Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SWEDEN: Stockholm street life

By the water near our apartmentToday is our last day in Stockholm, and once our primal morning need for coffee was satisfied we were content to fill in a few gaps in the neighbourhoods we’ve explored  over the last three days.

Munson's adoring fans

The vibe on the streets was less relaxed this Monday morning, even our fellow metro travellers were incredibly restless, moving up and down the carriage to the consternation of Munson who was trying to keep his head down as much as possible.

6kg lollipop Munhilda, flaxen-haired Viking bitch
foxy lady beggingHappy Color wool shop

In a corner of Gamla Stan I found the Happy Color wool store whose brightly coloured wares beckoned me in and grab some odd skeins for future knitting projects. Finally done with that area we crossed one last bridge to the island of Södermalm in search of the most highly-rated coffee joint on my Beanhunter phone app.
Looking west towards Mariatorget on HornsgatanOur route took us down the Hornsgatan street to Mariatorget square which is home to one of the two hotels I stayed at last time, the rather funky Rival. Now I have a much better appreciation of central Stockholm’s layout so it doesn’t seem quite as suburban as it did on my first visit. If I’m likely to return to a city, it’s much better to cross and re-cross the same streets for a few days to really bed it down in my head.  When I read a book sited in a particular city I’ve visited I really enjoy re-embedding myself in that streetscape.
Munson in Mariatorget fountain depicting Thor slaying the sea sepent Jörmungandr
Mariatorget fountain- Tors fiske (Thor fishing)  Munson meets playful beagle

By far the commonest dog breed we’ve encountered on Swedish streets is the beagle. When asked about Munson, I can generally pick up the word ras i.e. race/breed and then when I start talking, people are generally cued by my accent and switch to English.
Johan & Nyström Johan & Nyström

A few blocks south of Mariatorget we found Johan & Nyström coffee roasters. I went in first to see if they had sandwiches or other food, but when I didn’t I left with the intention of getting food at the last cafe (Ka’s) that we passed and then returning for coffee at J&N.
waiting for coffee @ Johan & Nyström  Joel Kinnaman & Munson
As we passed the coffee I thought I recognised one of the people out on the street: Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman, looking considerably better scrubbed up than he does playing an ex- meth-addicted homicide detective in The Killing, based on the Danish crime series Forbrydelsen. I missed the original when it was shown in Australia but I’ve been hooked on this very finely acted version set in Seattle. It’s a test of my memory of Seattle streets and landscapes when I watch this show as a lot of it is actually shot in Vancouver, British Columbia so I have to trust my gut sometimes when trying to place a particular neighbourhood.

While I usually nod, smile and move on when I see a celebrity in the streets, I thought I’d say hello this time. I introduced myself, said I was a fan of his work in The Killing and that I’d lived in Seattle for years … and hence young fluffy-bum the malamute at my side. He was very friendly and appreciative – a big hearty handshake – and happy to have his photo taken as above. He’s better known in Sweden but that may change next year as he’s been cast as the lead in the new remake of Robocop along side Gary Oldman.

Leaving him to his conversation again, I rejoined Gustav outside the nearby Ka’s Cafe where we had some hearty salads at a pavement table. A young girl passerby blinked at Munson sitting patiently but dominating the street and named him Fenrir, the great wolf from Norse mythology. In Old Norse that was Hróðvitnir or  "fame-wolf". Perfect.
Munson's last ride home on the T-bana


  1. Nice blog! I like it!
    Bondi is so cute!

  2. I'll admit it. I was suckered in by the photo of Kinna and the Mal. However!!!! I have to say, your blog is ridiculously full of win. The photos, the experiences, the journey. It's an amazing, amazing thing you've chronicled here, and I want to say, thank you *so* very much for sharing!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you very much for that - it's very flattering!