451 Life in Sweden

Ruth tells Todd about her time in Sweden.

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Todd: So, Ruth in Europe, have you traveled much?

Ruth: Yeah, actually, um, well, when I was younger I went on a tour around all of Western Europe and then when I was at university I backpacked around Scandinavia for a month with a friend. (Nice!) It was really nice, actually, yeah.

Todd: Wow, so where did you go in Scandinavia?

Ruth: Well, we started off in Sweden and then we went to Norway and then we went to Denmark. We never actually made it to Finland. That was simply because we ran out of money, so.

Todd: So were you out in the wilderness, or were you just going from village to village?

Ruth: Really we just, we arrived in Stockholm. We went around Stockholm. We went to Oslo. We spent most of our time in the cities, although everything was so expensive. We ended up sleeping in youth hostels or on people's floors.

Todd: What do you remember most about your trip?

Ruth: Um, probably just having no money, so we couldn't eat really for a fortnight.

Todd: You couldn't eat?

Ruth: Well, we ate breakfast in the youth hostel, and then we would take a bread roll from the youth hostel, from the breakfast bar and have that for lunch and then in the evening we would eat if we could afford it.

Todd: Actually, in terms of food, what do people in Scandinavia usually eat?

Ruth: Um, I think they eat a lot of potatoes and meat and things. I'm not sure really what a typical Scandinavian meal would be.

Todd: That's OK. You didn't have any money to buy any food right?

Ruth: We didn't eat so.

Todd: Yeah, silly question. Um, so what do you remember most about Stockholm?

Ruth: Ah, they've got some really nice buildings in Stockholm. I've got relatives who live in Stockholm so we stayed with them, and also it was really hot when we went there, but it was also very pricey.

Todd: So in every store you went into were they playing ABBA?

Ruth: No. Thank goodness.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


When I was at university, I backpacked around Scandinavia for a month with a friend.

'Backpacking' is a common method of travel for young people or people trying to travel on a budget.  Most people who are 'backpacking' carry a large backpack and travel by ground transportation, such as trains and buses.  Notice the following:

  1. We backpacked through most of South America last summer.
  2. Backpacking is very common thing for people in their 20s.

ran out of money

We never actually made it to Finland, because we simply ran out of money.

You 'run out of money' when you spend all the money that you have.  Notice the following:

  1. We had some travel problems and actually ran out of money in the middle of nowhere.
  2. If you keep spending like this, you are going to run out of money in a week.

youth hostels

Everything was so expensive, so ended up sleeping in youth hostels or on people's floors.

A 'youth hostel' is cheap hotel, where young people can stay in dorm-style rooms.  These are very popular with backpackers.  Notice the following:

  1. The hotels are pretty cheap, but if you want a really cheap place to stay, I suggest the youth hostel down the street.
  2. A lot of youth hostels have communal kitchens for the guests to use.


We just had no money, so we couldn't eat really for a fortnight.

'Fortnight' is another way of saying 14 nights and days or 2 weeks.  Notice the following:

  1. It's hard to imagine that your life will be completely different in a fortnight.
  2. I haven't talked to you in almost a fortnight.


Stockholm is really nice, but it's also very pricey.

If a place is 'pricey,' it is expensive. Notice the following:

  1. This store is bit pricey.  Don't you think?
  2. Traveling in Mexico is actually kind of pricey.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
backpacking • run out • hostels
fortnight • pricey
  1. A lot of the youth around here are almost as nice as hotels.
  2. Your present should come in the mail within a .
  3. We should start traveling home, because we are going to of money soon.
  4. This restaurant is a little for my budget.
  5. We are going for three weeks during winter vacation.