söder-street

spend a saturday in söder: the greenwich village of stockholm

i am not sure that anyone anywhere calls the southern neighborhood/area in the beautiful capital of sweden, known as simply söder (meaning south in english), the “greenwich village of stockholm”. but, i am dubbing it just that. personally, i think it is the perfect description. not that it is exactly like the nyc neighborhood famous for its arts, bohemian vibe, but it comes close. and if you want a short, easy understanding of söder, then greenwich village/east village is it.

i’ve been intrigued by the area for a while now, and my love has always loved it. but, we never seem to spend any significant amount of time there. so, we decided to make a day of it this past saturday. a train to stockholm. straight on the subway to söder (officially called södermalm). and then a whole day to explore and experience.

train-stockholm

a little background info on södermalm

stockholm, the capital city of sweden, is spread across many islands. söder is the big island, or borough, that lies just south of the city center. it was once a working class district, but has felt the effects of gentrification, making it a popular, eclectic hub for artists, hipsters, designers, musicians… you get the drift. it is a funky place. a place filled with diversity, art, independence, progressives, creatives, and lovers of all things vintage, cool, and hip. it could be intimidating, but then again, self-expression is what it’s all about. so, everything + everyone is in. as long as it’s authentic + real. people create, philosophize, eat + drink, and enjoy life in söder – at least that’s how i see it.

everywhere you look, you feel the bohemian quirkiness of the neighborhood. there are funky cafés, edgy independent shops and boutiques, yummy local restaurants and pubs, relaxing parks, and views to die for.

the architecture is beautiful. colorful, old, unique. apartment buildings with shops on the bottom floor lining little backstreets and amazing, cozy houses with incredible perched on cliffs that rise above the water and the rest of stockholm.

but, enough info about it. let me share a few tips with you about what we did, where we went, and what we experienced during our day in söder!

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first things first: coffee, of course

after our short ride to stockholm, and a quick subway ride from the central train/subway station to mariatorget, we were in söder. first up on our agenda… coffee! after a short walk, we rounded the corner and saw our destination: kaffe, a simple café in the heart of a typical södermalm neighborhood.

we walked into the airy, spacious one-room café and up to the bar to order 2 cappuccinos for 25 kr a piece. (cheap!). however, the barista told us that they only take cash, so she pointed us in the direction of an atm (things that are not on every corner in sweden for some reason) about 4 blocks away. we left the café, took a little walk, got our money, and walked back. no biggie.

tip: just a heads up if you plan to visit. take cash!

i snagged two stools at the bar by the window for us and waited for lina to pay. there are no tables in the café, it’s just stools lined up at a counter bar that runs down the windows. a cozy way to sit and chat, or just read. personally, i loved it. there is nothing like sipping on some delicious coffee (which it was), chatting, and looking out at the street as people pass by.

kaffe is definitely a popular place, but it wasn’t crowded or loud, even for a saturday morning. it was absolutely the perfect start to our day.

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independent, quirky, unique shops + boutiques

loaded up with caffeine, we hit the streets of söder to see what funky places + things we could see. we walked back toward the atm we visited earlier and headed up the shopping street. though neither of us wanted to do much shopping. this day trip was all about discovering the vibe of söder for ourselves. but, some of the vintage, hipster, independent (and even one or two not-so-independent, if i am honest) places just called us in. one of my fave’s was a little bookshop we found, called simply söderbokhandeln (south bookstore), filled with all kinds of books. i was totally in love.

tip: wander all around the bookstore. look carefully. browse and search. take your time, it looks oevrwhelming. there are so many unique titles, and even a little english section.

we need way more time to return and explore more of the vintage shops. oh, it’s heaven!

shopping-street-south-stockholm

funky-street-south bookstore

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eat like the locals

ok. we researched a bit, and apparently there is a little dim sum/dumpling restaurant in söder that locals love. so, we planned our wandering to take us from the café, through some of the shopping areas to this tiny little, hole-in-the-wall restaurant called 58 dim sum. i just love getting tips and then searching them out for myself. i was so excited about lunch!

we found the place and walked in. space for only about 4-5 different groups to sit. it was teeny tiny. paper lanterns hanging around. a delicious smell. i knew right off that we were in an authentic place.

we had no idea what to do, so we went to the counter and the lady working there, who was not really good in swedish or english, gave us a menu, two slips of paper and 2 pens. we grabbed a seat, and began perusing. well, we were there for the dumpings, so that was an easy decision. but there were so many to choose from. we decided that i’d get the broccoli/cauliflower ones and lina would get the mushroom. then we’d share.

you get 10 pieces for 58 kr. amazing price! it includes a noodle salad and soup, both of which i had. but not a drink, which is not that big of a deal. the dumplings were delicious and served quickly. i fumbled over chopsticks as usual – i totally suck, but managed to eat 8 out of 10 (with the sticks. woo hoo.). then, i was totally full.

tip: 58 dim sum. a small, local place serving authentic food for really cheap. ummm… i loved it. highly recommend!

