Wednesday 10 June 2015

Sodermalm in Stockholm

Sodermalm is the district where we stayed and this was our hotel: Rival. We had a very comfortable stay there, and were pleased to find out that it's owned by Benny Anderson of ABBA.

A gorgeous little park was the first thing that greeted us as we walked out of the hotel

with a huge fountain and statue in the middle


enormous for the size of the park.

During both Friday evenings of our stay this small tent would be set up in the park. We could not figure out what was going on - some form of story-telling, we thought. I asked two Swedish women what it was but they were as bemused as we were.


Two café/bars next to the hotel became our base for pre-dinner drinks every evening (this by the way, was taken at 11:30 at night, and it was still not completely dark)

Swedenborgsgatan was nearby, a street full of bars and restaurants, so very convenient.

I liked this gate that was nearby

and this sculpture of mother and child by Karl Hulstrom

Sodermalm is on one of Stockholm's larger islands - it was traditionally a working class district, but in recent years has developed more of a 'bohemian chic' character and has an abundance of restaurants, cafes and designer shops.
Sodermalm is best known for two reasons. The first one is because this is where Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy is set. Mikael Blomvist lives here; this is where Lisbet Salander grew up; Blomvist's hangout is here; the Millenium office is here;
Lisbeth buys a 350 square meter 21-room apartment on the top floor of a building like this. She only furnishes a few rooms and lives here in secret with the name V.Kulla on the door (Villa Villekulla is the name of Pipppi Longstockings house).

Lisbeth Salander often shops from a 7-Eleven shop like this one after buying her new apartment. On Monday, 10 January, she buys shampoo, toothpaste, soap, yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, bread, brozen cinnamon rolls, coffee, Lipton teabags, pickles, apples, a large package of Billy's Pan Pizza and a carton of Marlboro Lights;

And so on... but I digress and I'm aware this is of interest only to Millenium Trilogy fans.

Most days would start with a walk to Slussen where we would take the metro or, more often, the ferry


This caught our attention one morning - it's very near the metro station

as is this bar.

Coming back in the late afternoons we would take a different route and walk up the Hornsgatan Bump, which is the old course of the Hornsgatan (one of the wide avenues of the district), which remained when the street was bulldozed and widened at the start of the 20th century.

Hornsgatan was one of the main axes in the new street system that was laid out over Sodermalm in the 1640s. In the great fire of 1759 St Mary's Church and all the wooden houses on this hill burnt down. Many of the stone houses survived the fire so well that they could be wholly or partly rebuilt.
Dararnas Bat, Sture Collin

The second reason why Sodermalm is known is because of SoFo, an area on the Eastern part of the district which is full of stylish clothing and design boutiques, and atmospheric cafes and bars. We walked along Folkungatan to get there.  Lots of people in this little park which was on our way

where we also came across Restfest - a campaign to get supermarkets to donate rather than throw away left over food

the food was cooked on the spot - lasagne on the day we visited - and people were invited to partake without charge - a great initiative

a little while later we came across this sculpture


as well as this one on the corner of Katarina Bangat and Brannerigatan

a tribute to Nacka Skoglund, the football star. It's called 'See You at the Goal' and was made of stainless steel by the artist Olle Adrin.

Ducks galore in this bathroom shop


The Greta Garbo square on Katarina Bangata

Garbo was born in this neighbourhood in 1905.

This is by Thomas Qvarsebo

One of the many tattoo parlours in the city - the Swedes love tattoos

one of the many cafes in the area

We then reached Notroget, (the grass is not real grass, but artificial) the focal point of the area which is surrounded by cafes, restaurants

and wooden buildings.


The Urban Deli, a new deli-restaurant-café-shop, offering a New York-style take on the traditional Swedish locale - very popular





We walked north and reached Katarinavagen, on top of the cliff

which afforded great views of the water 


and of the small island of Kastellholmen and the citadel

below, Fotografiska, the excellent Museum of Photography

So down the steps we went.

After an extremely enjoyable and thought-provoking two hours at the museum we decided to walk back to our hotel taking the route along the water, which involved going up a hill

under the complex network of roads and bridges of Slussen


Once we left Slussen behind it was a very pleasant walk as is always the case in this magnificent, beautiful city which is so open and so green


The Stadhuset, the City Hall could be seen across the water. Designed by Ragmar Ostberg in 1923, it has a very distinctive 106-metre turret and this is where the Nobel Prize banquet is held every other December.

Most of the moored boats in this area are hotels

and soon we reached known landmarks and our hotel.



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