In our last month in Uppsala, a friend of mine and I decided we want to see more of Sweden before we go. So far I have only been to Uppsala, Stockholm, Jönköping, and Malmö. Most people have been to Gothenberg, Gotland, and Kiruna, which sounds very interesting, but I didn’t think it was worth the price of the trip.
Anyway, we decided to check out the nice town of Västeroås, some 80 km from Uppsala. The initial plan was to cycle, but we weren’t sure if the weather was going to be nice, and remembering our experiences on the way back from Stockholm, we didn’t want to risk it. Who am I kidding, we were too lazy to cycle. Especially after the other option came to mind: hitchhiking.
There is a big myth going around Sweden about hitchhiking. Namely, that it doesn’t work. Whenever I have been hitchhiking in Britain, France, and Europe altogether, I have always used the knowledge provided in the hitchwiki online (useful tips on how to get out of the city, what the best spots are, etc). The hitchwiki is pretty bare in all its Sweden sections. That seemed a little bit discouraging.
The bottom line was, if we didn’t make it, we would just go back. If we got a lift halfway through, well, there were towns every 20 km on the way, so in the worst case scenario, we could get a bus back. So prepared with a backback with sandwiches and bananas, we engaged in this adventure just next to Flogsta, on the road to Enköping. The same road we would have to follow for 50 km, right before we turn on the highway. The shining sun, the lack of wind, along with my friend’s promises of using English in the rides (so that I don’t feel left out) gave me hope that this was a going to be an enjoyable experience.
How long did it take us to hitch rides? Very little. We hadn’t even planned it out too well, we didn’t really know where to start on the way out from Västerås. We ended up on a bad spot (on this roundabout where most cars were turning to Oslo and barely anyone continued on to our sliproad). Even on that spot, it took less than 10 minutes to get a car to stop.
Conclusion: bad luck hitchhiking Swedish myth: busted. Sweden is full of friendly people who don’t mind helping you out, just like any other place. And just like everywhere else, when the day is nice and sunny and everyone’s in a good mood, chances are it’s all going to be all right.