As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had intended to set out and explore the non-IKEA side of Almhult. Well, that took me all of a few minutes. This is a very small town, and with such a massive company headquartered here, it dominates day-to-day life. That’s not to say that there is nothing to do here. Quite the contrary. If this were the spring or summer, then there would be a plethora of outdoor activities to indulge in. However, being the dead of winter I wasn’t able to kayak or swim in the lake, but I did go for a nice hike through the woods.
I kept my eyes peeled for moose, and luckily didn’t run into any. From what I hear they can be quite temperamental, and even deadly. Even though it was the opposite season, walking through the woods brought memories of exploring Finland’s forests flooding back. A life spent outdoors is encouraged in Scandinavia, and it is one of my favorite things about it. Going on safaris in Africa and trying to make it out of India alive were thrilling travel adventures, but there is something so tranquil and satisfying about hiking through Scandinavia’s back yard.
Despite all of the warm feelings of outdoor exploration, I did get cold, and upon emerging back into civilization was greeted by non-other than the giant yellow and blue IKEA building. This is not just any IKEA, it is the most modern IKEA in the world. What was the first IKEA downtown Almhult, has since been closed and is being turned into a museum. In it’s place, on the outskirts of town, lies this new and very improved building.
In addition to being the most modern IKEA in the world, it is also the only store that sells every product offered. From my understanding, each store gets to decide what to sell depending on the market, but the lucky people of Almhult have access to it all! By this time I had worked up quite an appetite, so I did the Swedish thing and ordered a plate of meatballs with potatoes for lunch. Swedish meatballs at IKEA in Almhult. It does not get more Swedish than that!
Now, enough about IKEA. After all, Ingvar and his power-house company aren’t Almhult’s only claim to fame. Believe it or not, Carl Linnaeus is also from the area. Carl was a science genius, and developed the way in which the plant world was classified and given names. This system that he came up with is still in use to this day. A statue of him sits in the town square, overlooking the ridiculous amount of hair salons. Truly, for such a small town there is an absurdly high amount of places to get your hair done.
To end the day Britt and I met up for dinner at a little family run restaurant. Afterwards we went over to the IKEA Activity House, a giant rec hall for IKEA employees and their families to enjoy after work. It is equipped with a cafe, banquet hall, pool table, racquet ball, saunas, hot tubs, gyms and a field house. Not only did I feel that I had exhausted all that Almhult has to offer during the winter, but I was exhausted myself. Today (Wed) I’m boarding the train and heading south to explore the Swedish/Danish town of Malmo!