Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweden Week: Day 1

(I am pretty sure that's the Grand Hotel in the background, but do correct me if I'm wrong!)
Some of my dear friends are going to Sweden this June, and are travelling with their kids.  I've promised them I would pull up all of my notes from my two trips there, and I think I will have enough to fill out a whole week.  I think they are spending most of their time in Stockholm, and at least one of the families is staying at the Grand Hotel.  Great choice, as long as you aren't expecting a small boutique hotel--it's big, and can require some patience at check-in (I remember when we checked in on a Saturday, there were lines just to check in), but once you are sorted out and in your very comfortable room, it's fantastic (beds are Hastens, and try to book a room in the new wing--very soundproofed).  The restaurants (there are two) at the hotel are done by Mathias Dahlgren, one of the most prominent young chefs in Sweden. We went two nights in a row to The Food Bar/Matbaren. It's the more casual of the two restaurants (both of them designed by Ilse Crawford , founding editor of British Elle Decor), and the menu is very Swedish, simple, and smart. The hotel is in a very central location, so it's easy to wander around right from there.  
(skansen even has rides and carousels)
Day One in Stockholm, you must hit Skansen, on the island of Djurgarden, which is a living history museum, park, zoo, with over 200 historical Scandinavian homes and buildings that you can wander in and out of. Woven into the park are areas that have native animals, but it doesn't feel like a typical zoo--it seems like they just belong there.  And there are amazing restaurants, shops, and workshops. You can watch them making candles, spinning wool, making butter...and then you can buy the things they are making.  We bought some great pottery, and fantastic candies with perfect packaging. The gift shop at Skansen has a great edit--and is a perfect place to pick up presents for home.
(this is the Konsum (co-op) shop, from the thirties)
 It's also right next to Junibacken (I did a post on this a couple of weeks ago), the theme park that honors Astrid Lundgren, the author best known for her character and book, Pippi Longstocking. And it's also nearby Rosendals Tradgard , one of my favorite places in the world--a garden that has a fantastic organic cafe.  Make sure to buy a cookbook from the Rosendals Tradgard .  Even if you can't read a word of it (maybe they've translated it from Swedish by now?!), it's worth buying and bringing back--it's so beautifully photographed and laid out.
(delicious restaurant, Cafe Pettisan, in Skansen)
(some of the traditional Scandinavian houses at Skansen)

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