Sunday in Stockholm: red on white

Sunday in Stockholm: red on white

Sunday was our last full holiday day, so the Scandinavian blood I don’t have woke me up at 7 in the morning fresh, radiant and keen to go running just like the Swedes. I spent my morning shower imagining the happiness of going out onto the street, opening my lungs and greeting the Stockholm sun…

niebla en Estocolmo, nieve en Estocolmo, hielo en el mar, hielo en Estocolmo. Fog, snow, ice in Stockholm.
…a greeting that never came because the sun didn’t dare show its face.

Yet the cold wasn’t enough to frighten me off, nor the snow, nor even the wind and I went for another wander around the streets of Södermalm with icicles forming on my nose. I don’t want to exaggerate but there was such a frost that even the statues had put on their scarves.

statues with hats, statue with a scarf. estatuas con gorros, estatua con bufanda.
I felt a little sad that two statues in the street knew how to wear their scarves more stylishly than I did…

I returned to the boat to wake Sleeping Beauty, have breakfast and return to the adventure, to the pier to take advantage of the twenty-four hour ticket that we’d bought like naive fools the previous day, but not before checking with the girl at the ticket office that the boats were working that day. The girl told us that of course they were, why wouldn’t they be going, as if it was the craziest idea in the world to doubt that a tourist barge would sail above a sea of ice sheets, what a bizarre notion. Well yes, it sailed, but there were only ourselves, the captain and his assistant on-board. I’m sure that’s because it was early on Sunday morning.

We got down again on the island of Djurgården but this time at the second stop since we already had another museum in mind (we crossed our fingers that it wouldn’t feature boats): Skansen. Skansen is famous for being the first open air museum in the world, there’s something funny about the fact that the first Earthly creatures to consider the idea lived in a country that spends half of the year below zero and with the sun appearing only in photos…

I was very keen to visit this playmobil version of Sweden and gladly paid another thirteen euros to enter and see how they had represented the country via a traditional town down to the smallest details: the little houses, the church, the market, the stables, the farm, the school, the fair… and how they’d rounded it all off with a Sami town, a Suomi town and a sort of zoo of typical Scandinavian species..

Skansen museum, museo Skansen

So inadvertently we spent almost the entire day in Skansen (we even ate there), even though many things were closed for the silly reason that there was a snow-storm. Looking back, and now that I can’t feel the blood solidifying in my veins and a constant runny nose I would say I’m glad that the weather was bad for two reasons: One, because if everything had been open we would never have managed to go all the way around the museum, and two, because although the weather was such that you’d never dream of removing your blanket, there were four children per square metre, all wrapped up in those astronaut suits that Scandinavian children wear…

A Swedish child in Skansen

In the end, we left because they threw us out, otherwise I’d still be there looking for moose and bears (which they had, well hidden but they had them) and we embarked on a normal boat-bus (normal as a synonym of “method of transport that isn’t a tourist trap and in which a single ticket can be used for all subways, buses and boat-buses of the city for ninety minutes, costing four little euros”) that took us as far as Slussen, an area that joins the old city with the island of Södermalm .

We decided to continue the evening with one of the more important Swedish traditions (fika: Cofee, a sweet and good company), as a sign of respect to the culture of the country that we visited (that was clearly our main reason for sitting our bums down and scoffing down a couple of buns, one cinnamon and the other cardamom).

bollos de canela, bollos de cardamomo, bollos suecos. cinanmon roll, cardamom roll.
Kanelbulle, kardemummabulle…
It feels like you’re insulting somebody when you say the names…

Those that know me will know that I take the topic of organising travel very seriously and some of you will have had to suffer my fifteen-page dossiers with details up to and including the pee breaks. With age (and the murderous looks) I’ve become more flexible and have learnt that plans can change a little and that despite that maybe the time-space continuum of the universe won’t be radically altered, destroying the world as we know it and resulting in post-apocalyptic scenarios (Translator’s Note: Nieves like to take it easy on her translators by including such phrases as ‘time-space continuum’ in the Spanish version…). Maybe. But I’m also not a fan of running unnecessary risks.

I say this because my dossier indicated that that evening we would go to see live music in a really nice looking folk pub. A pub that on this particular day they’d decided to close two hours earlier than usual, just to be annoying. Or because it was Sunday, but that would imply failure in my organisation so it was probably just to be annoying. The fact is that we ended up without a plan and we had to improvise. IM-PRO-VI-SE. Ouch, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps…

Curiously, the improvisation worked out very well for us: we bought some ninety minute tickets to use the public transport and dedicated ourselves to visiting subway stops until the tickets expired on us. I know, it doesn’t exactly sound like a thrilling activity, but I’m sure it sounds a little better if I tell you that a Swedish artist devoted herself to make them into marvels and show you some little photos. There are more than ninety decorated stops in the entire network but a quick Google search promoted the best and we visited them in the most efficient order possible according to the subway routes from where we were (controlled improvisation, we hadn’t gone completely crazy). And voilà:

estaciones de metro en estocolmo, metro stations in Stockholm, colourful metro stations, estaciones de metro coloridas
A lady with bright colours that took good advantage of the subway delays…#

With the journey on the metro and a dinner not especially interesting but indeed succulent in our boat-hotel (one of the few places that still served food at ten on a Sunday night) we reached the end of our weekend in Stockholm, given that the following morning we had to return to the airport and to Edinburgh, to a reality devoid of meatballs and snow-storms… for now.


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Sunday in Stockholm: red on white