Recently the Swedish Tourist Association (STA) launched a campaign to mark the country’s 250th anniversary of abolishing censorship by inviting strangers from around the world to pick up their phones and call a random Swede.
OK, not an entirely random Swede, but one of many citizens who volunteered to chat with curious folks from across the globe. Wondering about the weather? Looking for travel tips? Curious about the government? Or maybe you just want to get an outsider's opinion on what’s going on in America. Regardless of the reason, Dial-A-Swede is for you.
The first three digits will vary based on which country you’re calling from, but users in the U.S. can dial 011-46-771-793-336 (international calling rates apply, check with your provider) and a recorded voice will immediately come on the line, saying, “Calling Sweden. You will soon be connected to a random Swede, somewhere in Sweden.” After a few rings, someone will pick up (theoretically; when we tried, on one occasion the call went to voicemail, and on another the connection was too poor to continue) and your conversation can begin.
We called five Swedes (Lars, Joakim, Tove, Marcus, and Ali), and since we’re The Daily Meal (and since I’m the Travel Editor), our conversations mostly focused on food and travel. Of course, it’s easy to get off topic, which we certainly did. Although it’s a small sample size, here are 10 things we learned about Sweden from five random Swedes.