A few days ago I returned hom from Sweden, after the successful conclusion of the study tour there. Selected photographs from that tour can be seen in the slideshow on the "Ghana e-scrap project" page under "Projects" on this website.
During the trip to Sweden, I spent quite a bit of time in and around Stockholm, but also some days in places like Skellefteå (to the North, in Västerbotten, on the coast, about an hour’s flight from Stockholm), Kristinehamn (about two hours by train to the West of Stockholm, on the shore of Lake Vänern) and a short visit to Katrineholm (between Kristinehamn and Stockholm). Though we had heavy rains in Skellefteå, we enjoyed the visits to all the places mentioned.
One’s first impression is one of cleanliness, everywhere. Even within recycling facilities and waste collection depots. Moreover, with the exception of the capital, places look somewhat underpopulated, reflecting a large country with relatively small population. It is the 3rd largest country in the EU, but has a population of some than 10 million. As a result, the towns I visited are quite .. calm, without the hordes of souvernir-buying and ice cream eating people that we have come to expect further South, especially in summer. Even Stockholm is busy, but not overly crowded, and a short ride on the excellent public transport can take one into leafy suburbs on the shores of inlets from the Gulf of Bothnia.
On the last day in Sweden, I went kayaking in the area near Saltsjöbaden, with my colleague Håkan, who lives in that area. The following two satellite images clipped from Google Earth shows the route that we covered with the kayaks. A very pleasant paddle, in cool but not cold weather, with scenery that varied from luxurious yachts to pine forests and mosses on basement rocks. Even unmistakeable evidence of a beaver who had been chopping down some trees.
All of the above has made me convinced that I want to return to Sweden again, not only for work, but also for more leasure time with Marina. We just need to find the time...