Stockholm Truths

25Aug10

Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I planned to visit Sweden there would inevitably be one of two reactions. It was either “Sweden is very, very expensive” or “I don’t know you, why are you telling me your travel plans? Get off my property.” 

So can you stay and play in the Swedish capital on a limited budget? I admire your direct line of questioning so have compiled a comprehensive list of kroner saving activities that Susie and I have indulged in over the last two weeks:-

Eat in: Dining out in Stockholm will leave your wallet weeping leathery tears of pain. However, supermarket groceries are fairly reasonable. More importantly, many Swedish products have amusing names. I feel duty bound to draw your attention to a popular chocolate bar named Plopp:- 

About a Gadabout sinks to new lows in attempt to raise cheap laugh.

 

Eat out: If you do get the urge to splurge on a dining experience may I be so bold as to suggest the Blue Caravan Cafe in Södermalm. Situated next to a stretch of crystal clear water this mobile marvel offers cheap eats with million kroner (about £86,000) views. Please be aware though that there are no lavatorial amenities. I asked the heavily moustachioed proprietor (Helen) where I could expunge my waste effluence and was told that “the woods are our toilet”. Oooooooooh the mucky pup!

Captioned arrows cannot disguise the disappointing lack of anecdotal incident in this photo.

 

Stadmuseum: Entry is free and interesting exhibitions are plentiful in their abundancyness. A whole room in dedicated to the Millennium Trilogy book series by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Shortly after completing the third and final book, Stieg Larsson died in mysterious circumstances. A conspiracy theory soon sprang up which suggested that he may have been a lesbian. This theory originated when I looked at his photo and thought he looked a bit like a lesbian. To date this controversial hypothesis has been confined to me and to Susie who pretended to be indifferent to my revelation. 

Stieg Larsson: Professional lady golfer?

 

After extensive research which centred on me looking at that photo for a bit longer I can reveal that he was probably NOT a lesbian although he might have been.

People perving watching: Despite spending the weeks leading up to Stockholm in Essex mingling with its peoples, I was still unprepared for the razor-cheekboned hotness of the Nordic natives. Just observing their healthy loveliness (not in a weird way) is something of a tonic but please don’t tell them I said so as it will only go straight to their heads. On the downside, although I’m a three-time ‘Britain’s Next Top Spectacles Wearing Model’ finalist, even I can feel like a misshapen misfit wandering among these Scando beauties.

Don't look at me I'm hideous! HIDEOUS!

 

Free outdoor film screenings: The Stockholm Summer Film Festival provides alfresco viewertainment on a grand scale. The first movie shown was called ‘Roskilde’ which sounded a bit ‘foreign’ so we double-checked that there would be subtitles before confirming our official attendance. However, as we kicked back with a couple of delicious bars of Plopp we realised that the subtitles were actually in Swedish as the film was Danish. Undeterred, we allowed the imagery to speak for itself for about 12 seconds before we gave up and headed home.

The next showing was ‘Hurt Locker’ which we were confident we would understand (but hey, can anybody really understand war, am I right?). Everything was going swimmingly as those mischievous Iraqis (apologies to my Iraqi readership) were given a dashed good dressing down by our chaps. Unfortunately, there was a power cut half way through and we were plunged into darkness. Without the ‘watching a film’ element, sitting in a chilly field at night seemed much less convivial so we gave up and headed home.

'Watch the stars under the stars' N.B if any outdoor film event uses this slogan without my permission, my legal team will unleash hell in the form of a quite strongly worded email.

 

The final screening was ‘Milk’ by Gus Van Sant. I had been suffering from a nasty flu bug (or slight cold as Susie incorrectly diagnosed it) but heroically went along anyway. This proved to be a mistake as I was unable to concentrate on Sean Penn’s patented fiercely intense performance due to my constant shivering and urge to be sick. After about an hour we gave up and headed home.

Putting to one side our inability to understand the film, power cut and near-death illness (it was NOT a slight cold thank you) all three events were deeply magical.

Changing of the Guard: At 12.50 every day, crowds gather outside the Royal Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard. This is not simply a case of a guard standing outside the palace with a big gun waiting for another guard to saunter up and say “hiya, it’s my turn with the gun so you can go if you like. I left half a pot noodle in the canteen fridge if you fancy it”. Oh no, it’s much more intricate and involves trumpets, flags, marching moustaches and shiny, shiny, shiny boots. It’s difficult for me to be more specific as every tourist in Stockholm had decided to turn up and stand directly in front of me for a laugh.

The Changing of the Guard: A deeply humbling and awe inspiring sight. Possibly.

 

Eventually, after a certain amount of professional tourist elbowing I did manage to see some serious guard-on-guard action.

I'm telling you Stefan, if I see you with that bitch Guard Peter one more time then we're finished! I'm worth more than this.

 

Open Air Theatre: One of my favourite nights so far was spent at the Park Teatern, a free outdoor theatre set in the middle of lush, city centre woodland. A moonlit backdrop with a treetop canopy was the perfect setting for an evening of quality music from a variety of bands and solo artists The event was arranged to raise awareness of environmental issues. Or it may have been global famine. Or possibly whale hunting. Actually, every word was in Swedish so I’m afraid my awareness remained very much unraised but I did enjoy the choons. Always happy to do my bit.

The hunt for the lead singer's contact lens enters its third grueling hour.

 

So there you have it, proof-if-proof-be-need-be-if-need-be-proof that it is possible to soak up the delights of Stockholm without using a money sponge. Having said that, it is very, very expensive here.

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3 Responses to “Stockholm Truths”

  1. 1 D H

    Are you sure Stieg Larsson isn’t the long lost 3rd Proclaimer?

  2. 2 D H

    or maybe a clean cut Frankie Boyle?

  3. 3 davexxxx

    The beauty of Stieg Larsson is that he can be whoever you want him to be. As long as you want him to be a lesbian or Scottish.


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