When asked what she’d like to do on her birthday, Mirinda said she wanted to go on the Bridges of Stockholm Tour and then have late lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant. And so, today, Mirinda put her new earrings in, we dropped the dogs off with our other dog minder (Linn) and took the bus into Stockholm.
(I should explain that The Perfect Swedish Family were busy this week.)
Of course, the day was perfect though very chilly on the water. And we weren’t alone in our getting out and about. It was as if Stockholm had woken up after a long cold winter. There were people dotted around everywhere – relaxing on boats, walking, sitting, clinging to crags. It was lovely to see.
There was a worry that we wouldn’t make the 11am sailing but, as it turned out and thanks to Mirinda’s bravery in taking the Metro, we arrived with enough time to buy an ice cream and walk the length of the docks.
The ice cream seller was hilarious. From his confusion over flavours to him throwing a big scooped ball of ice cream across his display, he was like someone from the Edinburgh Fringe working for small audiences in a side street.
Aboard the boat, there were a few people in masks but most realised it was completely unnecessary outside, on the back of the boat, with the wind blowing everything away.
Yesterday, Evelyn was a bit concerned that the Stromma, Bridges of Stockholm Tour would be a bit dull. She doesn’t think much of the bridges of Stockholm. She needn’t have worried. While we passed under around nine of them, there was very little bridge related chat. Even though there are 57 of them.
It was a wonderful tour of Stockholm history with funny anecdotes and cute stories. It was very, very good. In English, we learned a lot of stuff about the Swedes that we didn’t already know. I am hanging out for the hopping like frogs around phallic flag poles in mid-summer, now. Not forgetting the rock climbers with their flexing muscles.
We also heard all about that fateful maiden voyage of the somewhat top heavy, warship, the Vasa. How the people lined the shores as she slipped into the quiet waters of Stockholm. How a slight breeze threatened to tip her over and how she righted herself only for a slightly stronger puff of wind to successfully send her to the bottom of the harbour.
All round, it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.
Our booking at the restaurant wasn’t until 4pm, so we stopped for a refreshing beer (coffee with cream for Mirinda) the other side of the rather fey statue of King Charles XII, warrior king and arch nemesis of Russian Tsar, Peter the Great.
We were actually here on Valentines Day and the place was completely empty while every restaurant was full. Or closed. It was like another place entirely today. Sitting in the sun, enjoying a drink, watching the people and getting mauled by very friendly dogs.
Most of all though, it was wonderful seeing so many happy, smiling people.
We decided it might be a great opportunity to visit the big red church we couldn’t visit last time. It sits overlooking the small park we were in, looking pretty inviting.
Unfortunately it wasn’t open. It’s not open on a Sunday. This is a bit confusing in a Christian church. To visit, you have to turn up on a Tuesday or Thursday.
Eventually we headed for the restaurant which was a short bus ride away.
It was locked up tight, so we headed for a park, a short, very high walk away and sat back in the sun to read. Along with hundreds of others, lapping up the glorious sunshine. It was very peaceful.
On the top of the hill was a structure which looked like a Spanish fortress.
An exciting discovery except it’s actually a rather elaborate reservoir.
At the appropriate time, we headed back down to Agrikultur, where we were to have Mirinda’s birthday late lunch. And what a brilliant meal it was.
They pride themselves on sourcing food from small, excellent producers and preparing it in very imaginative ways. They also have a changing menu because they are very seasonal. And it is all brilliant. As food is brought to the table, the entire dish is explained in wonderful detail. From the langoustines to the dessert, we were treated like special guests at a regal banquet.
This is a dish which we thought looked like a Picasso when it arrived. Mirinda turned it quickly into a Jackson Pollack. It was delicious, regardless of the artist. It was ‘Mountain cow from Puttersjaus Farm – morels, carrot purée, caramelized cream, ramson & pickled garlic served with gravy flavoured with cumin.’
I had the wine flight as well which made it even more special. We both had a cold glass of the gin they make. Everything was superb.
And, of course, there was the obligatory photograph of the birthday girl raising a glass to another year.
We were a bit later than usual getting back but Linn didn’t mind. The girls had a good day too though, I’m thinking, not nearly as good as ours.