Summer 2017, Brexit meant Brexit and after months of long and hard campaigning I had enough of the rolling news feed. I looked for travel opportunities, packed a bag, booked a one way flight out of the UK.
My first destination, Sweden. I was invited as an international delegate to LUF Kongress, the biannual meeting of Liberala ungdomsförbundet, the youth wing of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party.
I got lost almost straight away trying to find the way from Stockholm Arlanda to Uppsala, in a typical Huw-fashion i wandered up and down asking various individuals before caving in and resorting to Google it on my phone with roaming fees.
By Midday I arrived at Uppsala and had booked into my room, now it was time to explore. Uppsala is Sweden’s answer to Oxbridge, the ancient capital of Sweden, it is host to large castles and a huge academic community. I marvelled at the rhunic script, having covered it briefly in Old English classes but in no depth. I was later truly linguistically outdone by most of the Swedish people I met who told me with pride not only had they studied Runic script, but they could also speak Old English, which I most certainly could not.
The Kongress was interesting, it was all conducted in Swedish, a language that I couldn’t speak a word of, however the Norwegian delegates took it as their duty to live translate most of the Kongress to me, with the occasional “nope, this guy’s accident it way too thick, who knows what he could be saying”. The Kongress policy itself was of little interest however the pomp and ceremony of Swedish youth politics was impressive. In Sweden youth political parties get paid a huge amount of money from central government to help encourage democracy – not only was the packed Kongress held in a large high school but there was also a formal dinner with the most exquisite food and old fashioned drinking chants, all expenses paid. Better than the formal dinner, I also had swedish meatballs with gravy, lingonberry sauce, and mashed potato for lunches every day. Living the Ikea dream life.
After Kongress ended I left Uppsala for the astonishingly expensive Stockholm. I was in Old City Stockholm which was so pretty but so expensive i could do so little. I was bored and poor so I used Tinder to find myself a tourguide. he took me around Stockholm and we went on a tram to Skansen, an open air theme park “museum”, designed to preserve the old Sweden that existed before industrialisation.
I toured it seeing the old houses and some really cute Reindeer, chatting to Ezra, my guide, about Saomi rights for a while. There we watched Allsång, an endearing and wholesome live weekly sing along. It was a really cute mash of songs of praise and eurovision. I had no idea what they were singing but I had a brilliant night and gained so much love for the cheese.