A week or so ago my wife + I were sick. I was home for days and then she got sick just in time for us to wallow around with our early autumn colds together during the weekend. It the midst of feeling sorry for ourselves, we spontaneously decided that as soon as the next weekend came, running away to Stockholm just might be exactly what we needed. Just because. To shop, wander, eat, drink, and just be. We had nothing special to celebrate except life itself + being in love.
So, this past Thursday night came + we booked a fancy hotel in the middle of the city and made plans to meet up at noon – the time when I get off on Fridays. Lina finagled her way into taking the afternoon off, so as soon as it was 12:00 pm on Friday, we met up downtown + headed to the train station.
My sweet wife had a list of places (shops mostly) she wanted to visit. But, for the most part, we were just planning to go with the flow. We packed super light in tiny backpack bags, so as soon as we arrived, we started wandering the streets on the way to grab some Mexican food for lunch. It just so happened that I noticed one of Lina’s favorite stores, so we ducked in + set the stage for what would end up being 36 hours of pure creative inspiration for us both.
We didn’t buy anything, but just soaked up the atmosphere. And then quickly headed to La Neta, a mexican restaurant we’d heard would satisfy our food cravings with some authentically prepared mexican food. The cute, funky place was in a basement. Minimally decorated, yet totally festive. We made it 10 mintues before the lunch special was over, so we ordered 2 veggie tacos to share (bean + potato), a basket of nachos (that you have to pay for. not cool.), guacamole, and 2 Negro Models.
The food was prepared super fast + we scarfed it down, while snapping photos of everything everywhere. It was good + I’d eat there again for sure. But, still not exactly the same thing. Nevertheless, I totally enjoyed it!
From there, we started ticking off the places on Lina’s list. One store after another. In and out, not really finding anything that we just had to have. Until we made it to Muji… a Japanese, minimalist store. The clothes were cool, but the main thing we loved was all of the home interior design stuff. Gaaaaah. It was so us.
We made a list + left empty handed. It was time to check into our hotel. And damn. What a hotel it was.
Haymarket is a 4 star hotel right in the middle of Hötorget (a hay market square from the 1600s). The hotel is in a building from the early 1800s which was an exclusive department store for many years. The place where Greta Garbo worked when she was younger. So, with that in mind, the hotel’s design is art-deco, with a definite nod to old Hollywood. But, not in a cheesy way. In the most glamorous way you could imagine. The whole place was gorgeous, warm, cozy, funky, and fun.
After checking in, we headed back out to wander some more. We stumbled upon a little hole in the wall that sold churros, so we went in, of course. And then, we went to Lådan, a funky cool bar for beer and conversation. We stayed there for hours. People watching, talking, connecting. Just soaking up the atmosphere.
Back at the hotel, we decided to hang out at the bar. Now, most hotel bars are sad little places I think. This place was the place to be. We snagged two chairs and settled in to the funky, jazzy vibe. It was loud and crazy and fun. We ordered drinks and sat for hours again. Then, as the night got late, we went to grab a snack at a fast food restaurant nearby, headed back to the room to watch tv + chow down on some greasy food to soak up all of the alcohol, before sinking way down into the fluffy covers and into a deep, relaxing sleep.
Saturday morning we took our time waking + getting ready. And then we took our time some more at a long, leisurely big breakfast in one of the hotel’s restaurants. Just before noon we checked out + headed out. We stopped in at one of our favorite interior design stores, Granit, and had a bunch of mini-meltdowns because we fell in love with all they had there. We even became besties with one of the sales guys, joking that we all 3 would lose all of our money in this place if we didn’t control ourselves. Then, we left the store, without purchasing anything, and headed to Fotografiska.
Fotografiska is a photography museum that always has amazing exhibitions + shows. We took the subway + walked a bit, and the the most inspiring part of the trip began. We wandered from exhibit to exhibit. Photographers works touching the deepest parts of my emotions: war, family, violence, poverty. Surrealism in nature + culture. Fading stories of Holocaust survivors through photos + words. A display of black + white Golden Age- themed portraits. Burned taxidermy (stuffed animals) and English wallpaper… commentary on humans + the animal world.
It was absolutely incredible. Lina + I walked together, commenting some. Standing in silence some. At one point, she came to me with a glass of champagne to enjoy as I walked around. We were there for hours and I lost total track of time. It didn’t matter at all. Time stopped for me while I was there. Engrossed in the messages spoken to me through the images.
And, my creative flame was kindled. My spirit lifted. My soul was deepened + heightened. It was a glorious visit.
Fading Stories – pass them on
Scarlett Hooft Graafland
Residence of Impermanence
We left and wandered to a coffee shop for coffee + cookies. And then headed back to Granit + Muji to pick up some autumnal things for our home before taking an early evening train home Saturday night.
We live only 30 minutes from Stockholm, so we were home before sunset. Filled to the brim, overflowing dare I say, with inspiration + love. It was the perfect run away weekend to Stockholm. Absolutely perfect.