The best semla in town

Sven-Harry’s Art Museum is an amazing golden palace overlooking a big park in a Stockholm inner city area called Vasaparken. Sven-Harry Karlsson, a builder, built the museum, principally to house a replica of his house on the top floor. In this replica is his art collection. He believed it was complete and, therefore, should be accessible for people to view. The collection, as well as the replica of his house.

The building also houses art exhibitions as well as a number of shops, a restaurant, a terrace and, unbelievably, a number of apartments.

We went there today to see an extraordinary exhibition called Bakom hörnet vindens jojk (Around the Corner, the Wind’s Joik). In the words of the website, it “…presents a geographic and cultural landscape that is distant, yet familiar“. It is a diverse collection of modern Sámi art. ‘Yoik’ refers to a type of traditional singing from the Sapmi region of Scandinavia which the Sámi call home.

The exhibition ranged from the sad (a film of a man’s face as he watches the sun sink below the horizon at the solstice), the natural (an embroidered cross country skier stopping in the wastes for a poo) and the humorous (a small bronze sculpture of a potato). There were paintings, sculptures, embroidery and some stunning landscape photography.

Detail of embroidery by Britta Marakatt-Labba

(There’s an excellent website with a biography of Britta Marakatt-Labba here. Well worth a read.)

I felt like I was taking a tour of the Sapmi, seeing everything through the eyes of the locals. Apart from the fact that we could go to an art gallery, it was amazing. And next Saturday, if The Perfect Swedish Family can take the girls again, we are hoping to return in order to listen to a bit of live yoiking. If we do return, we’ll definitely have to have another semla bun at Konditori Ritorno.

It’s just across the skating rink from the museum and, following a review in the week, officially serves the best semla in Stockholm. We accidentally discovered it as we left the bus from Gullmarsplan.

Published in a local paper, the results of reporter Pearl Åkesson’s tasting of semla buns from 23 individual bakers, were produced on Friday. Her piece has been extracted and enlarged and now graces virtually every surface in the café.

Although she had previously sworn off semla buns, Mirinda thought she had to try, what was advertised as, the best in Stockholm. She declared it delicious. I stuck to my previous decision that it was too sweet for the likes of me and, instead, had a delicious cardamom bun.

I should say that it would also be the best cardamom bun I’ve had.

Across the road from the Konditori is an amazing skating rink. It’s just there. There’s no charge, no practice penguins for health and safety, no fences, nothing but families having a glorious time together. There’s not even fixed entrances. People sit on one of the long benches around the rink, swap shoes for blades and hit the ice.

What a glorious way for a family to spend a Sunday in Stockholm. The squeals of delight stood testament to that.

A lot of fun was also had off the ice. As we walked by a huge bank of snow there emerged a head, a hand then another hand brandishing a small plastic shovel. A tiny figure emerged from the snow while another disappeared into an entrance hole nearer the ground. Like sandcastles at the beach, these enterprising kids had created a snow castle to play in.

Of course, a trip into Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without a late lunch/early dinner at The Hairy Pig. Joseph greeted us like long, lost friends. He’s very good at his job.

I know I’m a dreadful creature of habit but when it comes to somewhere like The Hairy Pig, too bad. We had the Hunter’s Board and it was bloody brilliant. Particularly the venison and cabbage concoction which was a decidedly delicious mistake. Thank you, Joseph!

As we left, heading to Slussen and the first of two buses home, I realised that the -12° was playing havoc with my head. While I was wearing my trusty Orvis baseball cap, it wasn’t really doing much of a job of retaining heat. I thought it was about time I bought a big, boofy, bobbled beanie.

We popped into a wonderful little winter warming shop in the main tourist thoroughfare where I chose a beanie in about two minutes. After Mirinda took about half an hour to choose a beanie for herself and a pair of gloves, we left, stepping out into the busy, sometimes slippy cobbled road.

Here’s me in my new beanie, waiting for the connecting bus home. Mirinda says I look like someone to avoid.

All in all, a wonderful day out. It’s been a few weeks, and we’ve missed the freedom. Added to this, the lovely layers of snow was the royal icing on the cake.

And, also, a big thank you to Elin at Sven-Harry’s. She was incredibly helpful. And informative.

And to Tommy who supplied even more Sámi information when we picked the girls up. I feel like today was my Sámi appreciation day.

Though I would love to understand the 2014 short film we saw by the amazingly talented Marja Helander, called 50 cent.

It featured a woman in traditional Sámi clothes rushing to a modern shopping centre. She puts a coin into a toilet door which then allows her to enter. Inside the toilet is a man in traditional Sámi clothes holding and waving a small flag. She stands next to him and takes a second flag from him to wave, initially tentatively, beside him. The End.

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1 Response to The best semla in town

  1. Pingback: Pippi at the circus | The House Husband

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