My journey begins in Odense, Denmark—the southernmost city in Euro Truck Simulator 2’s new Scandinavia DLC. It’s the third largest Danish city and was once ruled by Canute IV, the last Viking king. My road trip will take me through Denmark, over to Sweden, and up to Norway. There’s no way to set the GPS in Euro Truck if you’re not on a delivery, so I’ll be navigating entirely with a map and road signs. I have no idea how long it’ll take, but I’m sure I’ll see some amazing scenery along the way. Or maybe just a load of motorways.
My bright red DAF XF Euro 6—a modest but reliable truck—pulls away from Odense and I head east towards Copenhagen, or København as the Danes call it. To reach the capital I’ll need to cross the Great Belt Fixed Link, or Storebæltsforbindelsen, a bridge that connects the islands of Zealand and Funen. It’s not long before I see its two great towers in the distance, and as I cross it, ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance plays on the Danish radio station I’m tuned to. I’m feeling good. Spirits are high.
I make my way across Zealand, the most populated island in Denmark. To cross into Sweden I’ll have to take the Øresund Bridge, which anyone who’s watched Danish/Swedish crime drama The Bridge will be familiar with. This leads directly from Copenhagen into the Swedish city of Malmö. It’s an impressive structure, and I switch briefly to a thirdperson view to soak in its majesty. Euro Truck is a game of mostly grey roads, which makes the moments when you see stuff like this even more exciting.
I arrive in Malmö, a city with 470km of cycle paths. Not that I care in my massive gas-guzzling truck. I head through the city and southeast towards Trelleborg, the southernmost town in Sweden. When I get there, I have my first accident. I drive a little too quickly around a roundabout and my truck rolls over and falls on its side. If this was the real world, that would be the end of the road trip. But luckily I’m able to call for help and magically respawn at a nearby garage.
Karlskrona is my next destination. It’s evening now, and the light is fading fast. The road between Trelleborg and Karlskrona is long and narrow, taking me through a picturesque slice of Scandinavian countryside. The sun finally dips below the horizon and I’m surrounded by blackness on all sides. It’s strangely eerie. I start designing a horror/ truck simulator game in my head. Silent Hill with heavy goods vehicles. Imagine it. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ by The Rolling Stones plays on the radio as I roll into Karlskrona, which is the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.
My fatigue meter is almost full, so it’s time to rest. I pull into a motel and get a few hours’ sleep. I wake up to a grey, rainy morning. I switch on my wipers and headlights and head northwest to the next city on my route, Växjö. Surrounded by lakes, this beautiful city has promised to totally eliminate its use of fossil fuels by 2030. I show my appreciation by driving my big, smelly truck through it. I continue northwest and make my way towards the city of Jönköping, which is built on the banks of Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake.
From here I head northeast to Linköping, a city that promises to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Swedish seem to care about the environment more than any other country, which makes me feel guilty about fouling the place up with my truck. Good thing virtual carbon emissions don’t count. I’ve been driving non-stop for an hour and a half now, and I’m still only halfway through Sweden. I’m finding navigation without the GPS surprisingly easy, but I’ve become obsessed with checking the map every other minute to make sure I’m not taking any wrong turns.
I’m heading towards Sweden’s capital now, Stockholm. To get there I have to pass through Södertälje, which is home to truck manufacturer Scania AB. I wonder if any hardcore Scania fans will see me driving through their town in a Dutch DAF truck and throw eggs at me, but I emerge on the other side of the city unscathed. I continue northeast to Stockholm, an amazing city I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times in real life. But, like all the cities in the game, its digital incarnation isn’t quite as impressive. I take some time in the capital to visit a garage and repair my truck, which has suffered hundreds of bumps, scrapes and bangs since I left Odense. The total cost is an eye-watering 27,000 euros. Ouch.