Slowly but surely I’m making my way through the list of museums in Stockholm that have free admission. And so the time has come to the one most out of the beaten path, The museum of Natural history.
I must have visited once at least with school, that is highly probable, but I have no memories of it. Maybe I was sick that day? It’s not exactly the kind of thing I would go for, or so I thought, so it has remained unvisited.
However, now that I know of it I might just go again because I’m enthralled by the collections of minerals. I came in through the big entrance and sort of made my way through the exhibitions. A lot of taxidermy going on and a few skeletons. Some very pedagogical displays of how neanderthals lived, about life in the oceans and a space devoted to the effects of environmental degradation. I saw school classes going through them, taking notes and their professors pointing out important things.
Meanwhile I sort of wandered off unto the far most corner and there they were; the collections of minerals. Some of them come from the time of the museums foundation and were displayed in old-fashioned cabinets. Many others had been placed in a more modern contraption that you could pull out so see the chunks of rock and get a little info about from where they came and so forth. And it was one of the most amazing things, I wanted to smash and grab many of them; they would make excellent jewelry. The combinations of colours that mother nature has produced, and the shapes and textures is truly amazing. The collection is vast and I looked at all of them I think. Some are even fluorescent! None of them could easily be photographed as they are encased in glass. Still tried though.
I get inspiration from the most unusual places, there is no getting around that. These pieces were like sculptures of modern art. In fact I think I’ve seen something like it that was art. Furthermore the combination of colors and textures makes me think in terms of clothes. Most things do in the end to be honest, although I haven’t figured out how I will go from this to something I can dress in.
A straighter line can be drawn between this collection of shells on a pale jade green background. I want it as a print by the yard that I can make into a summer dress.
All in all I had an excellent time at the museum, and the shop is good too. Maybe not the first stop if you’re a tourist and have no interest in this sort of thing but If you are in the neighbourhood maybe? (You should visit the botanical gardens first, they are on the other side of the road).
I don’t understand why people talk so much about cinnamon buns, cardamom has so much more to offer. This is not a best of list, mainly because I haven’t tried them all. A worthy goal it would be but lactose and I don’t agree so it’s a treat for sometimes when I can deal with the consequences. In no particular order, here are seven suggestions for where to cardamom buns in Stockholm. You people need more Swedish “fika” in your lives.
1. In the home of someone who bakes, and does it well. No surprise that homebaked goods are some of the best. I admire people who make the effort.
2. Fabrique. This chain has places scattered all over Stockholm(and one in London I think) and it’s very popular. Rather pricey but good coffee and buns and their places are very Instagram-able. Worth a visit.
3. Snickarbacken 7. I’ve blogged about this café before (here) and there is nothing I can add to that, except great cardamom buns. I don’t think they make them on site but rather by from a nice bakery but I don’t care.
4. Bröd och Salt. This is my “go to” as almost all their pastries are lactose free. I can indulge without repercussions. They have a few places around town, the one at Sveavägen is nicest for a “sit down fika”.
5. Saturnus. Another place I have mentioned before (here). Their cardamom buns are expensive but also big enough for two to share. Legendary.
6. Valhalla bageriet. This is where I think many cafés actually order theirs from. It’s a hole in the wall on Valhallavägen, so of the beaten path, but if you are in the neighborhood do swing by and also make sure to stock up on their sourdough bread.
7. Albert’s & Jacks. At the corner of Humlegården this place is found, great for lunch but also”fika”. I rate them very highly.
I visited the royal armoury the other day. Going to a museum in the middle of summer might seem counter intuitive, especially since I actually live in this city and don’t have to scurry through the sights in a weekend. Nevertheless during the middle of the day when the temperature reaches maximum, and the sun is doing it’s worst damage, it’s a good idea to sneak into a place that’s cool and keeps your skin safe from burn better than any SPF. The royal armoury is in the dungeons underneath the royal castle so a very good refuge in those regards, and great stuff to keep you entertained.
I have been to this place a few times in my life as old clothes, their colours, cuts and elaborate detailing is a contained source of inspiration. The clothes on show here are from the royal families through centuries. Not all of it obviously but a lot and some of the best stuff; ermine coats, dresses with lace to die for and coronation outfits that are a joy to behold. I feel now that I need some velvet breeches, I really do. I am no royalist, quite the opposite, but this is our heritage and I’m glad it’s on display.
