Hello Malmo, this is Australia calling...

Hello Malmö, this is Australia calling.... 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's start from where we left off.

We left Helsinki after 6 short days trotting around that general small zone of south Finland (see part 1) and flew straight to Copenhagen, then a short train ride over the Øresund Bridge to Malmö in Sweden.

For us Aussies, this leapfrogging from country to country is fun and mindboggling at how close everything is in Europe. Skipping between 3 countries before elevenses. 

We had booked a sweet little cabin in the village of Höllviken just 25 mins south of Malmö by bus. If you assumed all accommodation in Malmö and most in Copenhagen was booked out by last September, you would be correct.

We initially had a sardine can room booked at a basic hotel in Copenhagen, but luckily I decided to look on airbnb at places in other towns nearby because I found this sweet little place. Just a 5 minute walk from the bus stop to Malmö.

After settling in, we walked 15 minutes to the local supermarket to stock up on supplies for breakfasts and a couple of lunches. 

Supermarket shopping in other countries is utterly fascinating! When I went to the US in 2017 with my fairy godfather Gaz, we learnt that firstly it is almost impossible to find gluten free food such as bread. Gaz had Coeliac disease. We spent most of our time hunting for gluten free bread and beer. They do have an extremely large lolly and soft drink section though.

But I digress. Here is a brief lesson on Swedish food names...

From top left down to bottom right: 
Squeezy Jordgubbs sylt: squeezy strawberry jam; 
Hasselnöt & Dadel: Not a US cop show featuring a crime fighting duo with slick, black, talking cars. It is merely Hazelnut & date (muesli); 
Raggmunk: is it a Benedictine ska band? No, it's potato pancake mix; 
Pistage nötter: Not a urinary tract infection. Pistachio nuts; 
Skinka: ham; 
Snackmorötter: snacking carrots; 
Rågfras: Rye 'phrase'(?) basically puffed rye cereal; 
Isbitar: ice cubes; 
Kvarg: cottage cheese 

I will forever think no longer of the romantic word 'strawberries'. Now they are 'jordgubbs'! 
And how hardcore is 'ISBITAR'?!?!
Snackmorötters sound like the word for the type of boogers babies have running in two lines down from their nostrils when they have a really bad cold.

After stocking up on supplies for the cabin, we hopped on the bus and headed towards Malmö. 

During Eurovision week when we're home in Australia, one funny little tradition we have is to invite friends (before one of the shows) for Swedish potatismos (mashed potatoes), gräddsås (cream gravy) and lingonsylt (lingonberry jam).

This year we did not miss out as just 2 bus stops from the Malmö arena was this...

If you thought...


...then you'd be wrong.

In Sweden, it's actually pronounced...


I know! It was a revelation! Not only have we been pronouncing it wrong, but ee-KAY-yuh have been telling us to pronounce it wrong! I still don't know why. This article suggests the Swedes assumed Americans would pronounce it incorrectly, so simply pre-empted them by changing it themselves in their advertising, but I wish they didn't make that assumption for the rest of us! 

