Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chilling out in Stockholm

Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Steve has been working over in Stockholm for the past couple of weeks and I got to go for a visit on the weekend.

Stockholm is rated in the Lonely Planet as one of the most beautiful cities in the word and although it was cold, grey, raining and dark most of the weekend, I could see the potential. It tried to snow most of Saturday but failed miserably. Anyone who knows my aversion to being cold and damp will be impressed by my determination to get out and see the sights in the freezing rain. I did have to stop in at H&M (clothing store originally from Sweden) for gloves and hat to cope. But it was worth it.

Stockholm is small but perfectly formed. Set on a harbour with beautiful grand buildings (I am assuming remaining neutral in WWII has helped in this regard) with different pockets to explore - all easily doable on foot. We meandered through the old town and ended up in the groovy, "bohemian" (as bohemian as an area with about 3 H&M stores can be) Sodermalm district. Wandering around the backstreets we ended up on a hill with a fantastic view overlooking the harbour and main city area.

My radar for ridiculously expensive, not very useful things was immediately alerted by this amazing gallery / shop Konsthantverkarna a collective of artists. I couldn't leave without some of the pottery - was very taken with a plate with impressed roses on the border in a delicate cream glaze. Steve couldn't quite understand the purpose of such an object and I don't think I really got across my vision of serving delicately pastel coloured iced biscuits and cupcakes on it. But I certainly didn't let that stop my buying it. It totally lived up to my preconceptions of gorgeous Scandinavian design style.

We had diner at Stufehof, seafood restaurant and I went for the "local" option of steamed haddock on a bed of egg and prawns. After dinner we attempted to go to the Ice Bar - literally that - a bar made of ice - but its obviously a tourist draw and no go without a booking so we ended up at the Spy Bar. It was empty when we arrived at about 11 which would have bothered me once but now I just appreciate being able to get a drink and have somewhere to stand (I know I sound about 80). But it was gratifyingly packed when we left in the wee hours so was obviously a pretty hip place to be.

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