Journal: 31 August 2017
It will come as no surprise to you that I have a love of Scandinavia. Annually, we visit one of the Scandinavian countries. For a year or more we’d planned to visit Stockholm and tie it in with seeing Swedish friends.
Normally, on our travels, we have a jam-packed itinerary of where we want to go and what we want to see. This time, we booked our accommodation and, with no set agenda (other than packing our trusty Monocle guide), our sole objective was to experience life as a local.
We stayed in Hornstull on the island of Södermalm. We’d heard that this was an up and coming part of Stockholm. It was a real added bonus that we were able to get a bus direct from the airport to the doorstep of our apartment.
We flew from Heathrow with SAS – easily the best airline we’ve had the pleasure of flying with since being a family. The interiors were minimal and calming and the crew were so friendly and attentive.
I’m a true minimalist and my style is influenced by both Scandinavia and Japan. The apartment (pictured above) we stayed in was mid century modern with a neutral palette – the vibrancy was added by an abundance of greenery.
It was a short trip – we arrived in Stockholm midday on Friday and left first thing Tuesday morning. Ahead of leaving the UK, we’d been habitually checking the weather and it was forecast to rain, so we had everything from swimsuits to waterproofs. My sun dances must have worked because we were gifted three beautiful days of glorious sunshine.
We split our time between exploring the city on foot, metro and enjoying the local parks and coffee shops. Bobby and I agreed that we wouldn’t do any of the usual tourist attractions (museums & galleries).
‘Let’s just absorb how the locals live.’
As we explored the city, we made regular stops at parks for Stanley to let off steam. He fell in love with Björns trädgård and their skatepark and wooden train. We were actually introduced to this park by our friend Petra and her partner Martin. Stanley run around for hours with two of their children. After our park play date, Petra and Martin took us for a wander around their buzzing neighbourhood and beautiful store Mini Mocks.
We didn’t do any real shopping, as Stanley doesn’t really do browsing, but we did make two exceptions.
Bobby took the opportunity to pick up some knitwear from Grandpa and I treated myself to skincare from La Bruket (conveniently positioned next door).
On the Sunday, we saw our other friend Kristin, her husband Fred and their two children. This time we ventured outside of our immediate island to Rosendals Trädgård in Djurgården. I’ve known Kristen for several years and we’ve even collaborated together for her very cool brand Gardner & The Gang.
Given my unusually limited holiday research, I hadn’t heard of Rosendals Trädgård before but it was spectacular. We sat with our families in the orchard eating food from the cafe who use organic and biodynamic ingredients. Hands down, the goats cheese sandwich I ate was the best I’ve ever had. The children’s play park was really well considered and sculpturally beautiful.
We became a lover of food halls following our trip to Aarhus and Söderhallarna didn’t disappoint. We meandered through the fresh food and Stanley was particularly taken with the fish counter. Apparently one was from the dinosaur era! We settled on burgers and chips which can only be described as mouthwatering. Our other food highlights are Därmedpasta, the pizzas were incredible and the very cool and understated King Scoopa for ice cream – both in Hornstull.
We also recommend Pärlans Konfektyr in Södermalm – we stocked up on a few gifts for friends and family.
The beach at Tantolunden was definitely my highlight. It was like something from Lost. Whilst it is bijou, there is so much to see and great for people watching. To the right were teenagers jumping off the diving board on the jetty, to the left was a tree partially submerged set in front of a bridge and cityscape. Every now and then, there would be a few waves from passing speed boats.
The beach was super chilled and everything I assumed a cool Swedish beach would feel like.
As is customary with me on a holiday, I’m either planning a new project (in direct response to what I’ve been exposed to) or I’m observing how the culture is different to my own.
I loved both the creative use of public spaces and how the locals and communities enjoy each other’s company together. My eyes were opened to how parks could be more all encompassing on our trip to Copenhagen. I’d love to adopt some of the principles in our own city, and in fact, riverways, my next project, perhaps…
A big thank you to my kind, kind friends Petra and Kristin for showing us what it’s like to live like a local.
Our next Scandinavian trip will be the same time next summer and we’re thinking Helsinki…