Monday&Minerals&Many ideas

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.

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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.

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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).

More information about the museum can be found here.

-Suss

 

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Clothes & Carriages

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.IMG_3475

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.IMG_3472

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.

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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.

Related:

The royal armoury

Monday & The Maritime museum

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.

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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.

Things mentioned in this post;

The Maritime Museum

-Suss

Words&wanderings

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When I decided to read more poetry last year I stumbled across Bashō and I haven’t looked back since. Of all the things I read his works was some of the ones I came back to over and over. I was happy to find some in A poem for every night of the year too but ultimately I needed to get more, and thus I bought The narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches.

What should be noted is that it’s mix of prose and poetry( i.e. haiku) and not only his own work but also that of others; people he met and people he admired. As he undertook his travels almost as a pilgrimage it ends up being the notes from both his inner journey and his reflections of his surrounding. “Delicacy of feeling” are the words used on the back and I agree. There is a tenderness there, and insights. A very good books to read on the commute or when traveling.

I must say that I took in the introduction and footnotes with joy as this is an era(the Heian-Era) that I’m interested in. And I always read the footnotes anyways, I’m just pedantic in that un-charming way. You don’t have to, it makes a lot of sense without it, the translator has done a very good job I believe.

-Suss

Life&London

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I’ve taken you to Venice, I’ve taken you to Paris; might I invite you to one of my favourite places in London too?

I shall not pretend that I’m not very comfortable in Mayfair or around Sloan Square. Which very much has to do with the fact that I actually not belong there; I’m a cat among the ermines and I enjoy it. As a Scandinavian (albeit one that doesn’t look it because short and a brunette) I pretend I own the place. In the east end it’s the same thing but opposite; I don’t belong because I’m not hip nor genuin enough. But I do love that part of London.

The flower market at Columbia Road is so wonderful. I also very much enjoy shopping for fabrics and Bollywood earrings in the Indian shops that I pass getting there. Dennis Sever’s house is one of my fave museums(except it isn’t a museum,it’s a living tableaux). Oh and the beigle bakery in Brick lane. Get the strudel; almost as good as in Vienna. And if If I want a bit of that east end vibe when I don’t have a chance to go ? The Gentle Author takes me there.

I actually saw this book at the Brick lane bookshop when I was in London in 2014 but didn’t buy it because it was a brick of a book(pun intended) and my bags were already full to the brim. But I had a look when I got home and found it online. It started as a blog so it’s divided into many small chapters about the people,places and past of Spitalfields in the East end. There are probably very strict geographical lines to adhere to, as a bloody Swedish tourist it’s all the East End to me and I can’t tell Spitalfields from Shoreditch. I think I might just be a tad proud of that in fact.

The point is that this book is a darling thing to read and it has all those kinds of sweet nostalgic stories that I love on paper but don’t know how to deal with in real life. Like the story about the pigeon fanciers. That’s lovely that is, that someone is still keeping postal pigeons that carry messages. I also think that they are nasty birds, all of them. The kind of thing that I love to read about, I might even throw in an “we have culture anymore. Carrier pigeons was a sign of civilization and now we have the Kardashians”. I don’t mean it at all.

But many of the things in this book I do love, and I do appreciate diversity in real life. It should be noted that because it’s so many small chapters,and about a variety of things it doesn’t have to be read from cover to cover, and it’s an easy read too or browse. But possibly hard to get. I would advice to read the book before going to London,not after. Or you know, make another trip. London is always a good idea.

Things mentioned in this post;

The Gentle Author

-Suss

Carbs&Chignons

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So the world is rejoicing that the French decided not to elect a right wing populist as president. Of course,always contrarian the french; electing a right wing leader is what everyone else is doing. So I guess the fascination with them will continue. The food,the style and the attitude. Paris, the city of lights, the undulating hills of Provence and the glamorous life in Nice; they are the object of our dreams and desires. How to get there without leaving the comfort of your own home?

Many a books have been written by the french, by people living in France and about the french themselves. And on a few occasions by the french about the french;  to explain to us mere mortals how they do it. I’ve read more then one of those books, and even when I open the book with the intention of not liking it and assume they are making fun of me, I still manage to find a few tips and tricks along the way.

