Greetings.  As we head back to Washington, here a few more observations about Sweden…

Swedes love coffeevery strong coffee.  And they have a remarkable ability to drink great quantities of coffee at all hours of the day and night and still fall sound asleep.  And they don't drink decaffenated coffee.  In fact, there does not appear to be a single cup of decaffenated coffee anywhere in the country.

Swedes believe passionately in both public transportation and bicycles as great ways to get around.  They've even designed their cities and towns around these modes of mobility.  Public transportation systems in larger communities are comprehensive, reliable and easy to use and a vast and well-organized network of busses reaches practically every village at least a couple of times a day.  There are also bicycles and dedicated bikeways in most cities and a high degree of courtesy for cyclists traveling on country roads.

Swedes adore pizza–with very thin crust–including some remarkably creative variations that include shrimp, mussels and even large crayfish topped with garlic sauce, lobster sauce, pesto and a touch of creme fraiche for good measure!

Swedes love the sea–there are almost as many boats required in Sweden as there are cars.

There are a lot of moose in Sweden but they rarely come out during the middle of the day.  There are also a lot of other animals here that are very popular mascots for American college sports teams.  Though it should be pointed out that Swedish universities do not typically have sports teams or mascots.  These include bears–"björnar," foxes–"rävar, badgers–"grävlingar," and wolverines–"järv" (my personal favorite).  But there are no raccoons to be found anywhere in this country even though the Swedish word for this animal is particularly cool–"tvättbjörnar" and means wash bear.   

And on that note it's time to head home for a cup of not-so-strong decaf coffee, a dangerous bike ride through D.C., a slice of boring pizza and my nightly battle to keep the tvättbjörnar from getting in the garbage.

Sweden flag

Hurra för nu (i.e., Cheers for now) and have a great weekend!