Saturday, July 25, 2015

Off we go to the Stockholm Archipelago!

I've always dreamed of visiting Stockholm's archipelago -  I have a thing about islands and having grown up with repeats of Astrid Lindgren's "Vi på Saltkråkan" on tv (see below) - I wanted to see it for myself!

So Friday, the sunniest day of the week we headed off to explore Vaxholm which is the island closest to Stockholm.  (Hey, we have two kids and only one day to explore so cut us some slack.)  The boat ride,which was very comfortable, left at 11:00 from the pier near Kungsträdgården (the Kings's garden, in the center of town) and the trip only took an hour.  There are many other departure times and islands to discover ( about 30,000 in all!) but the company we used was

We bought our tickets onboard (150 krones/adult) and settled down for some coffee and picture taking.  I can't wait to share them with you!  The sea is beautiful with pines and pretty houses dotting shores along the way.  Once at Vaxholm we went for lunch at Magazinet and a long walk along the shore.  Some sunning on the rocks and playing in the water, a little mini golf and ice cream at a nearby park, then checking out stores on the main drag was pretty much all we had time for before heading home on the 4:00 boat.

It was a lovely day and very relaxing.  It felt a little like Martha's Vineyard but slower paced.  From what I understand each island has its own character and they're all worth exploring I'm sure.  More info in English here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stockholm Shopping

A  chilled day of shopping in Stockholm is never wrong, there is so much to see and buy!  I hope that this little blog posts gives you some good ideas for places to spend your hard earned "kronor". First we went to Sergels Torg - seemingly the mecca of H&M - and where did we end up?  H&M of course, but with a twist, H&M Home (not yet in the States) where we scored a nice shower curtain and a cool pillow for the boy.  Oh and this guy welcomed us.  ;-)

We bought some books and cool pens at Akademibokhandeln before hitting the cheapo store TGR for a couple of fun essentials, like an umbrella.  Then it was a quick walk to Gamla Stan (Old Town) by following Drottninggatan and the crowd.

We had a nice time but the tourist press kind of got to us, so finding Happy Sthlm on Stora Nygatan was a real treat.  We bought some beautiful hand printed dish towels for lovely and light gifts there (shh, don't tell.) Also I checked out Olars Ulla, a unique twist on clothing that harkens to Sweden's past, and Gudrun Sjöden, who I blogged about here.
Mosebacketerrace - took 97 steps to get here from Slussen!
On to Södermalm, an easy subway ride away, where we started with a meal high on the rooftops by Mosebacketorg.  The view was incredible, the meal not so much, but I imagine it would be an amazing place to see a play next door at Södra Teater (Southern Theater) and then have a drink outside at Mosebacketerrass!

Well fortified we were off to check out the hipster spot "SoFo".  We walked there, but if you decide to jump on the metro again just get off at Medborgareplatsen and follow Götgatan to Skånegatan.  That will bring you right to the thick of things, including a nice square called Nytorget where real Swedes congregate on the astroturf lawn, drink coffe, catch up and watch their kids play.  I bought a great raincoat at the second hand store right there (corner of Skånegatan and Nytorgsgatan) and a cup of coffee and a magazine across the street.  We easily could have fufilled every need including food, drink and stores full of most everything around this square. 

Stank Stockholm

Retro Etc on Folkungagatan
Some of the places I especially liked included: Tambur, Swedish Hasbeens, Jumperfabriken, and even Stank Stockholm! There are sooo many cool shops and obviously many more than a harried mom could visit in a day.  If you can I suggest that you pick up the SoFo brochure, or visit Sofo-stockholm, and check out some of them out yourselves in person.

Speaking of checking something out in person tomorrow we're stopping by Svenskt Tenn!  I can't wait to go to this interior design store at Strandvägen 5.  Started by Estrid Ericson in 1924 with the critical addition of Josef Frank ten years later Svenskt Tenn embodies much of Swedish designs principles to this day.  

So much of what you see in Swedish interior design magazines layouts today include their textiles with bold designs; wallpapers that bring nature inside; and other lamps, vases, lamp shades, and furniture abound.  I can't wait to get inspired there, I'll just have to promise my husband to leave my credit cards at home. ;)  Or maybe just leave with one little tray or pillow.
Check out more about the store on Apartment Therapy here.  Or read more about its background on my blog post from a while ago:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vasa Museum

