World By Shotglass

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Monday, December 27, 2010


World By  Shotglass
Chapter 5 :

  • Location : Northern Europe
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Language: Swedish
  • Population: 9.4 million
  • Total Area: 450,295 km2
  • Currency: Swedish Króne
  • Annual average liquor consumption per capita: 7 liters per year
  • Annual Beer Consumption Per Capita: 56 liters per year
  • The most popular drink: Vodka (Absolut, Explorer), Beer , Swedish specialty Brannvin (akvavit)

  • The City

Sweden has enjoyed years of peace without involvement in any wars since 1814.  This image of neutral country has been forcefully maintained by traditions such as “right to roam”.  It allows everybody and anybody to move freely using any kind of transport on public or private property.  The capital city of Stockholm was founded in 1250 and has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the north.  It has been called “Venice of the North”, a testament to abundance of clean and open waters.

  • The People:

One of the most famous Swedes was Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite and with his will created Nobel Prize in six areas.  Exclusion of Mathematics has been subject of much debate.  Allegedly, it was a punishment to his lover who also had an affair with a famous Mathematician.  Although there is no direct evidence of the fact, Swedes do appear to have an affinity to rebels. Characters of Astrid Lindgren such as Pippi Long stocking and Karlson appeal to the children and adults alike with its lovable anti-heroes.  Interestingly, neither Pippi nor Karlson had any formal education while actual level of education in Sweden is one of the highest in the world.  Sweden also boasts the highest percentage of working mothers, perhaps leading to some of these mischievous characters.

What to do:

  • Drinking

Sweden is part of the vodka belt and has a long standing tradition of taking shots of hard liquor at meals.  The shots are pointedly called “snaps”.  The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka.  As with numerous other Nordic countries, alcohol selling is extremely restricted through a state monopoly.  That results in very high prices, especially at bars and clubs, and selection of liquor is limited to the names that monopoly makes available.  Citizens especially in the countryside continue producing “moonshine”, an illegal distilled beverage.  Drinking with locals is the best way to make new friends, and of course, no trip to Stockholm would be complete without having iced vodka in an ice shot glass on an ice table in Stockholm ice bar. 

  • Driving

A network of national roads is of high quality in Sweden and driving is a great way to see country side.  While driving, one needs to be aware of moose and deer.  While I was used to deer driving through portions of Pennsylvania, nothing prepared me for magnificent size of moose.  Not surprisingly, a popular souvenir from Sweden is the road sign for moose-crossing.  Every year a huge number of these signs are stolen from Swedish roads.

  • Shopping

Swedes have a vibrant folk culture and produce high quality wood crafts.  Dala horses are as popular as the other two brands that Swedes cursed us with – Ikea and H&M. 

Sweden Gothenborg Canal

Sweden Gothenborg Harbor Canal

Sweden Stockholm Viking Ship

Sweden Jonkoping

Sweden Karlskrona Harbor

Sweden Lund Cathedral

Sweden Lund, Skane

Sweden Malmo Buildings

Sweden Malmo Town Hall

Sweden Stockholm Absolut Ice Bar

Sweden Malmo Turning Torso Tower

Sweden Stockholm Bridge

Sweden Stockholm City Hall

Sweden Stockholm City Panorama

Sweden Stockholm City Panorama 2

Sweden Stockholm Nocturnal

Sweden Stockholm View

Sweden Stockholm Snowfall

Sweden Stockholm Winter

Sweden Uppsala Botanical Garden

Sweden Uppsala Bridge & Flowers

Sweden Uppsala


Sunday, December 26, 2010


World By  Shotglass
Chapter 4 :
Location : Northern Europe
Capital: Copenhagen
Language: Danish
Population: 5,557,709
Total Area: 43,098 km2
Currency: Danish Króne
Annual average liquor consumption per capita: 12.8 liters per year
Annual Beer Consumption Per Capita: 89.9 liters per year
The most popular drink: Beer (Carlsberg, Tuborg, etc) & Akvavit containing beverages



The City:

Denmark is country that was able to claim the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita, 14.  Accolades for Denmark continue with the “happiest place in the world”, “least corrupt” and “environmentally friendly”.  Its capital city, Copenhagen is one of the oldest capitals in the world and dates back to 11th centuryCopenhagen has excellent infrastructure, high employment rate and is often called the “most livable” city in the world.  In light of an income tax also being “the world’s highest”, it was an astonishing discovery.

The People:

Danes have carried through an expectation for “the most” in so many areas that it is hardly surprising that they have also produced “the most” famous story tellers of all times, Hans Christian Andersen.  It is hard to imagine any child’s life without magical stories of “The Little mermaid”, “Ugly Duckling” or “The Emperor’s new Clothes”.  His stories have been translated into more languages that any other book outside of the Bible. 
Danes live a very organized life.  No one spontaneously rings a door bell or visits neighbors.  Perhaps, it is this very orderly life in a very architectural city that spurred creation of Lego’s. 

What to do:


My favorite Danish joke: “A Dane goes to a doctor and asks: “Should I stop smoking and drinking so much?” and the doctor answers: “No.  But maybe you can cut back a little.”  This should give you an idea of the relaxed attitude Danes have towards drinking.  During weekends, crowds of Danes are drinking in public and the price of a beer at less than a dollar, consumption of alcohol is at staggering 10 units per week.  Most agree on the topics to complain about – weather and taxes.  Perhaps because of the constant whining, the average age for marrying is 32. 


Driving outside of Copenhagen is a pleasant experience with toll-free motorways that are well cared for with exuberant taxes of the citizens.  Owning a new car is luxury that many can’t afford with a registration tax of 180% and VAT of 25%.  These high taxes are instituted to discourage car ownership but instead they have encouraged Danes to bring used cars from Germany.  In Copenhagen, however, driving is a nightmare similar to any city center and majority of population bikes.  37% of the city rides their bikes and covers 1.1 million km daily.  Bicyclists have a dedicated traffic lane with its own signal system.

Lamp Shopping:

Denmark lacks one essentially happy ingredient in the winter - day light, and precisely because of that, there is a long standing tradition of producing and purchasing beautiful lamps that emphasis light.  A great variety from modern to traditional is available to brighten up the days as well as the moods of the residents. 

Denmark: Amalienborg Castle Guard

Denmark: Amalienborg Brockdorf's Palace

Denmark: Copenhagen The Opera House

Denmark: Copenhagen Danish Parliament

Denamrk: Copenhagen Nyhavn

Denmark: Copenhagen Raadhuset Town Hall

Denmark: Copenhagen The Little Mermaid

Denmark: Copenhagen View Of The City

Denmark: Frederiksborg

Denmark: Kronborg

Denmark: Rosenborg Castle

Denmark: Roskilde

Denmark: St.Alban's Kirke

Denmark: Tivoli Gardens

Denmark: Tivoli Gardens At Night

Denmark: Windmill And flag