Welcome back to the second article about Stockholm. Didn’t really plan to write a 2-part piece on this, but when I started writing, I just realized that there are too many things to include, hence the decision not to cram them all in a long text. Today we’re talking about places to visit here, using the word in its very broad definition.
List #2: places
This was a tourist trip, so let’s get as touristy as possible.
Vasa Museet. The museum is built (literally) around Vasa, the great ship that sank after only 1.5 km at sea and was retrieved after 300 years of being under water. At first sight, when you enter, the museum is a bit underwhelming. I mean, yes, there is the ship there, in the middle, but you circle it two times and that’s that, right? Well, not quite. You get to know how the ship was built, then how it sank and was rescued, all that in a very captivating way of displaying the events. Just as an example, on the second level of the building, there is a real size replica of a cabin, giving you a sense of how it felt to be on the ship.
There are also a lot of objects rescued from Vasa and, most captivating – albeit in a slightly creepy way – the skeletons of some of the people who drown with it and the very realistic reconstructions of their faces based on the bone structure. These were creepier than the skeletons, to be honest, but amazingly well done.
Skansen. This was not part of this trip, but I went there last winter, during a work trip, and loved it entirely. It’s basically a village museum, showing you how people lived throughout Swedish history. My favorite was a house dating somewhere around 1950s, where you could see the household prepared for Christmas, as all of them were in fact, given the time of the year. I would say this is a place to put on your list of places to visit in any season, but if you happen to be there around Christmas, make sure not to miss it. It is indeed delightful.
One particular thing that I liked is the similarity of some of the motives in the tapestries and other objects to such Romanian motives. Haven’t researched this at all yet, there must be some anthropological influences happening at that time, but surely it was a nice thing to notice.
Nordiska Museet. This was the biggest surprise of them all. Because I was expecting lots of history, and Vikings and such, which would not have been a problem at all – I’m sure I would have loved it. Except that what I got was so much better – an exhibition on Swedish customs and civilization. Super realistic or creative reenactments of Midsummer, Christmas, Easter celebrations and such, what you would find on the table at, let’s say, a birthday celebration, how a wedding would look like… I know I used this word before, but it was all utterly delightful. And the level of detail with which food was reproduced is fantastic; you knew very well that what you saw was not real food, but you couldn’t help yourself craving it. I, for one, couldn’t.
Fotografiska. I knew I would love this, just didn’t know I would love it that much. In my book, Nordics are best when it comes to design and visuals, so I expected this museum to be great. But in all honesty, although I do enjoy seeing museum when abroad, there’s a degree of boredom attached to this. Don’t know if you can relate, but yours truly got tired and a bit bored of the Louvre at some point. Well, guess we’re just not perfect 😊 Anyway, I didn’t get bored here. Main ingredient for this is, I think, that the size of the exhibition was just enough to let you enjoy it. And that it was current, with contemporary artists whom I just loved to discover. Chen Man was my favourite, a Chinese fashion photographer with stunning visuals, but also loved Nick Veasley’s use of X-Ray to create super captivating photography.
Also, this museum ranks a solid ten on the comfort scale, if this is even a thing. You have everything you need to make your visit enjoyable, including cloth towels at the bathrooms. Hey, it’s a small thing, but such a nice touch, pun intended.
Espresso House. Any of them, as there are so many. This might be the Swedish equivalent of Starbucks (with better coffee, though) and it’s quite mainstream. I usually like smaller, specialty coffee places, but in Stockholm this is the place I loved the most. Probably because it’s cosy, welcoming, always a good choice for a fika (which is the best excuse for us who don’t have such a concept for indulging in sweets, pastry and coffee). And because it’s such a good sensation to get out of the cold and spend some time here. You actually get to kind of love the cold a bit, if that makes any sense.
Aaaand….I’m gonna stop here, because otherwise I might decide for a 3rd part of the article and who knows when I’m going to stop? But, mind you, the list of words, or places, or wonderful things about Stockholm isn’t by any means complete. Of course, I’m biased and, of course, there are aspects that you’ll probably not like there, but no doubt it’s worth visiting this city.