First I read that our favorite pastry shop in Stockholm, Fabrique (Stenugnsbageri) is setting up an outpost in NYC in the Meatpacking District (on 14th Street, where else?)
Next came news, yesterday, that our favorite museum in Stockholm, is opening an outpost in NYC. Unfortunately it won’t be open until mid-October (we’ll be in NYC in early October) but Fotografiska is now very much on my to-do list for future trips to the city!
Off the beaten path in Stockholm: the city’s best urban island
For an authentic Swedish experience, head to Stockholm’s Södermalm district. (Click here for more)
By Betsy Rubiner Special to the Star Tribune
Amid a sea of Swedes watching the World Cup quarterfinal match, my friend Francine jumped up and down, cheering wildly when England scored the winning goal against Sweden. Disappointed locals — many wearing yellow Sweden jerseys, some with the national flag painted on their faces — watched her silently. Some seemed amused. Or curious.
So much for blending into the crowd.
We were in Stockholm’s Södermalm district, decidedly off the beaten tourist track, yet we were exposed as outsiders. Francine and her husband, Russ, are from London; my husband, Dirck, and I are from Des Moines. No one appeared to mind. Some even shook Francine’s hand and offered congratulations. One requested a photo with her.
Swedes, we learned that July day at a packed Södermalm bar, are tolerant, polite, avid fans and good sports.
For our first visit to Stockholm, we stayed in Södermalm primarily because it is not a major tourist hot spot. When I travel, I’m often torn between visiting the must-see sights and hanging out in real neighborhoods that offer glimpses of how life is lived. Södermalm, also known as “Söder,” proved to be a great home base to do both.
We walked eight miles today, according to dirck’s phone and I believe it. We met Francine and Russ at the Stronstall metro stop and used our 3-day metro pass to take a vintage tram circa the 1940s ( Russ loves!) to Djurgarden, a lovely island park with scattered mansions, museums, gardens and a very cool place to eat — in a greenhouse cafe with “biodynamic” garden called Rosendals Tradgard. We had salads and open faced sandwiches with produce from the gardens. Lovely. And full of locals on a sunny Sunday morning. Reminded me a bit of Central Park or Petersham Gardens at London’s Richmond Park.
Dirck and Russ went to the Vasa ship museum while Francine and I did the campy ABBA museum. We aren’t huge ABBA fans but it is a clever museum with fun interactive elements including an opportunity for visitors to perform on a darkened stage with holograms of the four band members. I couldn’t convince Francine to do it. We each auditioned to be a fifth member of ABBA by singing in a karaoke booth and having our performance graded. Not sure Francine or I made the cut.
In the late afternoon, Dirck and I found a hidden path down by the lake/canal to the west and south of our Airbnb that was like a hidden Bohemia. As we walked along a wooded dirt path, often lined with hollyhocks, we passed a huge and busy pool complex, a stage with salsa dancers, a guy playing a tinny piano, sunbathers and swimmers, mostly young and attractive, a few food trucks and small cottages that looked like something out of haight ashbury, and docked boats. Hard to believe the city was just above us.
Dinner was at 6 nytorget, (named after its address) in the bustling SoFo (South of Folkungagatan Street) neighborhood, which was well recommended by a young dad I met yesterday at the football match viewing. Popular local spot, packed with families and couples and friends, excellent innovative Mediterranean fare pork, tuna, and other fish and meat dishes. We shared a table with a very blond Swedish couple and their two very blond kids. And then with four people speaking French (brown hair).
Sad to say goodbye to Russ tonight and Dirck tomorrow morning. Francine and I get a little more time tomorrow. Hate saying goodbye.
Fun day as tourists with Francine and Russ. Nice to have them lead the way! We roamed around the old town of gramla Stan, arriving at the royal palace just in time for the changing of the guard, this time complete with a marching band. Lots of tourists roaming the narrow cobbled lanes and gift shops selling $49 T-shirts.
We decided to splurge on the smorgasbord at The Grand Hotel, which was a trip. Lots of fish, herring, meats, desserts. Once was enough, I am ready to slow down on the eating.
In the afternoon we joined most of Stockholm or so it seemed to watch Sweden vs. England in the World Cup semi finals. Francine and Russ were in the distinct minority, wearing their English football shirts at the Sodermalm bar where we watched the game outside on the street in a crowd spilling onto the street. England won unexpectedly 2-0 and the crowd was very tolerant of Francine jumping up and down in victory.
We wandered around the cobbled lanes of northern Sodermalm and took in some great views of the rest of the city and did some people watching of the attractive young people gathered at various cafes and pubs, including a furniture designer/restaurant called Woodstockholm.
Francine and Russ arrived from London this evening and we met them at their airbnb, a stone’s throw from ours in Sodermalm, the so-called Brooklyn of Stockholm. Great to see them! We had a fun dinner outside among a lively crowd of young and often gorgeous Swedish people at Urban Deli in SoFo (south of Folkungagatan Street) in Sodermalm, a trendy area with interesting restaurants, cafes and shops. Our sweet and very attractive young waiter served us a mixed grill platter ( sausage, sirloin tips, grilled chilis) plus fresh oysters and a veggie burger for Russ. Very lively and fun scene.
Dirck and I started our day by taking the #55 bus to Ostermalm, a tony neighborhood where we walked through the famous food hall (actually a temporary version of the saluhall) and ate pricey seafood at Lisa Elmqvist, a famous place my parents ate 25 years ago. The Under the Bridges boat tour turned out to offer far more lively and current commentary on life in Stockholm than expected and was gorgeous two hour ride. We shared our table with two funny gay guys from Austin.
Stockholm is more grand and stately than we expected. But cool too and full of some very stunning people, as my mother noted in her travel journal 25 years ago. It kind of feels like Copenhagen’s older sister, a little more suave and sophisticated. (Not that I am more suave and sophisticated than my sisters….)
Our neighborhood, Sodermalm, does feel a bit like Brooklyn. We’ve seen lots of tattoos, man buns, ethnic people, older everyday people, creative types. Our Airbnb is in an apartment in an attractive modern building on the ring road (Ringvägen) in Sodermalm, not in the trendiest area but an easy walk to it. Our host looks like an older model, wears youthful clothes well, and she warmly welcomed us and left cardamon cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) out for us this morning. We have our own private space – a comfortable small bedroom that looks out onto a quiet courtyard and the shared bath is fine. Seems luxurious after sharing a bathroom with three other rooms in Norway.