Simanaitis Says

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SWEDEN, 1923 PART 1

WHAT WITH its less than orthodox, and perhaps less than successful, response to the world pandemic, Sweden is much in the news these days. I’m encouraged to learn more about this Scandinavian country, and what better source than Cook’s Traveller’s Handbook Norway Sweden & Denmark, 1923.

I grant there may well be more up-to-date sources, but this source is conveniently in my collection of old guidebooks. And, as I’ve said before, things cited in an old guidebook are all the more noteworthy if still there.

Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits gleaned from Cook’s Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, together with my usual Internet sleuthing.

Welcome to Sweden. In its Preface, the 1923 edition notes, “Sweden has for the first time been included in this book, which now forms a complete guide to Scandinavia.” Hitherto, British and American travelers were likely to visit Norway, maybe Denmark, but Sweden was apparently off the beaten track.

In its Sweden Introduction section, we read, “During the past ten years or so great things have been done in the direction of opening up Sweden as a tourist-land to her own children, though much still remains undone.”

This and following images from Cook’s Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

The guide advises, “Swedish is a member of the Teutonic family of languages. Numerous dialects are in existence: some of them (those in Skåne and Dalarne for instance) are difficult of comprehension for Swedes from other provinces. Educated people speak the language approximately of the central, or upper, Swedish dialects. The spoken language is not inappreciably simpler in form than the written.”

Autocars. “During the last years,” Cook’s says, “the communication by means of autocars has developed to a very large extent. Especially in Norrland, where the railways are few and the distance from the railway stations to the large villages in the interior is very great, autocars nowadays keep up the communication with every place of any importance.”

The same can be said of automobiles in more recent times. In 2004, on a Saab adventure in Sweden, my driving companion and I serendipitously came upon a vintage car rally.

Our Saab 9-3 convertible meets a 1954 kin.

Malmö. The guidebook notes, “Malmö, the third of the Swedish towns, with a population of 113,000, is situated on the bay of Öresund, the sound that separates Sweden from Denmark.” Indeed, Malmö is directly across from Copenhagen.

The 1923 map indicates a sea link between Copenhagen and Malmö. Opening in 2000, the Øresund Bridge is a combined motorway/railway bridge running nearly five miles from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm in the strait. The 2.5-mile Drogen Tunnel connects Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager, part of which makes up the city of Copenhagen (most of the city is on the much larger island of Zealand).

The Øresund Bridge and Peberholm are viewed from above Copenhagen’s airport. Image by Nick-D in Wikipedia.

On another Scandinavian adventure, I drove across the Øresund and through the Drogen.

Complexities Today. Beginning on March 14, 2020, as described at oresundsbron.com, “The Øresund Bridge continues to be open for freight traffic, trips to Sweden, and with stricter entry rules from Sweden to Denmark. People who wish to travel to Denmark can expect to be rejected at the Danish border, if they do not have a valid reason, such as living or working in Denmark, or delivering goods to Denmark. Danish citizens can enter Denmark, according to the authorities.”

Tomorrow, in Part 2, we’ll visit Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020

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