58-dimsum dimsum-order-stockholm 58-dimsum-restaurant dumplings-dimsum

around the corners + down the alleys

as i walk through the main streets of any city, i am always intrigued by the little ones. so, after a bit more peeking into some unique stores in the little mall called skrapan, such as etc. and habitat, where i could have snatched up tons of little dresses and home decor, we decided to just wander off the beaten path.

all throughout söder you can find parks. open green spaces, little fenced-in basketball/soccer areas , and squares with benches and trees. and, of course, where there is a park, there are plenty of swedes enjoying the outdoors. we passed park after park, filled with couples, families, friends, kids, even live music. and, wouldn’t you know it? a random food truck too.

one of the most beautiful places we walked through, though, was the cemetery at katarina kyrka (the church of catherine). i have never seen a cemetery so filled with flowers. green grass, yes. and flowers on graves or beside headstones, yes. but, here, flowers grew naturally. it was just breathtaking. so, we had to pause for a moment to reflect on life and death.

on any spring or summer day when the weather is nice (and by nice i mean 50 degrees or higher, americans!), it’s totally worth a walk through a park (or a cemetery). and a few moments of getting back to the simplicity of the outdoors.

tip: the swedish sun is warm and intense, so even if it’s only 50 degrees f, if it’s sunny, you will be warm. i promise.

park-söder- cemetary-stockholm

of course, surrounding all of these parks are the amazing, colorful, european buildings. most house apartments in them, and are totally full – as this is a very popular place to live, which i am sure that you can now understand a bit why. but, the closer you get to the edges of this island, the more little houses you find. oh, they are not houses with yards, per se, because it’s still urban. and on a cliff. but, they are row houses, built right next to each other, and surrounded by apartment/office buildings. these houses + buildings near the edges of the island, are perched up high, and they offer incredible views of the city and the other islands.

lina and i roamed through the cobblestone streets and alleys, found different little lookouts between buildings, and imagined what life would have been like years ago, when people lived here. of course, we also imagined what it would be like to live here today…. one can dream, you know.

tip: get lost. put down the map and just follow the streets where they lead. you never know what you might stumble upon. and you can always find your way back to the main streets in söder. it is an island, remember? in the meantime, see what you see.

old-building-stockholm söder--buildings buildings-south-stockholm red-house-sodermalm buildings-south-stockhom

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an unexpected bird’s eye view

we just had one more thing to do before we ended our afternoon in söder – a visit to a pub. but, on our way there, we came across this bridge that seemed to go straight out over the streets + water, giving what i assumed would be an amazing view of stockholm. the “bridge” is called katarinahissen. now, i’m a bit freaked out when i walk out on something with nothing underneath me, so i need to walk in the middle and preferably have someone hold on to me, so i don’t irrationally think that i am going to fall off (through a fence or through a glass, which of course, would be impossible, which is why i said, irrational).

but, i needed to see the view. so, we walked out and i could look back at söder, and look across to gamla stan (old town) and other more northern/eastern parts of the city. it was so beautiful to see!

tip: do it!

katrinehissen-life-view-stockholm stockholmwe did finally make it to that pub, but i wouldn’t say it was quite what we were looking for. we didn’t research anything, but just wandered and then, since we were running out of time, ducked into a pub called balthazar. totally ok. but typically swedish. not anything funky or unique. still, the beer was only 29 kr. super cheap! so, that was a win. clearly, we need to come back to explore the more hidden pubs of söder.

we had plans to meet up with some friends in a whole other part of stockholm for a beer tasting event (perhaps another post coming soon!), so we bid farewell to södermalm for the day. however, after the microbrewery beer tasting, we took a ferry back to the area and walked up to söder for one last drink together. we ducked into the cozy, relaxed, fair-trade bar/restaurant called muggen, located on the main shopping street in söder and across the street from a subway entrance – necessary for our ride back home later on. we had so much fun catching up and enjoying each others’ company, that i didn’t take any photos!

so, friends, if you find yourself in stockholm, make your way over to söder. i totally recommend exploring this hipster, funky, international, artsy part of the capital. i personally loved it.

