For the past two days I’ve been walking west along a quiet road heading towards Norway
Quiet , that is, apart from the occasional articulated load of timber and a steady stream of Norwegian motorists heading East to buy booze and cigarettes.
Now, I’ve been paying up to £5.50 for a bottle of beer in Sweden. So God knows how much it costs in Norway if it’s worth their while to drive over the mountains to Sweden in search of cheaper booze
An idiot once told me I only ever blogged about booze. Which I think was harsh
But I think the Swedish relationship with alcohol is worth a ponder
For a start there’s what amount to the state monopoly in off licence sales. You can only buy it at a store called the Systembolaget or order it online through their stores
Not every village has one . Honestly I’ve travelled through Muslim dominated villages in Western Turkey where it was easier to get a drink.
Apparently this stems back to Sweden’s historic uneasy relationship with alcohol.
They almost brought in prohibition back in the day. But instead settled for a system where you could buy a set amount of booze. Once your ration book was stamped that was your lot
In the fifties if you were unemployed or a MARRIED WOMAN you were not allowed to buy anything
The Systembolaget is a hangover (no pun intended) from then.
Imagine trying this is the UK. There would be riots
Certainly in the past it seems to have encouraged many in the rural areas here to distil their own moonshine. I was lucky enough to try some recently
But seeing as it’s illegal to buy the equipment to make this rocket fuel I’d better not say where I had a drink
Tonight I’m in an old hunting lodge dating back to the 1600s
And tomorrow I will finally cross the mountains into the land of expensive beer
Time to go on the wagon