This Ikea (did you pronounce it ee-KAY-yuh in your minds?) was huge. It's far from the hugest ee-KAY-yuh in the world, but for context (which will make sense only to Aussies), it was at least DOUBLE the size of our bigger Bunnings.
Double the size of Bunnings!
So we went in through the 'Infart' (which we think meant 'entrance'), and very quickly felt like we could have been in any ee-KAY-yuh, anywhere. Like Springvale. Except for the price tags.
And whether you're in Ikea Malmö or Ikea Springvale, people still rearrange the fingers on the Handskalad to flip everyone the bird.
After meandering around inside the rat-run for a little while, frustrated we couldn't buy anything, we headed to the restaurant.
And had a feast for just a few hundred swedish kroner! The attendant at the checkout asked us if we had an ee-KAY-yuh Family card. We said we did, but that it probably wouldn't work as it was from EYE-kee-ya Australia.  He replied, "Hey! Let's try it anyway for fun!" And it worked. Free coffees!
We finished stuffing our jordgubbs with kottbullar, potatismos & lingonsylt and jumped back on the bus to the Malmö Arena.
We had tickets to the live shows for semi final 1, 2 and the grand final which all started at 9pm.
For semi-final 1, Australia's act Electric Fields were performing, so we wanted to be close to the stage as possible.
We arrived at the arena at 6.15pm to find people already lined up and streaming through the 1st set of gates. 
Security was checking everyone for contraband. We could only take in flags of the participating countries, the EU flag and Pride flags but they couldn't be attached to sticks at all. Only wallet sized bags allowed.
Once inside the gates, we were still only able to join multiple long lines outside the arena. Lots of people were dressed up in fun sparkly outfits, in their country colours, or dressed up as their favourite Eurovision act from this year or past years. Food & drink trucks kept us all suitably fed & watered.
I think it was within about 45 minutes the arena opened and the lines slowly snaked along until we passed a second security check point, and then had our tickets scanned.
What happened then? We joined more lines! Outside the doors into the show area.  After about 20 mins these were opened and we could finally try and make our way onto the floor to score the best spot as quickly as possible!
We did grab a great spot but were just behind the 1st row of people.
I had a couple of super tall Luxembourgians to the front-left of me who weren't blocking my view, and a couple of American girls who were fortunately a lot shorter to the front-right.
The show began at 9pm after various directions from the head producers and there they are, our hosts Petra Mede the queen of Eurovision and Malin Ackerman
Here are a few photos of the acts for semi-final 1. Not the best photos I'm afraid. And sometimes not the best camera angles either, hey Finland?
Below was the act from the UK. Olly singing about being 'Dizzy'. The very cool part about watching this act was they were seen on TV to be spinning around in this 'locker room' grabbing onto walls etc, when of course set didn't move at all. It was just the cameraman on a steadycam doing all the spinning work.
And below was the divine little Bambi Thug taming her demon boy. This was so gorgeous to watch live. She was one of the most popular acts in the arena that night. 
At various times during the show, Petra and Malin would be presenting from different areas of the arena, including this bit close in front of us where Petra was trying to demonstrate her wide ranging Eurovision history knowledge. 
This was the only photo I took of Electric Fields performing that night. From where we were, everyone in the audience was singing along and dancing like they were having the time of their lives in a nightclub. Electric Fields are South Australian electronic duo Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross. The song One Milkali (One Blood) was sung partly in Yankunytjatjara language so was Australia's first entrant to Eurovision showcasing our First Nations Heritage. The vivid artwork that lit up the stage was the painting 'Paraulpi' created by Zaachariaha Fielding.
Just before they were to perform, I asked the super tall Luxembourgians in front if I could stand at the front just for that one song, which they happily let me do. So I waved the Aussie flag and sang and just soaked up the atmosphere. And got my face on the telly!
Can you see the Bear behind me with his nose sticking up just above his Aussie flag? He didn't pull it down enough as the camera light lit up in front of us! 
By the way, do you see that giant man on the right. Now you know what I mean when I keep referring to the super tall Luxembourgians. 

Sadly Australia didn't make it through. In the arena that night, they sounded amazing. And when Butchulla man Fred Leone, who played the yidaki (didgeridoo) came on stage, I cheered even louder. He was just so bloody awesome. 

The next day was for relaxing and a little bit of sightseeing. After a late night out we slept in, then passed the Hyllie Water Tower and off to the centre of town.
We couldn't let the 50th Anniversary of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest go by without visiting ABBA World.
This was touted as "ABBA World invites fans both old and new to explore parts of ABBA The Museum, ABBA Voyage, Mamma Mia!, Mamma Mia! The Party and Polar Music International all at once."  
Sounds amazing!? Actually it was a little meh. It was nice seeing private photos and original costumes but it probably should have been called 'Some stuff from the ABBA Museum (and we play 'Waterloo' over and over)'. 
However tickets were pretty cheap and it had some interesting photos.
That day was fairly low key, and after wandering around the city, we headed back to Hollviken for dinner at a local pizza restaurant.
Fun fact: Swedes love banana curry pizzas. Really.

That was a pretty long post. I think I might save the rest for Part 3...

 Summary of Swedish words learnt:

Hej- hi
Hej då- goodbye
Tack- thank you
Hiss- elevator
Jordgubbs- strawberries
Infart & Utfart- Entrance & exit
plus a whole bunch of food which I can't be hasselnöt to snackmorötter. Kvarg!!!
And thanks to Swedish TV, our swear word for this country is...
skitsnack- bullshit (literally 'crap talk')


 🎸Red Haired Amazona🍓


  1. WOOHOO! You're an INTERNATIONAL STAR now! And best "alibi" pic ever!
    Although, stiff competition in the flag waving category against Thor-Boy...?!
    Anyhoo, great "seats"!
    - Auntie Shan

    1. The Mothership was watching the delayed telecast at home (it's live in Oz at 5am, then played again later that night prime time), and made my grumpy teen Sonofagun No.2 come and watch so she could say, "See! There's your mother in Sweden!!" 🤣


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