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Foriegn Folk

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Just had a natter with a family member who has just come back from a holiday in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. His comments rather surprised me.

The Danes are, he said, a very warm and hospiable people who make you feel welcome anywhere and willing to assist readily with all and any problems.

The Norwegians are equally friendly but with a slight touch of aloofness to temper that.

The Swedes on the other hand are a downright miserable and unfreindly bunch with no sense of humour and rude with it. They seem to regard all foriegners as inferior and look down their nose at you when doing business. They give the impression that you are like a bit of dog poo on a shoe and the sooner you go away the better. They are also very greedy and avaricious and only interested in your money. 'Arrogant' was the word my relative used.

The Finns are a likeable lot too. Much like the Danes, willing to assist you in all ways. They seem genuinley sorry to see you go. They seem to have struck a very good balance for quality of life and try to make outlanders feel at home.

The Estonians, Lithuanains and Latvians are very similar to the Finns but there seems to be an underlying layer of crime in those countries which is rather offputting. The hotel people and suchlike warn you to keep a very close eye on your belongings when out and about. Other than that these are nice countries to see.

Never having seen these lands first hand I cannot comment but having known a couple of Swedes in my time I can confirm that they are very dour folk indeed and you'll need a lot of patience when going there as they have short tempers. I suppose that is the result of having chickened out of wars for 200 years and they need somewhere to vent their frustrations.
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RailUK Forums


2 Jul 2006
I've visited both Finland and Estonia on a visit organised by the college chaplain (it was "religious"), and would mostly agree with those remarks.

The most welcoming Finns of all were the monks at the monastry I stayed about 5 hours north of Helsinki. The Finns seem to be especially friendly to children (a bit like Italians). On the train north there was a whole carriage dedicated to a nursery and childcare, which turned the thought of a journey with a 4 year old from fear to bliss. Unfortunely there wasn't one on the return trip.

Estonia hasn't been an independant country for very long. I happened to be there on their independance day, and the whole of Tallin seemed to be in a state of euphoria. As for crime, the centre of Tallin is fine, but we were advised not to leave the old town. Not that we would have wanted to anyway, as the "new" town is a mass of soviet era brutalist architecture. I've probably got some photos taken from the town walls and the tower of one of the churches somewhere. Naturally the roads are wide enough to drive tanks along.
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