Maybe it is due to living in Madrid, the sunniest city in Europe, but on reaching ´colder´ countries I am always told that I have brought the sun with me and that it had been raining continuously until my plane landed. This time it was no different in the capitals of Norway and Sweden, whose streets were filled with sun-worshippers in shorts and flip-flops, although as always, in the very latest trendy fashion. We were nearing Midsummer Day, the longest of the year, with the sun going down as late as 11 o´clock at night.

Partly as a result of the strong economy based around Norway´s North Sea natural resources, the country has avoided the European crisis and has an unemployment rate that has even decreased to around 3%. So much so that I was repeatedly told that there were not enough people to cover jobs vacancies, consequently they are currently experiencing an influx of talented and educated immigrants to fill these positions. They almost seemed to be embarrassed at the affluence and the well state of affairs being experienced in the country, given the gloomy climate in other distant parts of Europe.

With Swedish companies such as Ericsson dominating the telecommunications market, this is resulting in more opportunies than ever in the region. Nonetheless the Swedish youth seemed keen to gain a more ´international education´ outside of Scandinavia, something which is very difficult to find within the region itself. Many were interested in studying abroad and going south to a more ´pleasant´ and ´lively´ atmosphere, at least for one year, although they were very sure that they would return to their beloved homeland. Let´s see…

As I left Stockholm, so did many Swedes, who were off for the weekend to make the most of the longest day of the year, which indeed must be celebrated in a country where the winters are everlasting.

Goodbye Sweden and Norway. TACK!