Having just got back from an epic hiking trip in Western Sweden I have discovered that there are three things that are intrinsically part of the Swedish psyche that also reflect their love of the outdoor lifestyle. The first is Allemansrätten which is wonderful law allowing Swedish citizens the right of passage to roam freely across the entire country, meaning you can hike, climb, sail, swim, forage and even pitch your tent up for a day or two wherever you want.
The second is Fika which is an abbreviated combination of the Swedish words for coffee and cake and refers to a daily ritual that’s taken very seriously by the Swedes.
Just like the British tea break everything stops for a heart warming cup of coffee usually accompanied by a cinnamon bun or pastry at least once if not twice a day. Nowhere is this ritual observed more than whilst outdoors whether up a traversing a mountain or holed up in a bird hide everything stops for Fika.
Thirdly of course is Kånken the ubiquitous and much loved backpack that was first launched by Fjällräven in collaboration with the Swedish Guide and Scout Association in 1978 that has been a part of Swedish life ever since. Though favoured by university students and Stockholm commuters with its handy laptop-friendly size the Kånken is equally as popular with Swedes outside of the city enjoying their freedom to roam and coffee break opportunities in the great outdoors. Over the past three days I witnessed a variety of Kånkens in vast range of colours to equal those of the beautiful flora and fauna of the stunning Swedish wilderness.
Our guest blogger, Neil Summers finds out what makes the Swedish tick.