Yesterday afternoon, I arrived in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city and much closer to Copenhagen than to Stockholm. I was warmly welcomed by my Airbnb host (my first Airbnb ever!), a Russian woman who has been living in Malmö for the past two decades. We had drinks in the apartment with a British friend of hers who moved here for business, and then they brought me out for a lovely walk in the city.
As much as I got to know and love Göteborg, something about Malmö instantly captured my heart. I had heard that it was simply a smaller Göteborg, and in terms of the shops, pedestrian areas, and old-fashioned squares, it is. But it also has a cooler edge, with even more cyclists than Göteborg, more eclectic and modern architecture, and a sense of music everywhere. It’s likeGöteborg’s young hipster cousin (reminding me of the relationship between Manhattan and Brooklyn).
After walking around with my host and her friend, I met up with another new connection here. We saw the beautiful, colorful lights that illuminate the city after dark – I’ll have to do a night photoshoot while I’m here – and we stumbled upon a Japanese experimental band performing for free by the water.
I woke up this morning and decided to walk all over the city, similar to the self-guided walking tour of Göteborg I did when I first arrived. This time I was less successful – starting in the center of the city, where I’m staying, meant that I spiraled around a bit – and I had a hard time finding the magic from my walk the night before. Even mapping my walk this time was a challenge:
I got caught in multiple summer showers throughout the day, which were refreshing at first and then noticeably less endearing. Still, I managed to capture aspects of the city that I enjoyed.
As I was walking along the beach, I felt myself getting a little sad, thinking of friends and family back home, and the wonderful housemates from my study abroad semester. It wasn’t homesickness; rather a longing to share the sights with someone, a group of fellow explorers. I know this is a year of independent discovery, and I don’t think I’ll feel that way often. There’s something about Malmö, though. I think it’s that it feels like a vacation town, whereas Göteborg feels more like a living and working city. I’m comfortable living and working alone, but I don’t think I would vacation alone. That said, this isn’t vacation, and I think I’ll feel better once I find good project contacts here. Time to do some research!