It’s been marvelous times here in Stockholm: the weather’s been cooperative (translation: I only have to wear a sweater sometimes)—and I’ve spent the last two days out and about in the city! I did a long walk (an hour both ways) on Tuesday, checking several of my “Stockholm must-dos” in one gigantic sightseeing day. And then when I came back, Sandra’s boyfriend Jordan had tickets to see an Icona Pop (?) concert at the theme park here in Stockholm, so off we went! (All I have to say about that is–Swedes, man. Not an easy crowd to impress).
Will you join me on my day journey through Stockholm? Let’s go! It was a marathon day; I started at 9:30am and got home around 4:30pm.
I started off the day strolling down Birger Jarlsgatan (the main street that Sandra’s apartment is on, and it goes down all the way to the water! So many cool shops along the way), which winds through Ostermalm (literally, “east island”), which seems to be along the lines of NYC’s Upper East Side: lots of idle rich housewives and suited bankers walking about and lunching in posh cafes. The architecture here is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and it stretches all the way down to the harbor.
I made a small detour from my Birger Jarlsgatan route to visit Ostermalm Saluhall (food hall). It’s this mind-blowing celebration of Swedish food; rows of decked-out stalls all tucked into a beautiful old building. I think this is where Dean & Deluca comes to get their inspiration; the spread of fresh fish, meats, cheeses, and sandwiches would put anything in the US to shame. And let’s not just talk about the quality of the food, let’s talk prices: a “toast skagen” (a classic Swedish sandwich with shrimp salad on it) will run you about 150 kronor (or, 23 USD). Instead, I opted for a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso (they call it a ‘coccacino! cute!) and went on my merry way.
As soon as I hit the water, I knew I had to pop into Svensk Tenn, the huge flagship store of Swedish designer Josef Frank, famous for his brightly colored fabrics. It’s interesting that Scandinavian interiors are stereotyped as being extremely restrained (and dare I say…bland?)–all whites and light wood and…oh, you’ve seen IKEA, right? Not at Svensk Tenn! Josef Frank apparently was determined to bring the entire color spectrum to everyone’s lives–everyone that can drop 500 USD on a throw blanket and 3000 USD for a cabinet, that is. Even the simplest of pillows and bags in the store was way beyond my budget, so I had to content myself with drooling over the displays a bit and sending up a little prayer in the hopes of being able to afford an entire Josef Frank room of my own someday…
After Svensk Tenn, I made my way slowly along the harbor towards Djurgården, another island in the city of Stockholm. It’s maybe at this point that I need to point out something important about Stockholm (and something I only figured out after being there for 3 entire days)–it’s made up of islands. “Malm” means island–so “Ostermalm” is the east island, “Normalm is the north island, so on and so forth. Djurgården, is a smaller island right below Ostermalm and used to be the royal family’s hunting grounds. Now it’s a beautiful patch of nature with museums, gardens, an amusement park, and my destination for the day: Skansen.
On my way there, I got a look at all the rich and influential of Stockholm, either eating on their boats or heading to a “sea club” for lunch to eat along the water. Hot men in perfectly cut suits–sightseeing item, check!
I walked around and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of Djurgården before heading over to Skansen, which is described as “Sweden in miniature”. Many old buildings from all around Sweden have been transported here; everything from an entire farm to an old Swedish manor house. There’s also a children’s zoo with Scandinavian animals (does that mean they also are tall, beautiful, and wear perfectly cut clothing…?). It’s quite pricey to get in; around 23 USD (150 kronor)–but it is the world’s first open-air zoo, founded in 1891, so I guess that’s pretty cool.
But I definitely wouldn’t go again, given the chance. I suppose that it’s a good chance to guess what the Swedish countryside might look like, because you probably won’t ever go– it’s absurdly expensive to take any sort of transportation out there (it costs well over 100USD to take a train 4 hours to the north, friends say). It’s supremely touristy, and over-run with hyper children in certain areas. However, the area was so large that it was easy to find some beautiful corners to explore in relative silence…(and they had a full-operation old fashioned bakery, where you can watch Swedish treats being made, and then buy some to eat on your way out! fun! food tourism!)
To cap off the day, I walked all the way home along the same route (I thought my feet were going to fall off! But 4pm, just as I was getting back, is the time that most Swedes get off of work, so! more men! suits! ahhh!). I got home just in time to eat some delicious veggie burritos and throw down some rosé (the Swedish summer drink of choice) before heading to back to Djurgården to get to Grona Lund, Stockholm’s adorable vintage amusement park. We were seeing Swedish…DJ duo Icona Pop,
which apparently has had some hit songs out, but as I told Jordan: “I hate music”. I don’t really hate it, but I don’t follow any bands or particularly care what’s on my Spotify, as long as it doesn’t interrupt my studying.
But enough about me–let’s talk about these Swedes! It was by far the most…disconcerting.. concert I’ve ever been to, simply because no one reacted at all. Sure, there was a sea of 15-18 year olds at the front decked out in glitter face paint, but for the most part, no one (even them) jumped, screamed, waved their hands or did anything remotely concert-like–they just stood there. As for us, we went to a bar, and drank beer, and did the same standing around, hmmmhawwwing as the rest of the Swedes until the two songs we knew came on, and then we went out and jumped a little in the front. Then it was over. No one really seemed to care. Well, there you have it. And this is the country that gave us Avicii and ABBA!
But thankfully anything is amazing when you’re in good company, and though I may I sound like a broken record, I repeat: lots of hot guys in suits. I thought it was so amusing that I saw crowds of posh, suited up Swedish dudes, who get off work and then go to the amusement park to drink a beer. Who would have thought? The Swedes love their sun, and during the summer they make the most of the time that they have. Viva la summer Sweden! Daylight…all day! all night! So we celebrated summer Sweden by having a donut. A good day, indeed!