There’s no place like home.
But I had a fabulous time in Stockholm and, if life took such a turn, I could definitely see myself living there. (Although I’d have to visit in December to make sure of my feelings…)
In no particular order, five of the things I loved about Stockholm:
- Coffee. It’s great everywhere. It is not an exaggeration to say that I did not have a bad cup of coffee anywhere, public, private, or commercial. They make it strong and dark, are non-plussed when you ask for warm milk to go with it, there are indie coffee shops and what I assume are local chains. Our apartment had a very funky coffeemaker and we picked up a pound of ground beans with the royal seal on it, but otherwise randomly. This county knows its coffee.
- Fashion. It’s pretty low key there. Individualistic. I never felt under- or over-dressed. I noticed that over the ten days I was there, I slowly wore less makeup and felt better about it. (Not that I normally wear a lot, but mascara, bronzer, and lipstick seemed enough.) I would have liked to do some shopping for clothes as the relaxed style really appeals, but it will have to wait for my next trip. Have a look at this tumblr for an idea of what’s on the street these days.
- The Baltic. Michael announced in the car on our way home that he didn’t want to hear the word “archipelago” one more time. But really, that explains a lot of the appeal of the city. You turn a corner and suddenly a new vista appears that includes another bit of the sea, different from what you just passed. The climate is moderated by it, the food is influenced by it, history was shaped by it, and it’s simply beautiful.
- Food. Because we stayed either with family or in an apartment we rented, we experienced life as a resident, shopping in the grocery stores, as well as eating in restaurants. Compared to Canada, food is expensive but the quality is high. We had lots of seafood, fish, fresh salads, beets and legumes, breads scented with anise, dill, and caraway, and lots of flatbread (eg Wasa.) Fresh herb plants were available in even small grocers, and the owners of our apartment had a number of plants around the kitchen and on the balcony. I enjoyed a couple of different local beers, and a whisky tasting on an island on our final evening was both an excellent aperitif and informational.
- Interesting museums. We didn’t do all the biggies, but I had identified a couple that I definitely wanted to see. The Spirit Museum has an excellent exhibit of some of the Absolut Art Collection, in particular, Art Pop, the artist and the record sleeve 1956-2013.
There was also an exhibit there called Swedish Sin. In their words: In collaboration with artist Peter Johansson, we get to grips with lust and vice, liberation and shame – with ”Swedish sin”, both the myth and the phenomenon.
We also visited the Vasa Museum, a showplace for the 17th century warship that sank into the Stockholm harbour, 30 minutes into it’s maiden voyage. It was salvaged in the early 1960s and is being painstakingly restored. If we’re going to build warships, we should make them beautiful.
We also visited the Moderna Museet, on the same campus as ArkDes, where we saw the Nils Dardel exhibit as well as some of the permanent collection. And the beautiful Fotographiska, the museum of contemporary photography, where I learned that black and white images can depict nature in stunning fashion.
- Stay tuned for items 6-10….coming tomorrow.