to be fair, there are some not-so-great things about it too. while there is so much hip stuff happening, there is a sense of lots of people are trying a bit too hard. in the fight to be an quirky independent, many people seem to be doing it the same way. like the hipster fad. and yet, there are plenty of people who are just living their life. being funky, weird, and artsy, just as they are.(read some more local views on söder here).

nevertheless, in my opinion, söder is a haven for those people who love to live life on the edge or outside of the mainstream. a place for intellectuals, artists, free thinkers, and  eclectic spirits to gather. and that, to me, is the definition of a place that make my soul sing.

i can’t wait to go back. how lucky am i that it only takes me about 50 minutes to get there?!

onwards + upwards!

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sweden in the spring

hello lovelies! happy tuesday to you, wherever you are. unfortunately, as the beautiful swedish sun is shining, i find myself laying under a blanket on the sofa at home this afternoon feeling puny + yucky. it’s cozy, but not at all the day of writing and working at a café in the sunshine that i had planned.

oh well. a lot has been on my mind lately. about the present moment, and the direction i wish to go in, and what “my thing” is. looking for jobs, and searching any-and everywhere has been making me feel a little all over the place. and completely clogged up. however,  i feel as if i have had some amazing moments + times of reflection lately that seem to be tying a lot of things together. however, i am not rushing into anything. i feel like it’s time to be very grounded, very deliberate, and very focused in how i create the life that i feel called to.

so, perhaps my not feeling tip top is just nature’s way of giving me a day to let a bunch of stuff sink in.

in the meantime, spring is arriving in sweden. colors are beginning to creep back into our nordic world, the air is warming, and life is returning. lina and i have done our best to soak up the sunshine and the beauty over the past couple of days. we even made a quick trip to stockholm just to see the cherry trees in blossom. of course i’ve taken lots of photos and it’s time for me to share them with you!

so, here’s a little burst of spring for you… swedish style! enjoy!

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hope you are enjoying the changing of the seasons in your little corner of the world!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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an exciting weekend getaway on a floating city: cruising on the baltic sea

when you think of sweden, i’ll bet you don’t really think of cruises. i didn’t, until i lived here. i did understand that swedes are sea people, forest people, nature-loving people. most people live in the big cities of sweden, but the majority of sweden is untouched, natural, wild, and beautiful, including a long, wonderful coastline. and swedes find anyway that they can to get out and enjoy nature.

stockholm, the capital of sweden, actually lies on a bunch of little islands…it is an archipelago. and it’s just a short boat ride through + around the archipelago to the open sea. the baltic sea, which separates sweden and finland/estonia.

swedes love the water. they love seafood, love the sun + the waves. love the special life that is archipelago life. in fact, if you are a lucky swede, you live in the city and have a little “stuga” (cabin) in the archipelago by the sea, or out in the woods beside a lake. this is where swedes spend their summers and weekends. of course this is a dream of mine too. i want to have a place in a small little community on an archipelago island. a place where i can write and be and relax. where i can walk everywhere + have to use my little boat to get back to the mainland.

archipelago

however, in the meantime, since i don’t have one of these places, i have the opportunity to take  a 22 hour cruise across the baltic to get a little taste of the sea life. this is a very, very popular way to spend a weekend here in sweden. a chance to getaway, dance, drink, party, shop (tax free!), and feel the sea breeze. (not really the simple archipelago life, but is does get you out to sea. hehe).

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photo from here.

and that is exactly what i did this past weekend with 7 other family members + friends. we left uppsala, took the train down to the harbor in stockholm and boarded a huge cruise ship (pictured above!) for an overnight cruise to åland… a group of islands close to finland. we had a super, amazing blast. and i have a TON of photos to share with you!

running in uppsala… don’t want to miss our train!

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made it to stockholm in 40 minutes! now: taxi ride from the train station to the harbor.stockholm-taxi

unloading + getting our 1st view of our ship!!cruise-ship

beautiful STOCKHOLM in the backgroundsotckholm-cruise-ship

checked in + waiting to board. what to do? why, a group cheers to our trip, of course!cruise-cheers beer-lina-me

onboard + on the back deck to check out the view before leaving dockstockholm-harbor

best usie/groupie ever, i think. love these people!the-gang-ship-cruise

alone on the back deck for a moment… soaking in this beautiful shipback-deck

we set sail + ran as high as we could so we could get a good view and wave goodbye to stockholm
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back downstairs into the big lounge area for our first drinks! cheers (again!)!drinks-cruise-ship

