Jun 07 2008

Where the air is 70-proof

We marked Sweden’s National Day (June 6) by partaking in that most Scandinavian of rituals…we took a ferry to Germany to buy booze. And I feel pretty confident that 90% of the passengers on the ferry we doing the exact same thing. And of that 90%, at least half were Swedes.

This is because most Scandinavian countries tax the hell out of alcohol. Norway is the worst offender, followed by Sweden and then Denmark, which why Norwegians flock to Swedish liquor stores along the border, Swedes in the far south of the country buy the bulk of their spirits in Denmark, and Danes (along with bargain hunting southern Swedes) go to Germany.

Because this trip is such big business for the ferry line, it offers a special fare for travellers who return to Denmark within 3 hours of arriving in Germany. This gives you just enough time to blow major dough at the aptly named Border Shop (conveniently owned by the ferry line), which is basically four floors of every kind of alcohol imaginable.

As it was a holiday weekend in both Sweden and Denmark, the Border Shop was even more of a zoo than usual (according to my in-laws, who make the trip annually). People were coming out of the store with multiple shopping carts stacked high with booze. We felt like total novices for leaving with just a single case of Australian white wine, 1 3-litre box of Italian white wine, 2 bottles of Dooley’s Toffee vodka (so we could get a free set of 6 round-bottomed rolly glasses), 2 bottles of coconut rum (1 Malibu, 1 Bacardi), a litre of Bombay Sapphire gin, and a litre of Absolut Citron.

It was the most alcohol we’ve ever purchased in one go save for Dr. Darling’s dissertation party in 2003, and ours was probably the smallest transaction the Border Shop has handled all year.

Now the challenge will be not to drink it all before this interminable family trip is over on Sunday.

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Feed my ego!

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