Hello, it's me...
It's been so long, I've been so BUSY, but it is a wonderful thing and being a working interior stylist is a dream come true, I am very happy with the direction my life has taken. I did manage to step away last week to take a trip to Stockholm with my sister, a place I've always been called to. Having lived in Europe for 4 years I've traveled back many times, but I've never managed to visit Sweden so this was another dream come true. We found a direct round-trip flight out of Oakland for a song, so despite the fact that it is still winter and freezing cold, as you might imagine, we braved the icy paved streets and navigated the quays and made a real week of it in this beautiful Scandinavian city.
Stockholm is made up of many islands, connected by bridges, accessible by train, boat and bus. It is so very old and very modern at the same time. The beauty of this city is found in it's rich history, the culture, the centuries old architecture woven with minimalist design. I loved it, I loved the layers of it. In spite of the weather we walked a great deal. I feel so much more connected to an unfamiliar place when I get outside. I loved to stare up at the apartment buildings in the Sodermalm where we stayed, stunning fixtures and white walls peeking back at me. The cable strung street lights looked like they had to be designed by Louis Poulsen, they would sway in the wind, sometimes snow would flutter and the city seemed quiet. We took an icy, foggy winter boat tour with the observation deck all to ourselves. Seeing Stockholm this way might be more limiting, but I'm so grateful that we made the trip.
My sister really wanted to see the more historical sites of the city, the Old Town district, the palace and the Vasa Musseet, an exhibition of a 16th century warship that sunk on it's maiden voyage. We ate at a viking restaurant (which was actually quite fun) and gathered up souvenirs from the many gift shops in narrow, cobbled streets of the Gamla Stan. On days where I set the agenda we took in ArkDes, Moderna Museet and the Fotografiska, my favorite museum, which housed an amazing collection of photography, curated into a series of sometimes haunting exhibits. The building, pictured in the wide angle photo above, is in an old factory building at the edge of the Sodermalm and it's top floor has a cafe with a panoramic view of the city. We explored the shops in our neighborhood, we loved Grandpa for housewares, the epic record store Pet Sounds, L:A Bruket for apothecary and candles, the art store Material. I made friends with the owner of Colours of Africa and she gave me some Mali fabric for my collection. We dined a few times at Urban Cafe, tried more traditional fare at Meatballs For The People, on a lazy night grabbing take out sushi from the good place, and made sure to enjoy our daily fika, the Swedish tradition of afternoon coffee and conversation, usually with a cardamon bun. We explored the museums and window shopped the posh Ostermalm, ventured to the city center for more touristy excursions, freezing our backsides off at Icebar, spending hours pouring over the home section of Ahlens, their big department store, spending my whole allowance at Illums Bolighus, tooling around the world's largest H+M and elbowing our way into Vete-Katten, Stockholm's most famous bakery (like Katz deli for fika). At the end of each day we would retreat to our beautiful, quiet flat. On our last day we treated ourselves to massages at the spa in the Clarion Hotel, soaking in a warm pool outside, it snowed on our heads as we stared at the tall buildings.
I arrived home with an extra piece of luggage, stuffed to the gills with treasure and a mean case of jet lag, missing my boys, but itching to travel again as soon as time will allow. I would love to go back to Stockholm to see it come alive during the summertime, but I am so glad that I experienced the magic of winter in Scandinavia.