Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I know my posts on Sweden are coming in dribs and drabs, but it's that time of year. I've been to SO many imaginary parties lately. Anyway, in Stockholm we stayed in Sodermalm, which I'm reliably informed is a bit sort of bohemian and everyone we met up with lived there as well, which was handy. I really loved it and our hotel*, which was housed in an old brewery, backing onto Katarina Church. Our room overlooked the churchyard with a view of the church, which made it all lovely and Narnia like with old fashioned lanterns lit and a dusting of snow.

They also had this amazing breakfast included in the price, where you went down to a little kitchen area in the lobby and helped yourself to coffee, yogurt (why is Scandinavian yogurt so good?), muesli, boiled eggs, rye bread, kalles kaviar, cheese, basically all my favourite things.

The first night I arrived before my friend and decided to go for a little walk around the church at about 10pm. I saw a little hilly cobbled street that looked interesting so walked up it. There were these adorable old yellow houses, all with stars or candles in the windows of course. I couldn't see where the road went at the top because it was so dark. Eventually when I got there I saw a surprise expanse of water, the buildings on the other side all with their windows lit up and a boat coming in towards the shore. It was just one of those breathtaking moments you sometimes get when you explore somewhere you've never been before. I'd had no idea there was water there. Later someone told me that's THE view they always take visitors to see. Then I walked by the church and, as it seemed perfectly safe to do so, through the churchyard, not something I would do anywhere in London late at night. Each plot had its own little lantern lit - this was two days before Lucia and two weeks before Christmas. Every window I saw in Sweden had a light of some sort in it, be it an office or a boat or a home.

It was in Sodermalm I saw the Whyred booties. I shouldn't have tried them on, but oh they were so comfortable straight away but oh, they were so expensive and I was sure I'd seen some similar somewhere high street-y so I left them. (They did look really cute on me and I never say that.) I also adored Granit which can be succinctly described as Swedish Muji. I bought some fairy lights, which are completely superior to fairy lights you get in England. Oh, and a T shirt at Weekday just because.

On our way to Pelikan for dinner we passed the Grandpa shop, which looked really interesting, but was obviously closed. Over dinner, which was suitably candlelit, we started telling ghost stories and by the time we went back to the hotel and someone reminded me that we had read it was used as both a temporary prison and a hospital during a cholera outbreak at different times in history, the cute churchyard view became slightly less Narnia like. Then neither of us could walk down the long corridor alone, which suddenly looked exactly like the one in The Shining. Add to that the Swedish for room is rum, all the signs to this rum, that rum and redrum were terrifying. I won't even try to explain the little jail cell with a tiny stool and a bowl in it half way up the stairs, which we'd previously laughed at. We had to sleep with the TV on.

We never did make it back to Grandpa, but I see that they have the Whyred booties I love in the sale, but only in a size 36 - and Whyred only has them in a 41 so I'm a bit stumped and might have to get the Zara ones, which are only made in brown as far as I know.

*The photos on the hotel website are out of date - it's been redecorated since then and is much cuter.


charlotte said...

'swedish' and 'muji' in the same sentence?
are you trying to kill me?

If Jane said...

oh fun! and i like the low-lighting of yoru photos...;))

Juliet said...

It's great that you enjoyed your time up there!

juliet xxx

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

charlotte - I kid you not, it really exists.

If Jane - all my pictures are blurry because I had to have the shutter open for hours!

Juliet - I did, I loved it, thank you.

If Jane said...

oh! you were doing long exposure because of the low lighting?? if yes you would have needed a tripod..(stating the obvious...)
oh and btw...have you seen these booties?

Metropolitan Mum said...

So funny you stayed on Soder. Your blog is so much more Ostermalm.
We thought of moving back to Sweden, but the weather (i.e. the lack of daylight) is holding us back. I don't know how people cope there. I'd be clinically depressed in no time at all.

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

If Jane - I know, but I didn't have one! Only temporary surfaces and the belief in my steady hands (not evidenced)

MM - oh, I don't know what that means! I kind of remember Ostermalm, is that where all the fancy shops are?? Re: the darkness, my friends all say the same thing...

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

p.s. If jane - oh cute booties, but where from, where from? Need a crepe wedge stat