The other day, I found myself in Eskilstuna.
I've only ever been there once before and that was to make a short film about Volvo wheel loaders. On that trip, eight years ago, I was met straight off the train and taken to a secret test track in the middle of the woods and put at the wheel of a two tonne digger. I had to speak to the camera in the cockpit, while driving at high speed. That's me in the photo standing next to a wheel that was pretty much as tall as me. Photo taken just before the crash - Who would have thought a two tonne vehicle could do that much damage?
This trip to Eskilstuna, I wanted to see a little bit more than just a Volvo test track, and besides, I'm not sure the guys there would be that welcoming after what happened to ALL of their cars - As I said at the time, they should have checked whether or not I knew how to drive BEFORE giving me the keys to that beast of a machine. This time, I wanted to see the sights, breathe in the atmosphere, feel the pulse of Sweden's fifteenth biggest city without getting into a complicated multi-party insurance claim.
I asked myself, what would Ernest Hemingway have done if he found himself here? I decided that Hemingway would have probably just got his iPhone out and searched on google/wikipedia for information. Which, just like Hemingway would have done, is exactly what I did!
One phrase from Eskilstuna's wikipedia page leapt out at me: I Gamla stan ligger också ett utedassmuseum. (In the Old Town, you can also find a latrine museum.) This was the cultural experience for me! I wanted to see it! I wanted to find it!
But alas - Google maps knew nothing, sending us simply in circle after circle. I asked people on the street, I went into shops and nobody knew. I asked at our hotel reception and they knew nothing!
Come on Eskilstuna! This is surely a lost opportunity!
In the same way that people have only ever heard of Reykjavik or indeed the very existence of Iceland because of the Penis Museum, this is what could really put Eskilstuna on the map and set it apart from all the other indistinct and fairly unremarkable medium-sized towns in Sweden.
So Eskilstuna! (And I mean this from the bottom of my heart) Where are your toilets?
Next time I come to town, it's my dream to be greeted at the station by an enthusiastic crowd who are not afraid to approach me with the words "You've got the look of a man who is trying to find the toilet?" or even "Have you been to the toilet today, sir?"
I'll even suggest a new town slogan: Eskilstuna. As soon as you come, you'll want to go!
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