They're not kidding when they say Swedes are on vacation during the summer! Salaried employees start the year with 25 days of annual leave whereas Americans earn their leave throughout the year. Most Swedes take 3 to 4 weeks of vacation during July and August. Many companies require employees to take at least 3 weeks off during that time and many places actually close down.
We're coming across more restaurants we can't check out because of their stängt (closed) signs. Our corner bakery just had a half-off closing sale because they shut down for the summer. The buses and remaining open places away from tourist areas are noticeably less crowded. It's weird that the nicer weather means there's less people around enjoying it. We still see many people in the parks and along the waterways soaking up the summer sun but it seemed like there were more people around last weekend.
I've heard many people in Stockholm have places in the country and they head out there to enjoy the weather. There's also a lot of people that travel to other countries during this time and I don't fully understand that one. The weather here is nice now with a recent high of 81F feeling very hot without any air conditioning. It's been around mid-70s on average since we got here so I don't understand the Swedes missing the few good months of the year here instead of escaping in the winter.
We plan on doing our traveling during the less desirable months so we can get away from a dreary winter. That's our plan at least even though the first thing we're working on booking is the Ice Hotel near the Arctic circle in Sweden. It looks like the rest of Europe picks now to swarm Swedish tourist spots and museums so maybe we'll save some of those local places for later in the year.
Go-Karts and Wandering Town
We went to SMC Go-Kart and had fun driving fast. We realized it may be our only driving experience for awhile unless we decide to rent a car to drive around. If we get a little rusty with our driving skills we could go back to the go-karts and then we'd really fly around those traffic circles in a rental car!
We spent the day wandering around our buses, subway, and tram system. We wanted to add the ferry to it but it was a complete fail. The schedule said it stopped at a port near the go-karts every day but when we got there we found just 2 people and some locked gates. They said they just found out the ferry doesn't stop there on the weekends and it turns around at the next stop on the other side of the waterway. Maybe it's another one of those closed for the summer things that aren't always well publicized.
Regardless, we rambled around some new streets we hadn't seen. It was a chillier day around 70F, but it was lovely weather for walking around even with the cool breeze off the cold water. Here's a few pictures:
Tomorrow we're going to take it easy and just go to the movies. Foreign movies from America are in English and fortunately they don't bother adding subtitles here. Swedish subtitles would be an interesting distraction that would quickly lose the novelty factor. Actually, seeing some Swedish words anywhere may continue to hold their novelty factor. For example, utfart means exit and infart means entrance. Utfart signs are everywhere and I may always giggle like a child because of the irony of it.
Our daughter wanted to see the new Transformers movie when it opened June 27th as we left the U.S., so she was disappointed to find out it didn't open here until 2 weeks later. I won't complain because they do have nice big theaters here for the big "sommar bio" hits.
Edit: The movie did have Swedish subtitles including for the Chinese language parts so we had no idea what they were saying when the dialog was in Chinese. The movie wasn't that great for dialog anyway so I'm sure we didn't miss much. Here's a picture of the movie poster and a cool looking bridge for a cross street.