I’ll start saying that Malmö is one of the first cities in the world regarding cycling paths, number of bikers and of bikes.
Let’s say that since I stepped the second time in Malmö during March this year, and the third time last week, I was wishing I had a bike from the very first moment, ‘cause it seems to be that unless you have a bike, you do not count really much in this city! In the last days I almost got killed by two bikes, once because I did not look properly when I was crossing the cycle path, secondly ‘cause going out from a shop, a guy cycled crazy coming from left. He said sorry, also in English so I guess he was a new exchange students thinking that Malmö is a paradise for bikers. And well, it is partly true. But there are a few things that did not make me feel safe to have my music on during my first kilometers done by bike today.
Firstly, all the rules you would follow on the road with cars, apply almost in the same way between bikers, so those cycling on main cycling paths, have precedence on those coming from minor roads, and so on. Second, even though it is a bike friendly city, it doesn’t mean you have precedence on everybody and do not need to watch over yourself, car drivers expect you to respect rules and to bike carefully, so free biking city if everyone respect each other. Thirdly, there are people, cars and bikes coming everywhere, so you’d better watch out all the time! There is a thing I never experienced before and it is that of really using your bike to replace a public transport, the feeling you get is a completely different one. On the one hand because it is pretty long and uphill and windy on the way to university from my place, on the other because in this way I really spare money on the bus, and why not on gym card!
Let’s say that there is kind of a underground market of bikes here, but you know, Malmö is close to Copenhagen, Kristiania not far away, lots of people from anywhere (there’s the major underground crime space for what I heard from someone, do not believe in that completely though!). Many bikes on market are stolen, and when you want to buy one which is not, you should ask the bike seller for a paper signed by the previous owner, maybe warranty sheets and so. Opposite to what I thought, it is not easy to buy a bike – I am talking about second-hand ones – and the average price is around one thousand crowns, which is 100 euros more or less. But I found someone selling a very old bike, with rust, an annoying sound and a not working dinamo for just 400 crowns, well you think I said no? I can still have a complete refining in city for 200 crowns, yes, so cheap! This happened yesterday and I am so happy I can bike around, have some sport and spare money not taking the bus. Now, I don’t know where this bike comes from, but I hope nobody got stolen of it, even though I expect it to disappear soon, or maybe it even looks too old to be stolen?! By the way, here in Malmö I saw everything, bikes without wheels, wheels without bike, but also heard from a girl from the US that she got stolen of her bike, and the person returned it in the same place the day after. So, Malmö is a place to be, just to laugh a bit and experience it.
Malmö is really the place with the kindest people all over Sweden, as I was told by many before moving here. In the last few days I asked a few people for directions – today also to another biker – and I always got the answer “well I am going there, you can follow me and I’ll show you!”. Really, really kind people.
Today I had my introduction lesson to the program I will start soon, the first lesson is on Wednesday, and following the Swedish academic style, there will not be many lectures every week, instead we have a more individual work to focus on. The literature to read though is still not really much for this first semester, still much to do though. This made me think of how many activities I will be able to do in order to fill free time and get some experience in this multicultural environment.
As I said, on Wednesday I came with my father and host family to Malmö, then I was with my father until Friday night. We went around, to Ikea of course, and mounted a lot of furnitures, and here are some pictures of the days together. I know that in the last months in Sweden I took way more photos, but now I am very used to Sweden and less things come to my eyes as often as it happened before.
P.S. With a average wind of 8 to 10m/s here in Malmö, the way to dress your hair is definitely a chignon (we say “cipolla” in Italian, “onion”), and I think the this is how most people will see my face now on!