Göteborg

Two hour drive up the coast today to Göteborg to visit the packaging show. A “cool morning” my Man in Sweden says – bloody freezing would be a more apt way to put it, as it is -5°C as we set off!! But the day is clear and the Swedish motorways are wonderfully clear of the traffic clogging up the rest of Europe.

Half way to our destination we come up to a police road block. Accident? Overspeeding? No – they are stopping every motorist and checking alcohol levels with a breathalyser! A strange time at nine in the morning, I wonder… but I find out the checks are there to catch those who have been binging the previous evening. With almost zero alcohol tolerance whilst driving in Sweden, apparently there may be still enough alcohol in your blood after a night’s sleep to be over the limit!

The show was, well, like most other packaging shows – The latest in cartons, bags and bottles and whirring machinery, all very boring to the uninitiated. A lot of the stands serving food and drink – and the punters are taking full advantage, considering that a small beer in this country can set you back 6 Euro! The Nordic countries have a beer classification regime that also determines the taxation levels: _lättöl_ (light beer – i.e. gnat’s water), _mellanöl_ (middle beer – i.e. like Heineken) and _starköl_ (strong beer – the Real Stuff – but alas, also the most heavily taxed!).

Coming out of the show, we notice another police breathalyser roadblock just at the exit of the exhibition hall carpark! Sneaky this – they are catching those who have been boozing on the stands! My colleague takes a long detour and we get out at another exit!

Back in Helsingborg in time for another dinner at the Scandic – I have my favourite dish in Scandinavia – _räksmörgås med ägg_ – a sandwich with a mound of shrimps layered with mayonnaise, dill and egg. Huge portions and a great meal together with a glass of Spendrups beer – _stark_, of course!

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