A colleague explained that the game was the forerunner to ice hockey and emerged from the regal families of Russia several centuries ago. Apparently early ice hockey rules were closer to bandy than the modern game is today.Being born in Australia and not having even having sighted snow until my twenties, trying bandy at the end of a game was more an effort in staying upright while skating than attempting anything skilled with striking the ball.
Unless in search of winter fauna or the northern lights, I’d suggest steering clear of Scandinavian countries in the depths of winter. However if you are there, seek out a bandy match with its enthusiastic crowds and wonderful skating and balls skills – the game they colloquially call “winter football” in Sweden.
At the start of each month during 2012, Travel Wonders features a popular or characteristic sport or game played or witnessed during my travels. The last two months have shown the athletic Asian game of Sepak Takraw and Spanish game of jai alai or pelota. Earlier articles feature table games such the popular African game mancala, my own personal favourite that always travels with me, Pass the Pigs and the Latin American game of dominoes.