Stockholm (Lots of awesome Moderna Museet Pictures): 24th September
After a lazy start I ventured into the hippest part of Stockholm (Södermalm or SoFo) for breakfast - the classic coffee (which was excellent) and kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) at this little place just down from the most hipster shop I have ever seen (Grandpa - buy your child a tiny bowtie and yourself an overpriced pair of coloured headphones).
I had a wander around the shops, including Pet Shop Sounds which is an apparently quite famous music shop, where I bought the strangest combination of CDs I have ever got: White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground and a two-disc best of the Allman Brothers Band album. The guy at the counter looked at me funny.
After SoFo I ventured to the island of Skeppsholmen to the Moderna Museet - a massive collection of Modern Art which was made famous by Andy Warhol when he covered it in fluoro cow wallpaper. This stuff to be precise:
The gallery is organised so that you walk through it chronologically and as you walk to the start you pass these strange little lounge areas with cool stuff in them:
The main exhibition starts with some classic modernist stuff (listen to me, sounding like I know anything at all about art beyond LOOK AT THE PWETTY PICTURES)
(Jacques Villeglé: Pompidoue - rue de Crimée, 1969)
(Pablo Picasso: Bottle, Glass and Violin, 1912-1913).
before rapidly spiralling into some totally trippy stuff -
(Öyvind Fahlström: ESSO-LSD, 1967)
(Elaine Sturtevant: France d’après Rayasse, 1969)
(Andy Warhol: Electric Chair, 1967 + the arty-farty looking, totally accidental reflection of me).
(László Moholy-Nagy: Composition ASC, c. 1925)
A whole bunch of Soviet Propaganda Posters + dude with a hat.
(Aleksandr Rodtjenko: Spatial Construction No. 9 Circle in a Circle, 1920-1921). Possibly stolen by Lady GaGa for one of her wacky get-ups. Awesome bonus of funky shadow:
(Pablo Picasso: Woman with Blue Collar, 1941).
(Aleksandr Rodtjenko: Untitled and Undated. C’mon Alex, give us something to work with)
There was also this amazing short silent film called Metropolis by Fritz Lang (1927) which was like Brave New World meets Commedia dell’Arte meets Thunderbirds. It was really cool.
(Man Ray: Indestructible object, 1923/1965)
(René Magritte: The Red Model, 1935).
(Salvador Dalí: The Enigma of William Tell, date unknown ‘cause there was an annoying pretentious dude standing right in front of the plaque and he just wouldn’t move. I waited for like 3 minutes. Also how totally weird is this?)
(Toyen, Myth of Light, 1946)
(Max Ernst, The Imaginary Summer, 1927)
(Barnett Newman: Tertia, 1964)
In all of the galleries there were these little areas with books and magazines and journals about the type of art on display and lots of comfy chairs to sit on.
Next was photography, starting with a picture of Mr Dalí himself:
(Irving Penn: Salvador Dalí, 1947)
(Irving Penn: Italian Still Life, 1981/1992)
(Irving Penn: Mouth (for l’Oréal), 1986/1992)
(Annica Karlsson Rixon: truckers (red), 1994-1999).
(Maria Hedlund: Untitled, 1998-2000)
(Miriam Bäckstrom: Mirrors, 2009)
Also ‘cause it was a mirror, I had to do the usual thing of a picture of me in the artwork. I mean it is tumblr after all.
(Sidebar: what the hell is my hair even doing here?)
(Cecilia Edefalk: Self-portrait, 1993/2011)
There was of course loads more stuff than this, these were just my favourites. I spent about 3 hours in this gallery. When I came out I had a wander around Skeppsholmen, past the weird sculpture things:
And down to the waterfront:
Where I got a good view over to Djurgården:
Then it was back to the hostel to get ready for my train-trip to Copenhagen in the morning!
Stockholm: 22nd-23rd September
The flight to Stockholm was entirely uneventful and the express train from Arlanda to Stockholm Central is so easy I could have laughed out loud. In fact I did. Especially when I discovered the free wifi on the train.
To add to how easy it was, my hostel was just five minutes walk from the station.
The hostel was honestly the most hipster place I have ever stayed in. I forgot to get a picture, but the reception area had random old-fashioned typewriters and packing cases perched artfully on every surface. Instead of room numbers, each room was named after an island in the Stockholm archipelago (I was in Djurgården).
After dumping my bag, I went for a little explore around my little area (around Vasagaten) which was mostly shopping, but also a few little parks.
After getting settled into my room I went and had a lovely meal at El Amir (including a glass of wine that cost more than my last entire dinner) just down the road.
The next morning I started the day with a very disappointing breakfast at what I later discovered to be Sweden’s version of Starbucks (bleh) before jumping on the tunnelbana to Gamla Stan - the old town. Bizarrely enough while on my tunnelbana journey and in Gamla Stan I came across no less than three buskers doing Bob Dylan songs.
Gamla Stan is a little island covered in winding cobbled streets with some of the narrowest alleyways I’ve ever seen.
My first stop was at the Royal Palace - complete with guards - which sweeps around majestically in a semicircle:
I wandered past the palace and down to the waterfront, which is absolutely beautiful. Last time I was here it was all snowy and frozen, which was nice too, but the sea and the sky were so blue and the sun was belting down.
After the waterfront I popped back up into Gamla Stan for more of a wander, coming across George and the Dragon in a sweet little square:
And a beautiful church hidden in the alleyways:
After much confused map-consulting, I finally found Stortorget, a famous square which was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520 when 90 people were executed by a Danish king. It’s also very pretty.
I stopped here and had the best mochaccino of my life. It had a dollop of cream in it. It was at a little cafe on the yellow side of the join between the red and yellow buildings, just in case anyone should ever go there. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called.
After coffee I had an explore up and down Västerlangatan, the main shopping street of Gamla Stan, including a brief stop in a little record shop, which was cut short by the very creepy proprietor breathing down my neck. Do I look like the sort of person to steal things? Do I? Next was lunch at Café Art, an awesome little vault café down a precarious flight of steps. Being underground and surrounded by so much stone helps you to forget the heaving masses of tourists outside.
Then I found a great little bookshop which sells Swedish books in English, so I got the one with the preface by Margaret Atwood (I figured she’d know what was good) - Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg (I’m nearly finished and it’s amazing. It reminds me of Nabokov c. Lolita a little).
After that I headed home down Drottninggatan which runs through the little island which has parliament on it:
stopping at several dvd shops in a fruitless attempt to find Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on dvd. Turns out the Scandinavian release doesn’t have english subtitles at all which I guess is fair enough. (Also knowing that the Swedish title bears no resemblance to the english one would have helped. It’s ‘Män Som Hatar Kvinnor’ or ‘Men Who Hate Women’ in case you were wondering).