And the carts and carriages? The historical equivalents of white extra long limousines are lined up and frankly? Rappers still have some way to go to impress me with their SUV:s having seen these. Why isn’t Kanye rolling up in a gold chaise with dragons? He is missing a great opportunity here. Having horses might be a bit of an obstacle I guess but since we have hit peak oil, fuel prices while only go up anyways, at some point horses will seem like a bargain. And given how badly public transport is in Stockholm I might need to get some myself. But I digress.
Given that there is free admission, loads to see, a very nice shop( don’t underestimate the importance of a good museum shop; they are a great place to buy gifts because you can get stuff that isn’t necessarily available anywhere else) and located in the middle of the city, there is no excuse not to go. They don’t have a café but plenty of places around so you will not die from lack of coffee.
With in the span of about a week I went to the Nautical museum and the Museum of Ethnography. The are neighbors, I should have just done them in one fell swop. Although I didn’t have the time on my first visit and I did get some exercise walking there. There are a few more museums in the vicinity although not part of the “free admission”-decree so I won’t bother ( the museum of Sports anyone? If it’s not free I’m not touching that place with a stick).
This is a classic excursion for schools, I remember having been more then once during my school years and a few times after that too! They’ve had some really cool exhibitions like one about Voodoo that I much enjoyed. They also have some wonderful objects like fabrics and bowls in their collections and nowadays they are put on displace like a cabinet of curiosities. I can ogle for hours, almost pressing my face to the glass to get a good look at them, and they are impossible to photograph well with a phone.
As I understand it, this is now part of the permanent exhibit. Another thing that has been there for years is the Japanese tea pavilion. I think such a thing would make more sense at the museum of South-East Asian art but here it is. And lovely at that, placed in amongst the greenery creating a calm surrounding for it. I’ve menat for the longest time to visit and take part in the tea ceremonies that they host there but not yet. One day I’ll manage (however I have been a part of a tea ceremony but that was at the British museum).
And there are bits and bobs of other things, some Native American headdresses, a kimono or two, that sort of thing. It feels like the museum is in transition; from an old narrative of “we just view things” to a greater realisation that what you see depends on who you are. It must be a tricky path bringing collection like these into the future. I’m not expressing novel ideas here, I guess a fair amount of literature in the discipline of sociology is devoted to it.
The current temporary exhibit is one about values and norms, focusing on the LGBT community. It is directed, I would imagine, to school children and as that it is probably very good. A reasonable and pedagogical introduction to a topic that can be difficult to talk about. I had a look at it and then went back to drooling over luxurious fabrics.
The restaurant and the shop are both good.
And that’s that. I can tick it of my little list and move on. Not all museum visits are life-changing and not all blog-post are good. Done is better then perfect.
In my effort to visit all the museums in Stockholm that have free admission I took a detour one day and went to the Maritime Museum. I really have no business in that part of town and as someone who’s interests in the maritime is limited to sailor caps, I’m not sure what I was doing there.
I have been once before actually; they’ve actually had free admission for a long time (their own initiative) and there was an exhibit about “Sailors and sex” that I went to. A very good exhibit actually about how human relations are onboard a ship, about prostitution in ports and also what happens when the sexuality isn’t of the norm i.e. female sailors or the belonging to the LGBTQ community. I remember a nice arty movie by British director Peter Greenaway. No such luck this time.
The temporary exhibit is about how people like to get portraits of their ships. #shipfie if you like. It did nothing for me. Taking a tour of the permanent collection is fun though; they used to make actual models of all the ships in the navy, some of them quite big and there is the story(and a part of a replica) of an 18th century yacht that belonged to the king.
In short; the best parts are the bistro and the shop in my opinion.
As much as I consider myself well acquainted with my hometown, running around at galleries and what not, there are gems still to be discovered. One of them was the Nobel library.
I had come across it before; as I often read outside mainstream tastes I do the oddest searches and every now and again something that I want to read is only available at a few places in Sweden, and the only place in Stockholm being the Nobel library. In those cases I have often opted to buy the book(this happened a few times when I was working myself through that long(long) list of mine).
This time that wasn’t an option, the book in question is out of print and very few copies are available, so it was time to make a visit.
