Tuesday, August 2, 2011
"The Girl With The Sensible Shoes"
Enough about shoes and more about beautiful Stockholm, a city situated on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges, infused and embraced by Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea. We stayed in the Columbus Hotell (http://www.columbushotell.se/eng/info.htm) in the heart of Sodermalm, a gentrified "cool 'hood" full of boutiques, galleries, cafes, clubs and restaurants. Lisbeth's apartment was in Sodermalm. The Columbus Hotell is a mid-priced hotel for (expensive) Stockholm. I think our room was around $200/night, which included a full breakfast. I expected a tiny room with just enough space for us and our luggage - like we had in London. But when we opened our door we were delighted to find a sitting room with a couch and TV, then a sizable bedroom and bath. Really nice and quiet and comfortable. The quiet part might have had something to do with the cemetery outside our window. We recommended the Columbus Hotell to other friends who were making a Finland/Sweden trip and they loved it, too. So it wasn't a fluke.
We stayed in Stockholm for three days and made great use of The Stockholm Card, which we bought online while still in the states. Just load up the card with money and number of days and then use it for just about every museum, church, palace, gallery and all public transportation, including groovy little water taxis. Very convenient and a lot better than digging around for cash all the time.
Another notable stop was the Royal Opera House where we encountered crabby Lars and Budapest cake at a nearby cafe (see earlier post). I think Lars and the Real Cake was more memorable than the Opera House, which was nice but can't touch Cleveland's theaters for beauty and splendor.
The Fotografiska Museet was also very cool and we were struck by a fantastic showing of Canadian photographer Ed Burtynksy's manufactured landscapes.
We also visited the Vasa Museet. They built a museum to house this ship that was built in 1628 and sank on its maiden voyage because of the dumb design. But some archeologist dug it up in the 1950s and it was restored and put on display. A monument to stupidity, I guess.
The Tiel Gallery was a house built by this Swedish banker, Ernest Thiel, designed for the display of his fantastic art collection, including works by Munch, Vuillard, Toulouse-Lautrec. We arrived 15 minutes before closing so had to zippidy-do-dah through, but it really made an impression. And Djurgarden is a beautiful park of an island, perfect for the Sunday stroll that we took after the Tiel.
And while this isn't particular to Stockholm, but rather the Swedish language in general, it was mind-numbing to try to match the spelling of a word to its pronunciation. For example, on the Metro, you'd think the Malarhojden stop should sound something close to "malar" and "hoden." You would be wrong. It sounds more like "yourmotherwearshulahoops." Just ask the New Zealand bartender in Goteburg, he'll corroborate this phenomenon. Next.