My name is Lennart Svensson. Manticore has published some books by me. See this entry.
In that post I also tell you this and that about myself.
This post, the one you’re now reading, I will dedicate to some general info about my native country, Sweden. Some unique info from the horse’s mouth, as it were. I’m born in Sweden, I live in Sweden and I still speak and write Swedish, though my writing in English has made me virtually bi-lingual.
So then, Sweden. Some general, not overly controversial, rather interesting facts and circumstances regarding it…!
Like geography. Sweden is partitioned into three parts: Götaland in the south, Svealand north of Ostrogothia-Westrogothia and south of the Dalälven River, and Norrland north of Dalälven. I personally live in Norrland, on the east coast by the Bothnic Bay.
The general cultural geography of Sweden is characterized by woodland, coniferous woodland. We have a lot of hardwood, too — but — I’d say, the coniferous afficionado will have a field day in Sweden. Everywhere, even in Stockholm suburbs, you see pine and spruce. Only in the extreme south, in the county of Scania, the plain and the deciduous tree dominates.
Indeed, in Sweden we have farmland and cultivated plains and valleys here and there, even in the north. But the main feature of the land is the dark, murmuring wood. Take a train ride from Malmö to Kiruna and you’ll see.
In short, this is the taiga of the palearctic zone.
I will now concentrate this geographical survey on the Swedish part I know best, Norrland. Except for the coastal plain, much of Norrland is hilly. Then, in the west, in the borderland towards Norway, we have the fjälls, “the boundless hills”. Being a high country no trees are growing here, it’s above the timberline. This realm is quite exotic, rather inspiring with its wide plains, steep mountains and spare but quaint flowers. A subarctic tundra, this is a favourite haunt for hikers.
The highest peak of the land is Kebnekaise, 2111 meters above sea level, situated in the far north. As such this peak isn’t so steep. In the summertime you can walk up to it virtually without the aide of climbing equipment.
Finally, some lines about the Norrland wildlife. In short, we have virtually all of the nordic/arctic speciemens of fauna like moose, deer, reindeer (semi-wild, herded by Saamis), wolf, fox, bear, lynx/wildcat, wolverine, rabbit, beaver and diverse small fellows like squirrel, vole, mink and such.
Personally I’ve only seen some stray reindeer and moose in the wilds. I’ve heard a beaver once, making its trademark splash against the water in a bogland river. I also saw the trademark gnawed-off trees and dams that this animal builds.
Further, in my life I’ve spotted the one or the other exotic bird like harrier, crane and Canada goose. The last one isn’t so exotic, actually, it was introduced here some 70 years ago by biologist Bengt Berg and since then it’s become something of a nuisance. We even have them in the urban area where I currently live, an island of parks where they thrive in the summertime chasing you along the walks.
The most exotic Swedish animals, in my mind, are bear and lynx. I grew up in southern Lapland and there we had bear in the woods, brown bear. Not a creature you would like to meet. I mean, a wolf you could “handle,” you wouldn’t get psychologically stunned by it, but with a bear it’s a different story. The sight of it evokes a primeval fear — in Swedish, “björnfrossa”. A she-bear guarding her young is a ferocious beast. A strong, violent being, it can virtually outrun a horse.
As for the lynx it’s a long-legged, yellow-to-grey cat, “a Swedish mountain lion” if you will — though, of course, it’s not related to the puma. The lynx has a rather small heart so it can’t run fast for so long.
That was some things about Sweden on my mind for now.