The Nobel library is found in Old town, just around the corner from the Nobel Museum(which isn’t all that interesting to be honest) and it’s also “the home” of the Swedish academy; the people who decide who gets the Nobel prize in literature. They have their meetings in the same building and the library was created primarily for their use. There is a clause in the agreement you sign to get a library card that if a member of the academy wants the book you have borrowed you must return it in advance.
They have a lot of books , not that you are allowed to browse (at least not if you are a mere mortal). There is an old fashioned process of filling in a card, handing it to the librarian and then they get it for you. Opening times are very limited(however they are open in the evening on Thursdays) but I plan to make use of them in future.
They do have the nicest reading room and a large selection of magazines that you are not allowed to take home; spending a little time there that isn’t a bad idea.
If nothing else it’s worth a little visit as this is one of the places where history and modern times sort of collide. You search on their computers for the info to fill in a paper card with your book request ; it’s archaic and very charming at the same time.
More info about the Nobel library can be found here.
Current mood: very desirous of starting the new year with a clean slate.
This is nothing new, happens every year. So I’m not on a book buying ban but the wish to read all the books in my TBR-pile is greater then my urge to buy books(all those reservations from the library are dropping in though so the stack keeps growing). I haven’t looked for clothes,will have to buy winter boots but otherwise I’m using what I have and it keeps falling apart. A very organic close cleansing.
Another area where I’m trying to use what I have is my perfumes. I’m not a collector; more of a perfume hunter. It is a source of inspiration and comfort but I’m very picky. November so far has been a month of using up all the samples that I’ve had, and a few have been given away.
So these are the ones that I have.
Not that many, again I’m not a collector, and I rarely buy or ask for the same perfume twice. Similar kind of perfumes absolutely but the only ones that I’ve had more then one bottle of is Un Jardin sur Le Nil by Hermès and L’ombre dans l’eau from Diptyque. The first one is the kind of scent that works really well for daytime, and especially in a work environment. It is also the closest thing to a signature scent that I’ve ever; a friend had tried it on one of those paper sticks (whatever they are called) and used it a a bookmark. When her boyfriend caught a whiff of it he asked “has Suss been here today?”. My mum bought a bottle for herself as she liked it but handed it over to me because “when I wear it I turn around looking for you”. I currently don’t use it as much, then I was a student and didn’t have that many perfumes, but I think it will come back in heavy rotation . This time of year I find the The knot from Bottega Veneta and Bullion from Byredo are my go to-scents. The knot for daytime, with it’s musky softness and orange blossom, and Bullion for evening; leather and heavy floral adds glamour . I might throw in a little Flagrant Délices from Terry De Ginzburg if I feel the need for something sweet (but it is more suitable in September and October for some reason).
I will not finish any of these bottles( maybe the Books from Commodity Goods) but I’m biding my time. I would love to have something book-related for 2017 but we’ll see what I end up with. A piece of advice that I got when I was younger was to always buy perfume when traveling; not the duty-free section but stuff that you can’t buy here. When Tom Ford released his line of scents they were not available here. My mum (again) travelled to Paris to buy it. She said that “seeing the Mona Lisa is on my bucket list” but admitted later that Black Orchid was what she really wanted. As I have no trips currently planned I will look around my hometown for something. And possibly online as many brands offer to send samples (if you pay for P&P) so that I can try before ordering.
The situation has gotten a lot better here, we have Tom Ford-counters in Stockholm now, and a few other places where shopping for perfume is a good idea.
Byredo; I’m on record not being the biggest Byredo buyer. I love Bullion but it’s the only one for their scents that I’ve ever wanted. I do love some of their candles. That said I wish I was a bigger fan because their shop is amazing, they have such nice staff and the packaging is brilliant. It is worth a visit even if they only carry their own brand.
Cow Perfumery; just across the street is Cow where you can buy Frederic Malle,Comme de garçons and a few others. Their brands have changed over the years, they are pretty niche but all good stuff, well curated and wonderful people behind the counter to assist.
Nordiska Kompaniet; One of Sweden’s biggest and oldest department stores, the equivalent of Harrod’s in London, obviously has a perfume department where hours can be spent. In addition to the big label counters(Tom Ford,Chanel,Diptyque) and shop-in-shops(Byredo,Hermès) they have several niche brands like Keiko Mecheri and Arquiste.
Eivy Flodin; I love a proper shop. This place is old school but they have a lot of classic stuff and a few smaller french labels but its a joy to shop there. I always get distracted by all their accessories though so end up leaving with earrings instead.