World Wide Weird – Strange Scandinavia

World Wide Weird – Strange Scandinavia

So it turns out that there’s more weirdness to Scandinavia and its neighbours than a penchant for unsavoury fishy dishes and a slight fixation with Eurovision…

Scandinavia

You may have been crowned King of the Slopes that one time in Verbier, but you ain’t seen nothing yet – meet ancient pro-shredder Ullr, the Patron Saint of Skiers. This guy has been worshipped by Scandinavians since around the early Viking Age and is a Norse legend: not only was he Thor’s stepson, but a pro-weapons master and a total lady-killer. Kind of puts your après-ski shenanigans to shame, doesn’t he?

Should you ever head to the Scandi lands, you might find yourself spluttering over their road signs: in some of the region’s countries, you’ll often see the word ‘slut’ which means ‘end’, and ‘fart’ which means ‘speed’. Much better roadside finds than the traffic cones everyone nabs during First Year!

Sweden

Calling in the Condom Cavalry! In 2004, when the number of chlamydia cases in young Swedes had doubled in one year, big cities like Stockholm and Malmo started posting condom ambulances on standby, ready to deliver protection to anyone in an “emergency” for just a few pounds – more than a Trojan effort there!

Crayfish might not have much significance around these parts, but every August, they become an object of adoration in Sweden. The Kräftskiva, also known as the Crayfish Party, is a celebration of crayfish as a delicacy, as  harvesting them was limited to late summertime for much of the 20th century, as a result of overfishing. So, this is the perfect time to put crayfish on EVERYTHING. Party hats, bibs, napkins, table cloth – you name it, it’ll have that little critter on it! If you fancy joining the party, prepare to dive into a pile of crayfish, slurp on their flesh, and belt out drinking tunes whilst knocking back the Schnapps.

What if we told you it was now cool to walk around with a teabag tucked under your top lip? That is essentially what the cool kids in Sweden are doing, but with a bag of chewable tobacco called snus (snuff), rather than a spot of Earl Grey. Providing a steady stream of nicotine, there’s much debate around its effect on health, but either way, I’d rather not run the risk of appearing toothless!

Norway

So many conspiracies surrounding the end of the world have plagued TV and the internet that it has people thinking, “What if?” Welp, no matter what, you can always trust Norway to have your back when the apocalypse comes.  The country has spent millions on building Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a ‘Doomsday Vault’ on a remote island designed to preserve plant seeds from all around the world. So not only does it look like the secret lair of a Bond villain, but it will also guarantee us the ability to make post-apocalyptic pizza!

Crime truly pays in Norway, or at least gives a half-price discount: speeding just 10 miles over the limit can cost you a fine of over £300 and possible imprisonment, whilst being caught with heroin would only cost the offender about £150! Don’t be getting any ideas, guys…

Denmark

Are you fretting over crazy tuition fees and clinging onto the hope that your next student loan payment is just around the corner? Forget that and forget the ketchup on toast you may or may not have been looking forward to! In Denmark, students receive around £600 a month with absolutely no tuition fees to pay – no wonder they’re continually one of the top 3 happiest countries in the world! We’re packing our bags as we speak…

When Danish physicist Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize in 1922, he was honoured with what some might call an even better prize; the Carlsberg Brewery purchased and offered him a house with a direct pipeline into their brewery! Why have champagne showers, when you can bathe in the nectar of the gods?

Ever wished that society didn’t frown upon your little 10 a.m. hair-of-the-dog sessions? Never ones to shy away from a liquid breakfast, Danes have made it their tradition to wash down their morning coffee and rye bread with a swig of Gammel Dansk. This strong bitters liquor is made with 29 different herbs, spices and flowers, giving a unique flavour that I hope tastes better than it looks: gloopy and brown. Guzzling this might get you gazeboed, but its medicinal properties give you the perfect excuse to glug your way to oblivion before noon! We won’t tell if you won’t…

…and the honorary Scandi Lands: Finland

If you’re a bit nervous at the thought of travelling across Europe on your own, then group tours are a fantastic way to do it. You’ll have the comfort of knowing you’ll be with other, like-minded travellers along the way. Not to mention having a tour leader on hand to make sure everyone is having the best possible time. Also, sometimes it’s nice just to have some people to share incredible memories with.

Euroventure group tours are catered for travellers aged 18-35 and include between 5-20 people, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to be travelling with a group of people just like you – loads of travellers have made lifelong friends from their Euroventure group tours

Iceland

Just think of the sugar-dredged splendour that Pancake Day brings every year, and imagine spreading that adoration over two days of hefty overindulgence… that’s what Icelanders do  every year, starting with Bolludagur, or ‘Cream Puff Day’, when everyone gorges themselves on jam-filled, chocolate-drizzled cream puffs two days before Lent. Then on our Shrove Tuesday, is Sprengidagur or ‘Bursting Day’, when the savoury binge begins. The pressure is on to gorge yourself on gargantuan portions of salted lamb and pea soup until you burst (or are most likely carrying a litter of food babies). Better leave your belt at home, guys.

Forget everything you know about #freethenipple. Whiling the hours away in the nude is no biggie in Iceland: it’s pretty normal to get sloshed on a team-building trip and strip down to your birthday suit by the pool in front of your co-workers. You could rock up to work the next day and no-one would bat an eyelid!

How could we delve into Icelandic oddities without mentioning their homegrown legend, Jón Gnarr? The former politician and Mayor of Reykjavik also happens to be a tatted-up stand-up comedian and actor, with a penchant for punk and donning drag for Gay Pride. If only all politicians were so down with the kids…

Fancy your own slice of strange Scandi action? Take a look at our Scandinavian route – you could soon be on your way to becoming the next Air Guitar Champion!

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