We're here in Stockholm, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! We are blessed to have been able to arrange a house swap with friends - a great way to save money and get a feel for the culture.
Luckily for us our hosts have one of the cutest and most well - organized homes I've ever seen, and it's located a short walk from the metro or "tunnelbana".  That's where we'll be heading tomorrow when we go on our first excursion to the Vasa Museum.
The Vasa is a warship that sunk in 1628 in the Stockholm harbor much to the dismay of Swedish King Gustaf II Adolf and of course the sailors, many of whom couldn't swim.  I've read a great children's book on this event to my children (told from the point of view of a pig) but they've never seen the ship.  It was rescued from the sludge in the 1960's well preserved after hundreds of years in the muck and now it sits in its own museum on Djurgården - one of the many islands that form Stockholm.
Yeah so let's hope that the weather here improves, it's pouring right now, as we head off tomorrow for Slussen and then the boat to Djurgården for a great day "touristing" in Stockholm.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

öppna landskap (open fields)

On a drive through the beautiful landscape, my son took this scenic film through the car window.  It gives you a good sense of how open and natural the view is in Skåne.  Enjoy!  Personally I will definately look at this video again in the winter months to come. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Princess Victoria

July 14th was Princess Victoria of Sweden's 38th birthday and she was celebrated with much modern-day pomp.  My parents cajouled me into watching the concert on TV and this is who we saw perform - Carola, Medina, Ola Salo, Mariette, Sven-Bertil Taube, Kristin Amparo and John Lundvik.  It was a strange mix of old, new, big pajamas, flowing dresses, turbans, pop, rock, old-timey music and rap.  The songs my parents didn't like were my favorite and vice versa.
Estelle, 3, with mom Princess Victoria and dad, Daniel
Seated in the front row were the royal family from Princess Madeleine (new mother), her husband Chris,  Prince Carl Philip and his new wife Sofia, Queen Silva and King Carl-Gustaf, Princess Victoria and her husband Daniel and someone else.  The thing with having a royal birthday apparently is that you are not really allowed to have fun but you have to pretend to be by smiling insipidly at everything.
You also have to wear a traditional Swedish dress which includes a fun hair handkerchief (see above) so that new Dolce Gabbana that you've been dying to wear has to go to the back of the closet.  But to me the funniest thing was this --

Hunger Game announcer played by Stanley Tucci

and the announcer at the 38 year old's concert in Öland, Mark Levengood

See what I mean?  He did a good job but the similarity was too apparent not to be noted.

And for those of who are interested in visiting Sweden check out this great link for some fun and different digs .  We are staying at Chez Mamma but not everybody can be so lucky. :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Astrid Lindgren's Värld (world)

Looking for something fun to do on your Scandinavian vacation?  Head to Astrid Lindgren's Värld (world) also known as ALV in Småland.  I haven't been to the place on the island of Gotland that is also a Pippi place, but I can highly recommend the "real one" in Vimmerby.  
Stadshotellet in Vimmerby, Sweden
This is where Astrid Lindgren grew up and you can see how this quaint village greatly influenced her work as a children's book writer and her attitudes about childhood.  There are plays throughout the park, like this one from Emil's world (Emil in the Soup Tureen).

Lots to do at ALV!

This play at the castle was based on Ronja Rövardotter (Ronja the Robber's Daughter) and had the boy riveted to his seat and used real horses!  The action was incredible.

 Below is a scene from one of Karlsson på Taket (Karlsson on the Roof) - a very funny story about a naughty boy who lives on the rooftops.  It had the kids in stitches.  You might think that the park was just plays, and although it is Sweden's largest outdoor theater, it has a lot more than that.  My daughter on the raft is an example of one of the fun play areas that the kids were tempted to try.  It's based on another of Astrid Lindgren's fine stories called "Rasmus and the Vagabond" as is the music that we heard in another part of the park.  

Then there is another place to really learn more about the amazing women that Astrid Lindgren was in the town of Vimmerby called "Astrid Lindgrens Näs", which is her fomer home.  This musuem focuses on her life, and her work including the time in which she lived.  It was an interesting place for both my the grown-ups and children to explore and they also had a nice cafe.  If you love Pippi Longstocking, Ronja Robber's Daughter, Mio, or The Children on Troublemaker's Street as I do, you'll enjoy getting an inside view on their creator's past.  
Here's the updated info for Näset as of 2015:
13 June to 6 September: open daily 10:00 to 18:00
Visit our gardens and the second chapter of the garden saga at 
Astrid Lindgren's Näs.
See our permanent Astrid Lindgren exhibition and summer theme exhibition “The whole world is burning!” Additionally, you can of course visit the museum shop and restaurant. Daily guided tours in Astrid Lindgren's childhood during the high season as an additional charge of 95 SEK per person and 50 SEK for children below 16 Yrs.
Adults 140 SEK
Children under 16 free