Dec 122010

Moments after we arrived at Gothenburg’s old defense tower, an extremely strange-looking man appeared out of nowhere. He was dressed all in black, with a lazy eye and a mohawk. “You guys wanna shoot?” he offered in a semi-slurred voice.

Peder gave me a look. Its meaning was clear: “Time to get the hell outta here.” But in my naΓ―vetΓ©, I didn’t understand what the man seemed to be offering.

As I stood there confused, the two of them exchanged a few more words in Swedish. Then Peder’s demeanor changed completely.

The man wasn’t offering us drugs at all – it turned out we’d inadvertently walked into his shooting range! A few dozen meters down the road a friend waited patiently with a high-powered air rifle and scope. They’d been shooting cans in the dumpster next to where we were standing.

“Sure, we’ll give it a try!”

Although both the guy and his friend did seem quite weird, they turned out to be just a couple of friendly Swedes practicing their aim on a day off work. We took turns punching gravel-sized holes in small tuna cans – it was really quite fun, and since Peder had studied sharpshooting during his time in the army, I got some great pointers.

Gotta love those random encounters while traveling πŸ™‚

Once we’d thoroughly converted the cans into swiss cheese, we thanked our new friends and started towards home. It was nearing 8pm, closing time for most supermarkets – and in Scandinavia, the price of groceries is directly related to how late the store remains open. Buy the same item from a store that closes at 8 and it’ll cost half as much as a store that closes at 11. Don’t even get me started on the 24-hour markets; their prices are a joke.


For dinner we grilled up a huge helping of hamburgers in a park down the street from our hostel.

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the big Scandinavian “park culture.”

Throughout Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, a very popular summertime activity is to purchase these cheap disposable grills (available at any supermarket) and gather in the public city parks. On a warm afternoon there can be so many people running their grills that you literally won’t find a spot to sit. And I’m talking about some pretty massive parks.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it out until nearly 11pm, and by that time most of the bustle had gone – but stuffing ourselves with some quality burgers was great nonetheless πŸ™‚

  12 Responses to “Swedish Snipers”

  1. A very nice and unusual day πŸ˜€

  2. Gotta love random travel encounters!

  3. very cool encounter

    That is pretty weird about the different supermarket prices based on closing time…..why would anyone who shops during the day go to one of the 24 hour places then?

    disposable grill…..haha….cool

  4. >>why would anyone who shops during the day go to one of the 24 hour places then?

    I can’t imagine. More plentiful, perhaps? i.e. there are gas stations and convenience stores everywhere which charge ludicrous prices, whereas “standard” supermarkets can be a bit harder to find.

  5. There’s beauty in weirdness ;), and it’s good to embrace random events.
    Cheers to a decent snack and wonderful strangers!

  6. Totally! The weird random encounters are one of my favorite things about traveling πŸ™‚

  7. Guns and public parks that are actuallly in use–I’m going to Sweden!

  8. …too bad (air) guns IN public parks are illegal! πŸ˜‰

  9. Herb, you refer to your guns in your photos every now and then. You’re fully allowed to flash *them* around in our public parks πŸ˜‰

  10. Peder: If you ended your sentence after “flash”, I would have been sold. πŸ˜‰

    Justin: The sign was not effective in preventing the presence of my GUNS.

  11. Of course you can flash, but I’m not sure the police would be happy about it πŸ˜›

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