The one thing I wanted to bring back more than souvenirs from Sweden was their tradition of fika. Fika means having a break, which normally is referring to a coffee break with others. They enjoy coffee with traditional Swedish cinnamon rolls and other pastries, or they will eat sandwiches such as Räkmacka. Räkmack is a traditional open faced shrimp sandwich. This is a typical Swedish sandwich served and can also be found in a salmon version, which is very popular and delicious there. Fika as a word is an example of back slang in the 19th century. Syllables of the word were reversed, so fika was derived from kaffi which is an earlier variant for the Swedish word coffee.
When I arrived in Stockholm finally, my friend Kyle who I went with, told me about fika and how into this concept the Swedes were. It sounded to me like a normal coffee break that we would have in the states. One where we would quickly run out and grab coffee in the afternoon. I learned after one day that it was quite a bit different. First, it is not a quick run for coffee, it can be about a two hour break and they don’t do it every once in a while; it is a very frequent occurrence. The Swedish girl we were staying with over there, Rosanna, was addicted. Kyle and I would meet up with her for lunch so she would have about an hour lunch break and then we would call her later and where else would she be than on a fika. Same thing would happen with Rosanna’s friend Tess. She would showed us around Stockholm sometimes and would unquestionably have a fika with us. Later when we would talk to her and find out how she spent the rest of her day it would include another fika. Ahh the lovely Europeans and their relaxed work style, I could definitely get used to this.
This is at Strandbryggan Sea Club where we had our first fika. If you find yourself in Stockholm you must go! It is right on the river and is beautiful and relaxing!
This is the Swedish name for cinnamon rolls.
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