24 - 27 August 2007
I love IKEA, I love blue water, I like...herring. Despite the bad exchange rate, what's not to like in Stockholm?
Kiko and his wonderful owners, Helga and Lars in their bed & breakfast in the centre of town. Kiko is the most jetsetting dog I've ever met - he has his own EU passport (seriously, it says Species: Dog with his photo) and he understands Swedish, English and has a passing knowledge of German. Helga and Lars were very welcoming hosts, constantly feeding me cheese pie, smoked moose from their neighbour's hunt, smoked salmon, homemade linseed bread and chicken liver pate, vanilla yoghurt, honey from their neighbours and 'heavenly good' tea. It was like staying with family friends and I will be back to visit.
Chokladkoppen - apparently the best hot chocolate in Stockholm and overlooking sunny Stortoget. A big sugar hit to start the day.
Ah-glass bar - there was a line so I joined it. A neighbourhood icecream bar facing a grassy square bearing all sorts of flavours, including sunny saffron.
Caravan selling stromming - a recommendation from Helga for an authentic Stockholm dish - herring, potato, coleslaw and knackerbrot for only 40 SEK.
Bakfikan - the small counter restaurant in the beautiful Opera House. The food was great quality and cheap, and comes from the same kitchens as the grander, more expensive Opera House restaurants. You sit around the wooden bar and get served all the bread you can eat plus traditional Swedish food - I ordered Swedish meatballs, delicious with lingonberries (and I'm not normally a fan of mixing sweet and savoury).
Sundbergs Konditori - the oldest konditori in town with pale green and gilded walls. There is always a long line, but the blueberry and raspberry tart was worth the wait and a nice way to soak in the sumptious surroundings.
Sturehof - the restaurant where the beautiful people go. In the bustling cruise-ship like dining room, we were served our herring platter (done 5 ways), creamy lobster soup and enormous grilled turbot with truffle hollandaise sauce.
Ostermalms Saluhall - apparently one of the top 10 markets in the world. It was housed in a beautifully vaulted building and full of lunchtime crowds sitting down to more herring. Unfortunately my balance of Swedish kroner was depleted by this stage, but Tyska Mari seemed to have the longest queues.
I didn't really rate the fashion scene (too much black and soo expensive!) but I adored Swedish design. My favourite Swedish word: Oppet (open)!
Kalika - a cute toy shop which sold lots of fun things like pirate swords, moose toys and dangling spider mobiles. I fell in love with their miniature kitchen items and bought an adorable little wooden breadbox which fits about three slices of bread.
Nordiska Kompaniet - the Stockholm Selfridges and fabulous for my last minute emergency Swedish design shopping. It contained capsule areas for Design House Stockholm (Nordic Light candlestick), Bookbinders (Photo album and notepad), a large bookstore (Elsa Beskow's 'Ollie's Ski Trip') and foodhall (another dose of cinnamon bun).
DesignTorget - my favourite store (I visited twice), full of funky interesting gadgets. In my shopping bag: battery-charging appliance scoop, stools which fold up to the size of a large book, screw on tubes which turn a plastic water bottle into a watering can, silicon food-loops and sporks - spoon, fork and knife in one.
A lonely little vintage store in the middle of nowhere in Gamla Stan, owned by a old lady who didn't speak English. It was crammed with lots of interesting things which unfortunately I wasn't in the mood to sift through - although I bought a pair of cream embroidered gloves for only 35 SEK (less than 3 pounds).
Nobel museum - an inspiring and thought provoking exhibition about the Nobel Prize, particularly the videos about creative milieus (focusing on places which have inspired creativity) and creative individuals (short films about certain Nobel Laureates and their creative process). I was particularly moved by the Nobel lecture of Fridjtof Nansen, winner of the 1922 Peace Prize for creating the Nansent refugee passport after WWI.
Under the bridges boat tour - a 2 hour boat trip all around Stockholm's islands, passing two locks. Bizarrely, parts of it reminded me of Brisbane, particularly Kangaroo Point.
Spirit of the Wild open air photography exhibition - beautifully captured wildlife photographs from Steve Bloom's worldwide travelling exhibition.
Boat trip to Vaxholm in the Central Archipelago, only 1 hr 15 mins away by ferry. When you're there, visit:
All sorts of unexpected things around the corner in Galma Stan and Sodermalm - a decorative telephone box, an ornate urinal, some cubist art in a window, the narrowest alley in Stockholm and a doorway into the air.
Chokladkoppen - Stortorget 20, Galma Stan
AH-glass Bar - 83 Skanegatan, Södermalm
Stromming caravan - Sodermalmstorg, Sodermalm
Bakfican - Operahuset, Karl XII's torg
Sundbergs Konditori - Jarntorget, Galma Stan
Sturehof - Sturegallerian 42, Stureplan 2, Ostermalm
Ostermalms Saluhall - Ostermalmstorg, Ostermalm
Kalika - Osterlanggatan 18, Gamla Stan
NK - Hamngatan 18-20 Norrmalm
Design House Stockholm Karlavagen 73, Ostermalm
Bookbinders - Norrlandsgatan 20, Norrmalm
DesignTorget - Nyborgatan 16, Ostermalm and Gotgatan 31, Sodermalm
Unnamed Vintage Store - Cnr Tyska Skolgrand and Sjalagardsgatan, Galma Stan
Nobel Museum - Börshuset, Stortorget, Gamla Stan
Spirit of the Wild - Raoul Wallenbergs Torg, Ostermalm
Hembygdsgarden Museum - Norrmalm