I feel like I’m getting worse and worse at naming these posts.
Today, I flew from Lulea to Stockholm where I’ll be for a couple days. Since I got in a bit early, I had to find a way to kill time. Somehow, I managed to walk by Google Stockholm without seeing it. There was a 7-11 across the street from my hostel, so I went there to kill time. Today’s Fat Tuesday, and a friend of mine said that Swedes celebrate by eating a cake called Semla. 7-11 was selling some, so I bought one to eat while waiting. It looked very similar to the cream pastries I got my last few days in Finland except instead of jam there’s something else inside.
The hostel I’m staying at is Generator Hostel in Stockholm. It looks just like the pictures from the website, so I’m pretty impressed. It’s close to the central station, although a bit far from the interesting side of Stockholm. That’s fine though for me since I don’t mind walking too much.
I didn’t have much of a concrete plan today, so I looked up a few quick things and mapped out things close by to see. The first place I went today was the Kulturhuset which is a big culture building. It’s a bit like a museum, but not quite since the building isn’t only exhibits. From the top floor, you have a great view of the city below although it’s a bit marred by all the construction currently going on. The first floor was just ticket sales. The second floor had a library that looked pretty cute although I didn’t really go in. There were also two exhibits right outside the library. The one that caught my interest was one about “Our Adventures in South Korea”. I thought it was neat that they were sharing other cultures in such a space.
I skipped the third floor at first because I couldn’t read Swedish so I had no idea what anything said. On the fourth floor, I found out the thing I skipped was a free entry activity, so I decided I would go back to it after seeing the rest of the building. The fourth floor had an exhibition space because its where the National Museum of Design is located. Scandinavia is apparently very well known for their design work. I mean, I was told Helsinki was the design capital of the world, so it’s not a surprise that Scandinavian design is important. The current exhibition they had up was actually of a Finnish designer from Helsinki named Aarnio Eero. While I didn’t know who that was, I had definitely seen his designs (or at least knock offs of his designs) in places before. He’s apparently the designer of the bubble chair among other types of household goods.
The exhibit was actually really good. I don’t know much about design, but I enjoyed the way it was laid out and the exhibition pieces were interesting. The only disappointment was that part of the exhibit was supposed to be interactive, but I think they had turned off that portion of the exhibit today because the pieces that looked like they were supposed to be moving were not moving at all. Still, it was overall a good exhibit and definitely one I would recommend seeing.
The fifth floor was just a cafe, so I made my way back to the third floor. What I skipped was a neon painting activity. I actually only knew it was painting when I walked into the area, not that it was neon. The colors of the paints were so bright that I kinda guessed it was neon though. I didn’t know what to do since I don’t understand Swedish, so I followed the example of the family in front of me and no one stopped me so I guess it was okay? Seemed like mostly kids were painting, but hey, I’m a kid at heart so I think that counts.
While painting, I looked up and suddenly realized what we were supposed to do with our paintings after we finished. See, what the museum provided was some sort of cloth (the colors were either black or white) and then three colored paints. They also gave each person a blue mixer plate, a paint brush, and a cork. I had never used a cork before for painting, but it was actually really fun to paint with. Still, I was confused about what to do after finishing. Do we just take it with us? Then, I looked up and saw into a room with a bunch of these cloths hanging on clothes lines. The room was lit in such a way that all the cloths were glowing because it was glow in the dark neon paint. It was then I truly regretted my choice of color (both paints and cloth). Nonetheless, I think the finished product turned out nicely. Painting was a good break from the continuous photography and walking sprees I’ve been having.
I walked to a nearby church after, but it was closed. I then wandered around a bit, trying to find my way to Gamla Stan, or old town, without using my GPS (mostly because I didn’t have wifi). I managed to stumble my way there because I knew the general direction. I’m not really sure how, but I just kept walking until I saw another church and walked towards it. This one was Riddarholmen Church, and it was also, unfortunately, closed. My luck and churches today did not coincide. From there, I walked to the water that was nearby. Stockholm is really beautiful. It’s like a mish mash of Helsinki, Italy, and Japan all in one. Italy because Gamla Stan really reminded me of my time in Cortona and Helsinki and Japan because the market streets lined with shops seemed similar. My only major gripe with Stockholm is the sheer number of people who smoke in the city. I think people smoke a lot in general, it just seemed like I could smell it more in Stockholm for some reason.
After Riddarholmen Church, it was nearing the time that I wanted to visit the Nobel Museum. The Nobel Museum houses information about Nobel Prize Laureates as well as going into depth about the history of the Nobel Prize. On Tuesday evenings after 5PM, the museum lets people in for free which was my main reason for going (besides the fact that I like hearing about cool scientists). They had a tour around 5:15PM in English, so I followed that one and learned about behind the history of the Nobel Prize and how the winners are selected. The museum actually has objects from each Nobel Prize winner on display (only a select portion of the items because they have no space) as well as small movies about the Nobel Prize winners themselves. The museum was quite small, so it was nice to hear that they would be moving to a much bigger building within the next few years. It’s a shame that they can’t exhibit everything right now, but the museum will only get better in the future.
Finally, it was time for me to eat. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted, so I ended up going to a vegetarian restaurant called Hermitage. They have a dinner buffet (buffets seem popular here, but mostly around lunch) that includes salad, soup, some sort of “stew” (it seemed more like a curry to be honest), and an assorted mix of other dishes. These include things like samosas, falafel balls, and rice. It was pretty good and the price (130 SEK), was decent for the amount of food you got and the relative cost ofother food choices in the area.
Planning out tomorrow is going to be a pain because I realized just how many things I marked down as stuff I want to do. I think I’m going to have to prioritize certain things that I really want to see which will be difficult. Overall, I really enjoyed my time today and got to experience some new things.
As a last comment, I realized that spending a week in Finland, especailly in Lapland Finland, has somehow increased my cold tolerance because walking around Stockholm today actually didn’t feel too bad. I will continue to track this trend.