Cheapest food in Sweden.
Where can you buy the cheapest food in Sweden? Try Södra Älvsborg. According to a fresh study made by PRO (Pensionärernas Riksorganisation), that’s where you’ll find the best prices on food. The most expensive can be found in Jämtland. Compared to 2008, food prices in Sweden have gone down. Flour, bread, macaroni, cooking oils, chicken and dishwashing detergent have all become cheaper. Says ombudsman Sten Boström at PRO: “Prices have gone down, but one must remember they were on a pretty high level to begin with.” As an example he mentions the price on wheat flour that went up with over 26% between 2007 and 2008. “This year it went down with 8,4%, which means it’s still fairly high. And there are many other similar examples.” But folks who live in Södra Älvaborg (Borås and neighboring towns) pay the best price for food. A basket of food there cost an average of 1 318 SEK ($168). Compare that to Jämtland, where you have to shell out 1 582 ($201)for the same products.

“I am open for a comeback!”
Those are the words of Fredrik Ljungberg, the Swedish soccer star who now plays with Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer. “I feel great right now,” he continues. “I can run again, I feel good like a baby.” He keeps the door to the Swedish national team open this coming fall: “If there are a lot of injuries, then I am open for a comeback.” One goal and one assisting goal when Seattle won over San Jose with 2-1, made Ljungberg this happy. He missed the fateful soccer match between Sweden and Denmark (“it wasn’t shown on any TV-channel over here”), but says he keeps in touch with his former colleagues. “I text Roland Andersson, mostly just to wish him luck in some match.” When asked if he feels it looks bad for Sweden in the upcoming World Champion qualifying round, he says that “yes, it does look a bit uncertain. And if it turns out to be very critical and they feel I can help them out, then I am willing to listen. I feel in excellent shape after my hip surgery last Christmas. It feels great being able to run again.”

Kamprad becomes opera.
The life of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad will become an opera in Germany. “Das wunder von Schweden – eine musikalische möbelsaga” recently premiered at the Ruhrfestspiel in Recklinghausen. The performance is said to be “a musical biography in the form of a hambo, where the story of Ingvar Kamprad is told drastically to the tunes of Swedish folk music.” The Swiss musician and director Erik Gedeon and the Swedish playwright Klas Abrahamsson are behind the lyrics and music, while Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg are behind the production itself, which can be seen onstage at that theater in September. Perhaps IKEA will sponsor stage furniture and props?

A royal bed & breakfast.
“Would Your Majesty please pass me the marmalade?” No, not quite like that. But almost. If you check in at Rosersberg, you’ll be staying at Sweden’s only hostel that is actually a royal castle. It’s situated in the Rosersbergsviken in Mälaren and was for many years closed to visitors, but then last summer it opened as a hostel. “We were having a picnic here some years ago, and we talked about how nice it would be to do something with it,” says Pär Hernell who with David von Schinkel manages Rosersbergs Hotel och Konferens. “Turned out they were actually looking for entrepreneurs. Now we have conference utilities, a restaurant and a hotel. This summer we will also offer bed and breakfast. And it is a bit special to stay overnight at a castle.” For more info:

The next guest designer for H&M will be Jimmy Choo. You know, the shoe designer made famous through “Sex and the City” on TV. Apart from shoes, the Choo collection will also include handbags and accessories. Jimmy Choo for H&M will launch on November 14 – save the date.

Owe Thörnqvist says good-bye.
Oh no, say it isn’t so! Owe Törnqvist, who has turned 80, is leaving show biz. But first he’ll show us who’s the master. He’ll be one of this year’s “sommarpratare” in Swedish radio, he’ll have his own statue erected in Uppsala (his hometown) and, most importantly, he’ll have a new show at Scalateatern in September called “Tack & hej” (Thanks and goodbye), to sum up his career. You’ll also hear him in “Allsång på Skansen” about which he says: “It’s wonderful to stand in front of 20,000 people and sing your own songs.” Thörnqvist got his career on track in 1955 with “Diverse julboogie”, one of the very first Swedish rock songs. Until 1968 he wrote a long string of songs combining working class stories with clever word puns, using jazz, rock n’ roll and Caribbean tunes. You remember them: “Varmkorv boogie”, “Dagny”, “Rumba i engelska parken” and “Loppan”. Great stuff. The music critic Lennart Persson places Thörnqvist in the very forefront of Swedish rock history: “He was the first, the greatest, the best. A hardheaded visionary, a creative wild man. We need more of his kind.” Problems with asthma forced Thörnqvist to move to Spain in the 1960’s, and today he also has a home in Florida. But nothing, he says, compares to Stockholm in the summer. “That’s something I can brag about to my friends in Spain and Florida. Stockholm in summertime is one of the most beautiful places.”