Jag älskar Sverige! And who wouldn’t? Sweden’s an easy place to love. Yes, the winters are long, cold and dark. Above the Arctic Circle, it's frigid darkness for a month or more. How do Swedes survive? I assume some actually like winter, but I haven't met them. The rest seem to enter a waking hibernation between October and May. Finally, summer brings perfect temperatures, brilliant flowers and 20 hours of daylight. In the far north, the summer sun never sets at all!
Having visited Sweden more than any other country (so far), and with many fine friends and memories there, I'll always view it as something like home. Sweden is a civil, peaceful, highly educated country that enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. It's modern (yet full of history), clean, scenic, mostly empty (about nine million people in an area the size of California), and home to a lot of excellent beers you've never tried (I especially like the one with a bumblebee on the label). Plus, it's just plain cool to have Viking ancestors.
Swedes are pretty reserved, so you won't encounter any fake hospitality there. But once you've made contact, you'll find the locals extremely friendly, welcoming and sincere. And if a bottle of snaps (Swedish schnapps) happens to appear, you're sure to learn some of their famous drinking songs in no time. I promise, you won't care that you have no idea what you're singing. Skål, Sverige!