Stockholm, Sweden. [February 2018]
Takeaways from a long weekend Scandinavian escape:
- The Swedes are pretty dramatic when it comes to subway art – everyday commutes must feel like Judgment Day, where you are either floating on ethereal blues or attempting to escape the mouth of Lucifer. It’s still much better subway decor than dead rats and that dude that always sells incense in the 14th street station, though.
- If Thor could cook with fire the creatures he just smashed with his hammer, it would probably taste like the reindeer heart tacos we had at Ekstedt. The restaurant does not believe in electricity or gas ovens and cooks everything over birch wood fire, imparting each bite with an ambrosial smoked flavor to die for.
- Stockholm felt downright intimate and lilliputian considering it’s the second-largest Nordic city, especially in the charming Gamla Stan (old town). An hour of walking later we’ve eaten our cinnamon Samla buns, bought our reindeer pelt souvenir, and snuck in a nice meal at the Ostermalm food hall. The average person here is pretty large, however – must be that Nordic cheese-and-butter-and-milk diet…
- The museums are quirky but cool with their own hipster vibe. For one, the famous Vasa Museum basically celebrates a f*ck-up so bad it makes the Titanic look like the invention of electricity. Apparently this ship sank without even making it out of the harbor because water started coming in its too-low cannon holes – what a di-sas-tah. Fotografiska, which opens until 1AM on some nights, put on an incredible exhibit of Chen Man’s surreal Chinese-flavored photography.
- We didn’t have to take out a single Euro from the ATM for the long weekend (ironic that this was over President’s Day? Didn’t need to convert any dead presidents). Financial footnote: Bloomberg apparently just put out a story about how Sweden is the world’s most cashless society. Tsk-tsk, Chinatown lady that always sells me good, cheap cherries but only takes cash.
So there’s my neatly bullet-pointed pun-free trip report. It’s nice to not be Stock at Holm on a long weekend, explore a Krona fide Scandinavian city, taste some new Swede desserts, write simple prose and neither digress Nordic around with my words. Only downside is my legs a a bit Thor.
“The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons – it was systemic and it was complete.” -Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story
“He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and simile, into the place of things that are, and it was changing him.” -Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
“Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table.” -T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock