Wednesday, October 10, 2012


  It was sometime around my 10th trip to Malmö that I decided I was going to take an entire day to walk around and discover the city. I had been preoccupied with business during my previous visits, but the time had finally come to discover this little gem in southwestern Sweden. Sightseeing in Malmö was kind of like this girl Jenna I'd always pined to have sex with. We had flirted back and forth for years and when we finally did have sex it was over in less than 10 minutes. After, I'd laid on the foot of the bed in the fetal position and felt empty, lost and utterly disappointed. It was then that I realized some things are better to be pined over than to be had.
  That being said, Malmö is a great city, but I would never want to live there or visit there for anything other than business. Not really sure how that qualifies it as a great city, but there's something about it. Anyway, my friend Petra once told me that on first (or second ... or third ... or fourth) visit, the city seems to be quite boring. She said that eventually you find your place. I tend to believe that if you spend enough time in any place — even wintertime in Auschwitz 1943 — you eventually find your place, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun.
  Unlike the sprawl of New York City, Malmö isn’t large enough to hide any of its secrets. In many ways, it reminds me of a smaller, less pretentious Toronto. It’s both why I feel so comfortable yet appalled at the same time. For such a boring city, this place is fucking expensive. I judge most cities based on the price of a pint of beer. And a pint of Sweden's finest suds will run you around 50 Swedish Crowns ($9.00). If you've ever tasted Falcon or Spendrups, you'd be pissed off that Sweden didn't pay you to drink that crap.
  Much like that of Stockholm, everyone in Malmö is beautiful, extremely stylish and a bit standoffish.
  There is, though, something special about the fact that everyone seems to know each other there.  It’s kind of like the Swedish version of that TV show Cheers.
  For music fans, Malmö is the Shangri-la of Swedish music. It’s the city in which all the cool bands eventually end up living. It must have something to do with that laid-back feel. Perhaps it’s the dose of reality Malmö provides after months on the road being rock stars and getting fed grapes and eating platters of German cheese, etc.
Members of The Ark, The Sounds, and others can be found wandering its streets almost anytime (whenever they aren’t on tour that is).
  If you happen to find yourself here in August, then you must be sure to catch the city’s annual music festival, Malmöfestivalen. Held in the city’s main square, it is a free event and a great way to see some of Sweden’s biggest acts as well as some of Scandinavia’s up-and-comers.
  Some of the cleanest air you will ever breathe exists in Malmö, due mostly to the city’s lack of motor traffic. There aren’t many cars driving at any time of the day and I certainly didn’t know of a so-called “rush hour.” Instead, locals prefer to ride their bicycles to get from Point A to Point B. To get a gauge on how many people ride bikes in this city just visit the front of Malmo’s central train station. At any given moment there are thousands of bicycles locked up. Those crafty Swedes must have devised a foolproof system for finding their bikes because I’d never be able to.
  There’s some great vintage shopping to be had in the city and, surprisingly, it won’t break your bank account. Unlike vintage shopping in North America where one must wade through mounds and mounds of Hawaiian T-shirts, granny slacks and lumberjack shirts, shopping vintage in Sweden is easy. After all, the Swedes have always been stylish. Even Swedish grandmothers dress cool.
  As far as I can tell there is only one thing to really see in Malmö as a tourist and that is to visit the “Penis” tower (as locals call it). For what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in girth. I’m not exactly what the real name for it is, but I have been told it’s a water tower of some sort.
  Visit only in the spring or summertime, as Malmö’s winters can be quite harsh and ugly. Meaning, cold and slushy. Not much snow falls here, unlike Stockholm, which although colder, still retains its beauty somehow.

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