Why french women don’t get fat supposedly got quite a buzz when it was published. I have the Swedish translation that I bought at a gift shop a few years back. And Giuliano is a bit full of herself, i.e. lives up to the myth of the french woman, but many of the recipes are good I have to admit. I don’t know how “valid” it still is. She advocates a life with carbs,and I agree, but many of the food fads continue to rage, get exchanged for new ones and obesity is still one of the biggest health problems in the world.  So maybe she sold a lot of books but her solutions probably mostly preached to the gospel. I don’t think she did intend to save the world however.

A book more recently published is How to be Parisian wherever you are-love style and bad habits written by a group of very chic french women. the kind that has an inherited Hermés bag, a cool piece of new Chanel and has perfected the art of messy hair. I would say that this book,also intended for the hapless non-french, doesn’t take itself to seriously. And it does involve some good recipes. If we are talking style ideals and role models I would say that this bunch isn’t all that bad. I’m obviously biased; I think french pharmacies are brilliant with their affordable skincare, love good food and have a had a penchant for striped tops since childhood. Also any excuse not to wash my hair to often,or brush it, will be used. They say it’s chic, I nod my head and wear my hair in a messy bun for the 19th day in a row. But it is a fun book to browse through. I liked it more then I thought I would.

One thing that the french has figured out is that older women aren’t a menace to society. Yes, they do love young women, the femme-infant has a place in the french heart, but there seems to be room for all women.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just thought I would mention these two books, that have in common that I gained more from them then I thought I would. The good thing about advice from a book about how to be french is that you can pick what you like and ignore the rest, which really is the best kind advice book. And I haven’t visited France since 2015 so aching to go back.

-Suss

 

Art&Amaretto

For all it’s grandeur it’s built to the human scale. While the tangle of streets,alleys and canals form a maze that can confuse even old-timers,the city is small enough to be comprehensible. You will continue to get lost,but in places that are familiar and welcoming.-p. 29 of No Vulgar Hotel

More cocktails I’m afraid. I had a trial monkey over and decided to make the most of it. And as the Venice Biennale has now begun it seemed like a good idea to make a cocktail named after that habitat on the marshes. But let’s be honest; for me Venice is always “top of mind”. It is one of the most magical places on earth. I’ve visited twice and would love to go back, but we’ll see when it happens. Until then there is plenty to read to take me back.

One of my all time favorite books,Jonathan Strange&Mr Norrell, partly takes place in Venice. In Proust’s epic suit A la recherche de temps perdu the narrator makes a visit. I recently read The passion by Jeanette Winterson which also is set partly there. And many many others. I’ve read more then one book purely because it takes place in that decaying city that has been described as a living museum. My tip for getting a genuin feel for the place is to get up early and move around, have breakfast at a cafe to view people who live and work there. Try to get away from the crowds a bit and visit the outskirts of the city, which given the small size of the plan isn’t that difficult.

A fun read, a bit out of the ordinary, that I picked up on one of my visits is No vulgar hotel by Judith Martin. She is a Venetophile and isn’t afraid to say so(nobody is; a love of Venice is a love that totally dares speak it’s name). With a a dark sense of humor Martin tells the story of Venice and how to make the most of your stay. Somewhere between “A Year in France” and “1066 and all that”, but you know, Venice, is how I would describe it. Byron makes an appearance, obviously.  Martin is American and writes from that perspective, just skim the fist chapter or so where she draws parallels between the US and The Venetian Republic. Or read them, rather interesting actually.

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But the where is the drink I promised? Ah. Most who have visited Italy are familiar with The Spritz; white wine, Aperol or Campari and soda. Very good stuff on a hot day. So called low ABV i.e. low alcohol but very refreshing. Served with olives or crips. This cocktail, the Ventian, comes from a cocktail book I have somewhere. Iused to make it often and feel it’s time to bring it back into my repertoire as Campari is always a good idea and Amaretto has a bad rep despite being a very nice thing to have on the bar cart.

Venetia-cocktail;yields 1 drink

4 cl dry gin

2 cl dry vermouth

1 cl Campari

1cl Amaretto

for serving;

chilled coupette or other cocktail glass

lemonzest

  1. Stir ingredients in an ice-filled mixer glass until chilled.
  2. Pour into the coupette and add the lemon zest.
  3. Enjoy responsibly.

This is a very nice drink with a mix of bitter and sweet. Very refreshing but also potent. On a hot day a spritz is a better option, and if you find yourself in the actual city you may not find this but then a Martin at Harry’S Bar is a nice substitute. For rainy nights when you wish you were somewhere else? This is just the thing.

-Suss