■ 19:48 (UTC±01:00 +DST), 22 APR 2016 | SWE MALMÖ CENTRAL STATION
Europe can throw weird things at you. Some places mandate photo ID — even if they’re not immigration-related (for example, getting a bottle of wine in London); other places allow you to cross the border with nothing to show.
The refugee / migrant crisis in Europe was never something easy for Europe. Whilst refraining from commenting on the very question of “tearfulness” from Stockholm in this decision, walls seemed to come down when Sweden enacted a law (even if it was temporary) to make photo ID necessary for all crossing the Ø̈resund Bridge, from Copenhagen to Malmö. Of course, for Tracy and I, the wall simply did not exist: being married into a Swiss family with extremely rigid and strict compliance to the law, no journey was made without a through inspection, both by the husband and by passport control staff everywhere, of our passports, so our passport checks took the least fuss. Border officials came onboard our train at Hyllie station, the first across the bridge in Sweden, and with our passports open on our data pages, plus our train ticket present, the check took probably less than three seconds for both of us.
Sweden is probably the third nation I’ve seen across Europe that has had its stations inspired by our Helvetic font now used by much of Switzerland — from federal government logos and passports through to street signs — Frutiger. (The first I’ve seen was the Netherlands, and the second, Austria.) We made a second stop at Triangeln before arriving at Malmö Central Station, which at platform level looked like a cross between a Beijing Subway Line 15 station and Stansted Airport Railway Station. The inside was much nicer, though, and it could have been seen as the Scanian version of Beijing’s south station.
At Malmö, we also saw an erstwhile Chinese comrade on the rails: the X2000, which China used once on its cross-border train services from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. (This was before the CRH took over on both routes: the “regular” line, and now, also the HSR line going to Shenzhen’s north station, which is a fair bit away from the next checkpoint with Hong Kong.)
Malmö’s central station soon became a favourite my end — it combined the old with the new without making it look weird at all.
With nearly 8 hours at our disposition, Tracy and I gave the city with a huge waterfront plenty of time for a leisurely stroll. The Swedes, obviously, aren’t known for late lunches: by 2 PM, most restaurants had closed for lunch.
My favourite, though, was the “twisted building” not too far from the station.
We also spotted a great deal of wildlife by the seafront — rabbits, one of our favourites…
I just absolutely adored the public awareness posters for bikers. It looked like a terrible idea, indeed, to be cursing people about bombs, typhoons, and three thunderbolts, or to do naughty moves with your finger!
The crazy thing about languages is that sometimes, some words and expressions in one language end up similar to those in other languages — and have an alternative meaning in the other language(s)! As a Swiss from the Deutschschweiz, the first reaction to this…
was I scho! (Züridüütsch for: Me? Yes!).
Meanwhile, I’m sure the locals didn’t mean to literally stink up the place with what must be seen in English-language eyes as “flatulence speed detectors”; and please, if you let it rip in Malmö, let it leak slower…
…for passing wind (apparently!) at 57 km/h is considered too fast.
(I’ll give it up here: In Swedish, what English speakers consider “a stink” is actually “speed”. Yes: in Swedish, fart = speed!)
Malmö, in the meantime, was great for views, and views of trains, too.
I struggled (a little) with my hitherto-zilch knowledge of Swedish (although I was sure this was more a sign about mending bridges rather than mending brotherhoods).
The buildings they had were, whilst not “all glass” and inspiring and stuff like that, loads better than the crude rubbish we have to face in Brutalist London. I’m looking at you, Comrade Trellick! I would highly doubt even north Korea would build an equivalent as scary in appearance!
This “public sofa” here is probably the weirdest / most innovative (delete where appropriate) I have ever seen — Switzerland included..
Herrgott nochmals! Why can’t you get your German right!? (I had to use “impatient language” in German starting with Herr: someone tell me please what the heck “Herrgrössen” means. The dimensions of a live living male?)
The old city centre of Malmö was equally one of my favourites. (It also wasn’t too far from the supermarket we returned our PET bottles and got our deposits back.)
Finally, we saw something at Malmö Castle which would very much ring a bell for all the Mac users out there…
…Yes indeed! It’s that Command key symbol of fame! ■ ■ ■