Blog: Simon WarburtonEarl Grey cappuccino

Simon Warburton | 20 March 2012

I know it's something of a cliché but it really is pricey here in Sweden.

Everything from trains to taxis - I think I've been voted Gothenburg's number one cab customer this week - costs a small fortune. Even when a waitress told me SEK70 instead of SEK17 for a coffee, I didn't blink an eye, just assuming she meant around GBP6. Thankfully, it was the latter price.

After finally seeing a very shuttered Saab factory Trollhattan yesterday (19 March), I'm back in Gothenburg now having visited Volvo Trucks this morning and Volvo Car Corporation this afternoon.

There are other brands in Sweden apart from Saab - although sometimes you'd be forgiven for thinking they're the only ones - such is their dominance of the news agenda - with that other Swedish superpower Volvo Cars going from strength to strength.

And they've bagged themselves huge global exposure through their ownership - not sponsorship as they were keen to point out - of the Volvo Ocean Race - a behemoth of a worldwide sailing competition that gives the brand enormous coverage.

I've just spoken to one-time would-be investor Vladimir Antonov's former aide, Lars Carlstrom, who tells me Chinese manufacturer Youngman have just landed in Gothenburg - presumably to talk to Saab's receivers. There's an outside chance they might see me tonight, so fingers crossed, otherwise it's down to a sports bar by the train station to watch a combination of ice hockey and football. 

Seeing Swedes watch ice hockey is just like sport back home in the UK, while one fan even knew who the two Swedish players were who used to play for my Southampton team, pretty impressive knowledge.

Talking of the railway station, I was at the Gothenburg terminus to catch the Trollhattan service - the widest train I've ever been on - yesterday when I bought a takeaway tea.

After the server insisted Earl Grey was the 'normal' tea of choice - I think it's like drinking flowers - they topped it with foaming cappuccino style froth. Not my, er, cup of tea.


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