining outside, and you just want to add something to your cultural experience, the best way to do so is to visit a museum. The reason why it is on my bucket list is very simple. This is my first season here, and my aim is – even though school is probably the number one priority and the reason why I am here – to get to know Sweden.

If it’s Stockholm, the museum of Fotografiska and I, will always have everlasting love, but in Gotheborg the Museum of World Culture is the one.

Close-up of an exhibition at a museum.
The Museum of World Culture / Photo Credit: Sara Roza Heindl

4. Drink a hot beverage (but I also added some sweet goodies)

I know. You can drink tea or coffee at home. BUT the first -ever Swedish word you will hear is “FIKA”..

It doesn’t matter when… or with who, nor where: Fika comes first. You will probably hear the word fika more than your own name.

Cinnamon buns, chocolate cakes, cheesecake, cardamom and vanilla cakes, blueberry muffins. Non-dairy, dairy, gluten-free, vegan, with cream on the top. Cafe au lait, espresso, matcha, chai, bryggkaffe, or simply a glass of juice.  The list is endless, and the feeling is priceless…

A perfect job interview, the first date with your soulmate, a period break with your classmates, or by yourself (because there is nothing wrong with that either), but honestly? You don’ even need any excuse.

Close-up of cinnamon bun.
Gothenburg’s biggest cinnamon bun / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

5. Visit the “fall archipelago”

They say it, you just shrug it off. ” I have seen a sea before, it cant’t be that special…” WRONG, Sara, again!

This was the favorite part of my bucket list. The archipelago is and probably forever will be the favorite place to visit in Sweden. Forget everything you thought about your idea of a sea (or an ocean) because this is something beyond. Wild, fresh, yet still so stunning.

My sister, her friend and my mom visited me for a weekend, and I thought I will take them to see the coasts. The weather was cold, but the sun was bright and shining for the whole day.

First I hesitated, to which island to go for. I randomly pointed at one small island on Google Maps, picking the furthest possible (from which is considered as the Archipelago of Gothenburg). I  don’t (and certainly they did not either) regret the choice: the whole 1,5 hours was absolutely worth it. I have never seen the changing colors of the leaves in a combo with a coastline.

I can’t wait to go back to Vrångö! Perhaps in summer, when I can also dive in.

(Tip: You can directly take a tram from the city center and it leaves you in front of the port.)

Person standing beside the sea.
A day in Vrångö / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

6. Walk to school

“This one is so easy” – you’d say. In reality, it’s not. I like to sleep longer, I tend to be in a rush (but never late) in the mornings. Plus, I live relatively far (one hour by tram) from school.
So only walking to school is almost impossible (at least for me), but at least a part of my journey in the morning can be walking, right?

Here’s what you can see during fall if you decide to replace only a few tram stops with your legs:

Plants in a park.
Autumn morning / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

7. “Find some reindeers”

“Finding some reindeers” is definitely a childhood dream of mine. I am not a huge fan of zoos, circuses, or any animal parks where wild animals are captured and shown as attractions, but until I don’t have a chance to come across a wild reindeer, or I don’t peek on Santa’s sleigh, the Slottskugen is my best chance to see one for the first time in my life.

In this park, animals have a lot of space, and they can enjoy a much calmer environment than in a regular zoo.

Reindeer eating from troughs.
Reindeer family / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

8. See the sunset.

Autumn sunset is my favorite. I can’t explain why, but I find really interesting that the sky harmonizes for an hour with the leaves, and if it rains, the sunlight reflects back on the water. In Sweden, not only the rain, but also lakes, rivers, and of course the sea gives some perfectly smooth surface for the rays of the setting sun. And of course, somehow I always make time to sit back and try to appreciate this fleeting hour.

Person standing on a jetty overlooking the water.
Sunset / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

9. Bake a pie.

To get into the full-on Autumn mode, I encourage you to do some baking. (Also, a perfect occasion to invite your friends for a home-made Fika).

Sometimes, and I know I am not alone with this – I have some homesickness, and I get into a melancholic mood. This is something completely normal, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing else that reminds me more of my home than some home-made apple pie, that my grandma used to make me all the time.

Nowadays, I prefer the vegan version, and mine will never be as good as hers, but “practice makes perfect”, right?

Close-up of a pie.
a home-baked apple pie / Photo: Sara Roza Heindl

AND NOW! It’s your turn! Help me to make a Bucket List FOR WINTER, and I’ll try my best to realize some of your ideas!

So if you have any recommendations what a uni student can do during winter in Gothenburg (please consider that I am a girl who has a  low-budget and suffers from borderline “studycoholism”) fill out this google form linked below:

WINTER BUCKET LIST 2019- DA edition. ↗️

Sara Roza

Written by Sara Roza

14 Oct 2019