when our rooms were ready, we headed to our cabins to change for dinnercruise-ship-cabins-hall

our cabin: 4 beds + a huge porthole window! perfect.cruise-ship-cabin

dinner buffee (with all the drinks you can manage also included)dinner-ship dinner-cruise-ship

the blue hour on decktwilight-archipelago

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darkness came + the party began!dance-cruise-ship dance-gang-ship

a few quiet (and super windy + cold) moments on the deck in the dark. eerie and peaceful all at the same time.
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i slept for 2 hours. hehe. so to wake myself up i headed out on deck in the cold and wind. it was an invigorating, inspiring, soul-filling moment. just me + the sea.baltic-sea morning-open-sea-baltic

then i was joined by my love and our friend. morning-ship-sea

after breakfast + some tax free shopping, i literally sat here in this panorama bar on the top floor of the deck for the entire rest of the trip. our group gathered here, recovering, resting, and just enjoying the view.panorama-bar-ship top-deck-archipelago archipelago-sweden

my brother-in-law invited me to have an appletini with him. a little end of the cruise celebration about an hour before we docked.me-and-jonas island-sweden birka-cruises

i’ve never done anything like this before, and it was so fun. intense, exhausting, and fuuuuun! of course, i couldn’t wait to get home and just throw myself on the couch. which is exactly what my love + i did. we ordered pizza, netflixed as long as we could stay awake, and then headed to bed to sleep for 11 hours.

i think i’m all cruise-shipped out for a while, but i’d definitely do it again! it’s great fun to spend a weekend with friends + family, just letting it all go. relaxing, dancing, eating. i loved it.

but about that archipelago cabin…. one day!

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ten on ten: april 2015

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hi everyone! yesterday was friday the 10th, so that means that i took a bunch of photos to chronicle my day! i am taking part in a little photo challenge called ten on ten. it’s so much fun! it was actually a pretty busy + exciting day, so i love my photos bunches..

here’s a lttle summary of what happened: after my morning at home, i headed to the train station to meet lina’s sister, who was coming to spend the weekend in uppsala. lina’s brother lives here, too, so they planned this weekend as a sibling weekend together – of course, i get ot be with them too (and jonas’ fiancée too!). i spent a relaxing afternoon with my sister-in-law, soaking up the crazy awesome spring sunshine. then, we met up with everyone else after work, for some beer and then dinner out. we ended the night together at lina’s brothers place for a long, cozy, evening just talking and enjoying each other’s company. it was a really great friday.

here come the photos!

morning on the sofa with my love. breakfast. coffee. the news.

morning-home

i spent the morning at home: writing, blogging, doing chores – like taking care of my amazing herb collection that seems to just keep on living!herbs

off to the train station to meet my sister-in-law’s train!train-station

waiting… in the sun. in my spring-inspired outfitspring-clothes

oh you know, just a regular fika in the sun with a castle in the background
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what’s a day without a cathedral visit?

cathedraltime to stock up: a trip to the alcohol store. what all swedes do on fridays (it’s closed on the weekend!) alcohol-store-sweden

afternoon drinks on the rooftop terrace of my love’s office building.
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cheers! dinner time with the fam!cheers-family

we spent a super cozy evening at lina’s brother’s place. and then walked home at midnight – and it wasn’t cold. woo hoo!nighttime-apt

so, friday wasn’t the only fun time this weekend. it just gets better… today we are going to take a train to stockholm and then board a boat for a cruise! that’s right! we are gonna cruise in the baltic sea to a little island between sweden + finland. 24 hours of food, fun, dance, and adventures with 8 family + friends. you know… the family that travels together, stays together!

have a great weekend!! xoxo

yes, i posted more than 10 photos. hehe. 

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the one thing i love about easter in sweden

easter in sweden is a big deal. not necessarily because of the religious reasons, but because it is a long weekend holiday, and the first real celebration in the spring. like the united states, easter is right up there with christmas. there are traditions, decorations, and typical swedish things that you can count on seeing and/or doing every year.

i’ve spent quite a few easters in sweden… i think this was my 5th, and i knew exactly what to expect. time may have passed, and situations in life may have changed, but this holiday, this little break in regular, everyday life, remains an important time in swedish society.

my easter this year began on friday morning, as my love and i enjoyed a quiet, slow morning at home. then we hopped on a train and headed south to norrköping to lina’s parents’ home. we made it by dinner time + sat outside in their new sunroom through sunset and until the full moon had risen high in the sky. on good friday, it is expected that you don’t do much of anything – a tradition in respect of the day of jesus’ death. even though most people in sweden don’t really observe good friday.

