“What a dump,” Mirinda almost said as we left Slussen station on Sodermalm and headed towards the Fotografiska (Photographic Museum). “All of this construction is awful and the staircases reek of urine!“
This was all true. As pedestrians, we were being shunted along the side of roads which had been sequestered off for safety. Why the hoardings had to hide the water views, I don’t know. Though one hoarding held a sign which made us smile broadly.
So, fitting in perfectly as locals, Mirinda and I headed the distance of the world’s longest sandwich (or so the signs said) and finally arrived at the museum to be told, if we hurried, we’d be able to enter in five minutes.
Because of number limits at any given time, the museum has timed tickets which need to be bought before entering. And, because lots of museums are now closed because of the plague, the ones that have remained open are filling up quick. I quickly booked two tickets for the 10:45 and we were ushered in.
Obviously, our first port of call was the restaurant on the top floor. We were sat overlooking the water, watching boats and ferries move back and forth while tall masted ships sat moored. I have to say it has to be one of the most scenic cups of coffee I’ve had. Not to mention the best cardamom bun ever.
Heading down to the first level, we roamed through the various exhibitions – the Fotografiska doesn’t have a permanent collection but has series’ of exhibitions by Swedish and international photographers – enjoying some, not so much others. It was lovely, though, to see so many people, enjoying being out and admiring the exhibits.
We both really liked the self portraits of Arno Rafael Minkkinen. He works naked and alone. He sets his camera on timer and poses himself. Some of his images are hilarious, others quite haunting. They are all in black and white and feature Arno and nature as a composite pair.
However, my favourite by far was the newest exhibition of the amazing photographs of Miles Aldridge. His images burst from the frames like celluloid. They present an almost plastic world of drama, colour and light. I thought his work was brilliant.
Heading out, we followed the works towards the Viking Line check-in and turned the corner, following the road that rises up towards the cliff top that overlooks the docks. We were hunting for a guitar shop because Mirinda needed some strings.
There are quite a few guitar/music shops on Soder. It’s amazing that the first one we found was closed. The only other one we found was, in fact, part guitar shop, part café. The guitar bit was downstairs so Mirinda made her way down there only to discover that they didn’t have the strings she needed.
We also found a church. Katarina kyrka to be precise. It sits high on a hill and overlooks a fair sized hunk of Soder. I would just love to say how wonderful or not it was inside but there was a wedding on. Mirinda poked her head in then withdrew it very quickly, explaining to a woman who was heading towards the doors that the bride was just about to get on her knees.
I’ve never been to a Lutheran wedding before so I have no idea what goes on but I do know we weren’t going to see the inside of the church today.
Maybe some other Saturday we’ll get to go inside.
By this time, of course, it was time for my birthday treat. My favourite way to celebrate my birthday has been, for many years, with pizza, beer and ice cream. Not on the same plate, I should add. Mirinda had found a place called Banana, but we accidentally found ourselves outside a delicious smelling place called Pazzi. My feet wouldn’t go any further as wood-fired pizza odours hooked my nose and dragged me inside.
The food was excellent and, apart from the first miserable Swede we’ve come across (our waitress), the whole meal was a delight. In particular, the pistachio ice cream was superb. It was so good, I felt like I was back in Naples.
Interestingly, a table by the window was full of people playing cards.
Eventually, we headed back to the Metro (yes, Mirinda actually caught a subway train) for the single stop back to Gullmarsplan where we waited for then hopped on to the 807 back to Gudo.
It was a wonderful celebration of my second birthday day.
In the meanwhilst, Emma and Freya enjoyed another thoroughly spoiled day with the Perfect Swedish Family. Sara kept us informed with photos and video throughout the day. At one point, after a walk, the girls sat on a handy lap and watched the news.
Given the news was in Swedish, they soon grew bored translating and went to sleep.
Our bus and train connections worked perfectly this week and, when we arrived to collect the girls, we were invited in for coffee and cake. We met a couple of friends from across the road and an amazing labradoodle from Kent, called Morris. It felt like we had some Swedish friends.
People claim that the Swedish are stand-offish but that is definitely not our experience. Except for the waitress at Pazzi.
The title comes from an exhibition of Hubble Telescope photographs, held in conjunction with an astronomy conference held in Stockholm this year. I thought the quote was perfect for describing all photographs and, in fact, just seeing our world.
I’ve decided to stop writing the ‘Today, this happened’ every day. I’m thinking it should be a once in a while thing.