Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sweden - Eurovision Grand Final Live at Malmö

I've officially been 2 weeks in Sweden but I haven't had the chance to update my blog!

I had to write something today because... it was the Eurovision Grand Finals! I am currently living in Lund, Sweden, which is about 10 minutes away by train. Yes, it's very close. And what a great timing for me as well!

There have been celebrations in Lund and Malmö throughout the week, but we were so busy with projects and meetings so we didn't really participate in the festivities on the weekdays.

Lund, with the slogan "We party too!", organized great performances at the city centre.

My friend and I decided to go to Malmö around 4 PM to walk around the city for a little bit.

I went to Malmö last week, but I still don't know many places in Malmö. It's not as big as Paris, but it's definitely pretty big.

The streets were filled with supporters from all over Europe. They were wearing their flags, had their faces painted... the city was really lively.

Just across the Central Station of Malmö is the Eurovision Village.

Thank God the weather was so beautiful! It was sunny, around 23 degrees C and a little windy.

It was a really pleasant feeling to see people enjoying the festivities on the streets, looking forward to cheer their countries, and perhaps just to watch the Eurovision grand finals (like me).

We wanted to buy the ticket at the Arena but of course they were sold out. Fortunately, we could watch the Grand Finals live on the screen at the City Centre.

When we came around 4 PM, there were magnificent dance performances filled with energy and passion of the youth from various dance studios.

Their dances made me feel energized after a long week of meetings until 11:30 PM. Living together with your project team members is nice, but it means that you can have a meeting at any time of the day, including close to midnight.

But anyways, aside from the performances and the buzz around the city, there was also the Street Food Corner, featuring traditional dishes from the area.

To be honest, I was very disappointed when my friend appeared to be disinterested to try these foods because she was craving for sashimi. In the end, I managed to try one of the foods served there:

It has a really unique flavour. The flavour itself is not in particular strong, but what makes it unique is the radish-looking root vegetable they put in the dish. I wasn't sure if it was radish, but it looked like radish and maybe it tasted like radish. I haven't had raw radish before, so I'm not entirely sure about this.

And we also went to a cheesecake cafe called Pronto. My friends from the program and I really liked the cheesecake here, but my friend who came all the way from Ireland didn't have a good impression of this. I still think that the raspberry white chocolate cheesecake was wonderful and if I ever go to Malmö I will definitely eat it again.

Back from the food business. Around 6-7 PM, the city became even more livelier than ever. I encountered these passionate supporters from Denmark:

Even though I'm in Sweden, I felt that 50% of all the Eurovision contest supporters in Malmö were Danish. Aside from the fact that Copenhagen is just across the bridge from Malmö, it seemed to me that they really love their country :)

My friends then texted me, saying that you can sit down on the grass at Folkets park while watching the big screen outdoors. It was quite a long walk from the City Centre.

It was really crowded with people from all over the place. I think my group kind of stood out a little bit because we were a mix of different countries: Guatemala, Italy, Indonesia, Singapore, Argentina, the Netherlands, China, Colombia and Greece.

Most people who came there were people of the same country. Nevertheless, we had so much fun, as usual :)

By the way, the Danish are powerful drinkers. Look at that 1 litre beer can! It's HUGE!!

We were having fun at Folkets Park until the Eurovision Grand Finale started. Why? It was because the sound system there was horrible and was beyond salvation. All we heard was boom boom boom boom and we heard nothing like a human voice. Everyone there looked so disappointed, and many started to leave the park - for home, or for the city centre. In our case, we tried going back to the City Centre because we heard that the sound system there was much better.

And that was actually a great decision.

The crowd was lively, and it was surprisingly peaceful to be amongst the crowd. There was no one pushing you and there was no big fear of pickpockets or dangerous drunkards. Even if it was not your country, you still cheered for them (the Swedish and Danish flags never ceased to wave no matter which country's song it was).

It was a great night, and a really awesome experience. I'm glad I didn't decide to watch it from the TV at home.

By the way, the Danish won. I thought Sweden would win again, but I can see why Denmark won :)


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