On my second weekend in Sweden I decided to go on a trip to Västeras. I thought about studying Swedish in Västeras for a long time but in the end didn't because I then would have studied two university programmes at the same time (Arctic Studies in Tromso per distance + a full time Swedish programme) which would have been completely insane.
I am glad I didn't do the Swedish programme at Västeras' University (Mälardalen Högskolan) out of two reasons: 1. the Swedish course at Folkuniversitet Stockholm leaves me a lot more freedom and free-time and 2. Västeras is a small town....a really small town. In general I prefer smaller towns over big cities but there is a difference between a small town and a really small town.
Västeras is so small that I have seen most of it after a 2 hour stroll. Unfortunately I bought the cheap train ticket that doesn't leave you the freedom to change or cancel journeys. So I was pretty bored in the afternoon. But Västeras is a really nice town. I would go so far as to say that Västeras is a typical Swedish small town, one of those that you imagine when thinking about Sweden. It is situated at Lake Mälaren, the Lake that enters the Baltic Sea in Slussen, Stockholm (which is worth another blogpost).
Luckily there was still some snow when I was there and the lake was still slightly frozen (although normally it is completely frozen and the ice is thick enough that you can walk on it but the past February has been unusually warm in the North). So anyway I managed to take some really nice pictures and I really enjoyed the view on the lake, although the wind was ice cold and I was freezing to death.
If you come to the city by bus or train you will be greeted by a beautiful park on your way into the city. I loved it!
There even is a tree hotel in the park which you can stay in for a night in summertime - must be so beautiful!!
You also pass the castle of Västeras which doesn't really look like a castle on first sight.
You then come to the old town of Västeras which is absolutely stunning. It's Sweden at its best. Sweden as I always imagined it to be after reading all those Astrid Lindgren novels.
On my stroll through the old town I saw a sign pointing north saying that the open air museum of Västeras was to find in that direction. As I didn't find any maps at the train station and didn't want to go to the tourist information to get one, I decided to follow the sign and go to the museum as I didn't really know what else to do with my time. Let me say this right away: I never got there.
But I saw some nice corners of Västeras and the university instead (YES I KNOW THAT THE UNIVERSITY IS LIKE THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF THE MUSEUM. I am just not good in reading maps or following signs or knowing where north, east, south or west are situated and I am one of those people who never ask for directions....at least when I am alone. I am able to ask for directions when I am with a group of people. Don't know why). Anyway....
I ended up in the Västmanlandsmuseum which is in the same building as the arts museum of Västeras and I spend my time there and in the nearby shopping centre which was awful! I quite liked shopping malls when I was younger but now I hate them. Really hate them! But after strolling through town with the wind blowing and freezing I wanted to be somewhere warm.
I also can't really recommend the museum by the way but maybe that's just because I am not that into art. But after all it was a nice but very long day in Västeras. It's a 1 hour train and 1 1/2 hours bus ride from Stockholm and I can only recommend you to visit Västeras when you are staying in Stockholm. Västeras is not the usual destination as most tourists go to Uppsala (which also is an hour away and which reminds me a lot of Stockholm, a small version of it of course, so why should you even go there?).
Västeras offers you the typical Sweden, typical Swedish architecture, typical Swedish food and many many nice views on Lake Mälaren. And if you manage to find the open air museum (or just take the bus that goes there) you will definitely have a nice (HALF) day there. But don't even think about spending a whole day there! ;)
Have you ever been to a place you would describe as typical for a certain country or region? If so, which one?