There are destinations you've heard about all of your life - the ones that are at the top of your list when you start to plan international travel. You have all sorts of expectations because you've heard so much about the city through friends, movies, books and blogs. Sometimes those expectations are met, sometimes they're exceeded and sometimes, the destination ends up underwhelming you. Then, there are the cities you never knew existed yet through a conglomeration of events, you find yourself there and pleasantly surprised.
The first I heard of Malmö, Sweden was when it was announced that the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships would be held there and it wasn't until I started investigating for Joe's surprise trip that I learned it was quite literally, just across the bridge from Denmark. We flew into Copenhagen airport and directly from there, boarded a train, which whisked us across the 8 kilometre long Øresund bridge to Sweden. Malmö itself is the third largest city in Sweden after Stockholm and Gothenburg and is home to some 300,000 residents.
Our expectations for the city were practically nonexistent yet as we left the train station in the centre of the city, we both found ourselves pleasantly surprised. While it's small, it's quite a pretty city. It certainly has that Scandinavian feel we've come accustomed to but maintains a feeling of coziness. The centre is full of shops and restaurants and the city was extremely easy to explore on foot.
The main purpose for our visit to Malmö was for the hockey game yet I booked our return flight from Copenhagen for 7 pm New Years Day to allow for time to explore. I figured that if Malmö didn't have much to offer, we'd take the train over to Copenhagen for the day. Being a bank holiday, almost everything, save for a few cafés and restaurants, were closed and the streets were quiet yet it was perfect for perusing on foot. We wandered through parks (there were quite a few,) up and down streets from the old style centre to the new development area on the water and marvelled over the millions of remnants leftover from the fireworks everyone was setting off the night before. (Side note: Letting unsupervised children light fireworks in the middle of a city seems like a very dangerous thing to do yet it was happening a lot!)
Malmö probably won't make it on many 'must-see' lists but it was certainly a great place to spend the first day of 2014.