Winter in Scandinavia

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Sälen, Sweden

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been back in Sydney after spending two weeks in Denmark and Sweden. Spending some time away from home can have a significant impact on your mindset – it can really leave you reinvigorated and reenergised, mind, body, and spirit. For me, travelling really makes me think about all the small things in life, things that we often take for granted, and things that we overlook in our day-to-day lives as we rush from one task to another, one event to another, and one place to another. Travelling is the time when I can find it so much easier to take a deep breath, relax, and be fully present in my surroundings, without the incessant voice in my head telling me what’s next on the to-do list.

This is the second time I’ve been to Denmark and Sweden, and both times happened to be over the cold and grey period of January. There’s something I’ve really come to enjoy about the winter period in Scandinavia though… even as an Australian. As the Swedish saying goes… “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”… although I am not sure about the applicability of this when the weather drops below -10 degrees celsius.

Some things I love about the winter season in that part of the world (in no particular order)…

  • Being able to experience “real” winter weather = ability to wear “real” winter clothes. You get to realise your dreams of wearing a long winter coat, with an oversized scarf and a beanie with a ridiculously sized pom pom. While anyone in Sydney will attest to experiencing a few “REALLY COLD DAYS” in June / July, it’s a bit embarrassing when you realise (in hindsight) that it was really only a few hours in the early morning and in the evening that it was really cold… and by that, I mean somewhere around the 5 degree celsius mark…
  • No one will pass comment if you wear black head-to-toe or suggest you are trying to channel your best goth vibes from the 2000s. Black is the colour of choice in winter… and when you need to wear a gazillion layers, it makes sense to have all the layers in the same colour so you don’t look like you’re trying to channel all colours of the rainbow in one outfit. However, onto my next point…
  • It’s okay if you don’t look très chic (a subtle nod to the late 2000s / early 2010s with that phrase?) because it’s winter! The key priority is to layer up, be warm, and minimise time outdoors if the weather is bad. It’s also okay to wear pretty much repeat outfits because no one will really notice your outfit when you have to wear a long coat and scarf on top… that’s my logic anyway.
  • There are candles everywhere… on every table and in every corner of cafes, restaurants, and bars. I love that candles can really add to the cozy / hygge (another post on this soon) atmosphere and ambiance of cafes, restaurants, and bars, and it’s always so nice to see a lit candle when you’re indoors and seeking solace from the cold weather! However, I did see a lot of unattended candles (even candles in the bathroom!!) and the Australian in me tried to not freak out and think about it being a potential fire hazard…
  • You can also see Christmas lights everywhere, with a Christmas star and a set of Swedish Christmas lights visible from a window of every apartment / house you pass. There’s something so pretty about traditional Christmas lights. I’m much more used to seeing the colourful and flashing lights my neighbours are fond of – lights that often give a Las Vegas rather than a festive vibe. It is sometimes almost blinding to be driving down the street with all these colours flashing in your peripheral vision.
  • Fika breaks (although this isn’t season-specific). I think the concept of ‘fika’ probably deserves a post of its own. I really like the idea of an intentional coffee break, partly because I’m definitely more used to coffee as something I grab on the way to the office in a take-away cup to be able to function and to be reasonably sociable in the morning… haha. Fika (to me anyway) is more about taking a break, slowing down, and being present.
  • Winter = snowfall! Seeing so much snow for the first time was really exciting for me. Having said that, I can definitely see that heavy snowfall can get bothersome when you’re living in the city and not on a short ski trip, as you have to walk around in half-melted snow, or melted-snow-now-refrozen-as-ice for a few days. Definitely a public health and safety issue. However, for someone who has lived in Sydney their entire life, I think there is something so magical about snow.

So those are some of my favourite things about winter in Scandinavia! What are your favourite things about the winter season?

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