Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter eggs under Swedish skies

Note: Non-face images can be clicked for larger versions!

With the skies still unclear about which weather range they should be in – either spring or winter – we continue to get a little sunshine, a bit of rain and loads of chilly wind spills each day. Given the hopelessness of such a situation, it only seemed apt that we go ahead and make the most of the holidays that came our way. Hence – we decided to head to Malmo city in Sweden this Easter Friday.

Now, for those who aren't aware, Denmark and Sweden are like Siamese twins connected by a small body of water. I mean seriously, it's like 30-40 minutes train ride from Copenhagen Central to Malmo city. I remember looking at Jaya's amazed expression when we hissed into Malmo South after just over 35 minutes since our boarding at Copenhagen Central. 'It used to take me to more than an hour to get to VT!' she said, absolutely wonder stuck at the possibility that within an hour, we had spanned across borders without so much as a wrinkle on our clothes. This was the kind of contrast, I thought, we Indians can never completely get over given the battle-like conditions we travel under back home.

One of the most fascinating parts of this journey is the Oresund Bridge that combines a two track railway line below a four-loan road bridge tunnel across the Oresund strait. This is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe that connects the two countries. The architectural brilliance of this bridge is something one should see to properly appreciate. The view of this bridge from Malmo is equally breathe-taking. Despite the slightly foggy weather, we still managed to get some decent images.

The air had a rather generous touch of the cold as we walked into Malmo. In fact, despite my 2+ years in Denmark, this was my first time visiting this city too. I had been to Helsingborg in 2008 (another Swedish city at the other border of Denmark) but it wasn't quite the same since I had to take a ferry across the Baltic waters. Our immediate want in Malmo, was to get a good glimpse of the Turning Torso – a famous landmark that stands majestically as a unique and spectacular example of Sweden's architectural beauty. Built between the years of 2001 and 2006, the Turning Torso is primarily used for residential purposes. We could not help but speechlessly gawk at the attention to detail that stood so obvious in front of us. As we stood and snapped various memorable photographs of the Torso tower, we only hoped that such a monument soon makes its blessed appearance in India too. Wishful thinking, I know.

We then moved on to the sea-coast to catch a glimpse of the Oresund bridge that had brought us to Malmo from Denmark. The sun, aptly timing his appearance, kept his visibility brief but it was enough for us to get click-happy on some swans that seemed lost in their own world. As Jaya walked around capturing images of the various flocks that had surrounded the area, the sights and sounds of a festive Easter Friday was cracking itself open upon us. We spent about half an hour at the coast before heading towards the city center where we planned to have lunch.

The center of Malmo is, as is evident with most metropolitan cities, a place buzzing with a lot of activity. Considering it was a public holiday in Malmo, there still was a decent crowd milling about the town square and enjoying the smells and sights of the dozen odd restaurants that stood mushroomed all around it. We walked into the square wondering if we should try something adventurous when, as if from nowhere, we were greeted by a familiar word – Indiske. That is, as you might have guessed, both the Danish and Swedish word for 'Indian'. Now, from experience I know that walking into every place that is called that specially in a place that isn't peppered with Indian faces isn't the best idea. But one look at the menu outside and we knew we had to give it a shot. I mean, how could one pass off classics such as 'Polok Poneer' and 'Onion Bhojee' ? So, keeping our hungry fingers crossed, we decided to venture.

And would you know it? What we ended up getting was possibly one of the best Indian food I've had in all my years overseas. That, considering my decade long existence in alien waters, is a huge statement! The 'Polok Paneer' was so well made that Jaya joked that it was definitely an old Indian lady sitting in the kitchen and dishing it out! Served with a steaming cup of basmati rice and a bowl of sweet tomato raita, lunch was just the tonic we needed to boost our starving senses. As we guzzled in these treats with a tight salt lassi, we knew we had taken an adventurous step after all – even if it meant with a cuisine we both are well acquainted with.

We then headed to the markets to do what most Danes come to Sweden for – shop! Reason? Well, the Swedish Kroner is 0.7 times weaker when compared to the Danish Kroner. Don't ask me why, but all I know is if I buy a jacket in Sweden for 2000 Swedish Kroners, I would have spent only 1400 Danish Kroners from my account here in Denmark – which is roughly about 240 US. Sa-wee-tta! With a deal this delicious, how can one walk away with minimal shopping? So to keeps things interesting, Jaya and I went ahead and bought ourselves all sorts of merchandise including sunglasses (for her, of course), leggings and beach shorts. The best part? The final amount multiplied by 0.7! Needless to say, we plan to re-visit Sweden soon.

As we made our way back to the station, we caught sight of some beautiful Easter decorations on the streets. A giant golden egg had been placed with just the right shine needed to attract the tired tourist's curious eye. Jaya snapped a few nice ones as we took in the aroma and colors of buildings built during the renaissance period. It was fascinating to actually notice how, while being mostly similar to the designs we see here in Denmark, the buildings in Sweden had such a cleaner looking surface with clear-cut and sharp angled edges. I am no architect, not by a far mile, but there was something more accurate and tight about the buildings there that just isn't that obvious in the good old Viking country we live in.

As the Oresundståg inter-city express hissed its way back to Copenhagen central, we sat back looking at the snaps of a truly interesting Easter Friday that had made this trip feel more like an amazing Sunday instead. We look forward to heading back sometime soon!

Happy Easter everyone!

4 reflections:

Maharana Ganesh said...

An amazing piece of literature..I felt as if I was traveling with you. Thanks for making me visit Sweden without any expenditure.

ShaK said...


Thanks mate. :) Glad you enjoyed the piece.



Anonymous said...

Very nice can actually live thru the city through this...



ShaK said...


Good to see you here, mate! Quite a surprise indeed. :) Thank you. Glad you liked it.