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saturday, the traditional weird day between good friday and easter, is filled with a buzz here in sweden. though, it’s a buzz only with food + family here. nothing else. our saturday was pretty calm, even though it was busy – kind of. a long, lazy morning with lots of coffee + breakfast. meal preparations. a big 14 person lunch. lots of candy (from the easter eggs children get). a mid-afternoon fika. more relaxing, talking, and sitting around the table. pizza dinner. and then bed.

sitting around the table, eating, talking, and catching up is something that swedes do every well. it is highly possible to go from one meal to a fika to another little meal, and never leave the table. it was something i had hard time with when i first lived in sweden years ago, being a short-attention-span american. but, i have grown to enjoy the long, drawn-out meals where you really, really connect and enjoy each others’ company.

coffee feather-tree easter-food easter-candy me-photo easter-cake pizza-dinner

on easter sunday, we began the morning slowly again, but left for church in the late morning. we visited the church where i used to work, and filled with people that lina grew up with. it was so very nice to hug some necks and catch up with friends and co-workers and other members. i have to say, we were treated like little celebrities when we walked in – what a boost to one’s ego. hehe. of course, after the service we had fika and chatted with even more people. it was really great to reconnect with some very amazing, inspiring people from our former life in sweden.

then, in the afternoon, we headed to lina’s aunt + uncles’ house for a birthday dinner for lina’s cousin who’s turning 25. there were about 17 of us or so. another amazing family meal of sitting around the table and catching up. as you can tell, it’s all about quality time together here in sweden.

church-sweden friends-church

in the evening, lina and i hopped a bus back to uppsala. it was a long ride and we arrived close to 11pm. but that didn’t stop us from meeting up with lina’s brother for a drink at a nearby bar. he wasn’t with us for easter because he was with his fiancées family. it was a great way to wind down after a social weekend away, and transition back to being home.

easter monday is a holiday here, so everyone was still off from work. lina and i stayed home all day – minus a quick walk to the grocery store. doing what we love to do. and just being.

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so, in my opinion, easter in sweden is all about one thing: simplicity. it’s all about simply spending time together and enjoying that time with good food and relaxation. it is a fantastic little break in the everyday grind. and something that makes the swedish society so amazing. it’s  the ability to just slow down and just be for a sustained period of time – without needing to be entertained by something fancy. just some food and some people and perhaps a chance to enjoy nature a bit. for a whole weekend. something that many people (americans) could learn to do better. whether you are involved with a big family or there are only two of you, it’s all about stopping for a moment just to enjoy… well, life.

hope you had a lovely weekend, and celebrated in just the way that you wanted + needed.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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blue skies + worshipping the sun

you know, spring in sweden is a little bit all over the place. rain, snow, and sometimes sunshine. – i am sure many of you experience the same where you live.  it’s not usually that warm, but when that beautiful sunshine shows her face, then her rays make even 5 degrees C/45 degrees F feel warm + nice. i’ve said this before, but the sun in sweden is something very special.

when the sun shines in the spring, it’s time to get outside and soak it up. the dark days are over, the cold has left us behind, the light has begun it’s return, the days are getting so much longer, and i (along with every other swede) become a sun worshipper. i literally stand and face the sun. i close my eyes… meditating, soaking in, breathing deeply, living in that very moment.

so, the other morning, after days and days of clouds, rain, and snow, when it was so beautiful, i decided to take a long walk for my meditation time. i explored the neighborhood behind ours, passing apartment buildings, houses, and cozy, little yards + gardens. the sun was warm, the breeze was cool, people were  out + about, and i simply gave thanks for the joy of walking and discovering and being.

i thought i’d share with you a little snippet of the amazing blue swedish skies that i have seen a little of this week. the blue skies make me feel so alive. i hope these photos do the same for you in a tiny, little way. enjoy!

sunshine-roof-window neighborhood easter-tree-square blue-skies square-tree-feathers sunshine-walk tree-buds

happy easter weekend, everyone. here in sweden, everyone has a little holiday from friday until monday. we are taking the train down to norrköping to visit lina’s family for a few days. but, we will be back home again on sunday, to enjoy the last little bit of the holiday here. so, it’s all about relaxing + enjoying for the next 4 days. wishing you a fabulous few days! and, if the sun shines wherever you are, turn your head up to her, close you eyes, and give a little thanks for the warmth + life that she brings. love + light to you all!

onwards + upwards! xoxo