September 28, 2010

On London and Wellies

The forecast said rain today, and so I put on my wellies. As a newcomer, I thought it was the right thing to do. (Yes, I've learned to call rain boots by their proper British nickname). The forecast says rain most days here, but I don't put on my wellies every day. But today was a day when I did, and well, I discovered something. People don't wear wellies here in London. If you're over the glorious age of seven, you don't wear rain boots. Doesn't matter that the wellies keep getting trendier and trendier, you can only wear them if not wearing them means you'll be swimming home instead.

The prospect of rain hangs like a permanent giant cloud over London, and so I guess people just get tired of being bothered by it. Instead they just pop out their umbrellas if they have one, or walk unprotected through the raindrops happy as ever, should it really start raining. 
I also suspect that it's not cool to wear wellies in the city. I suspect that's why I felt like people were looking at me not much different as if I had been a hiker from outer space trying to navigate the (perfectly dry) streets of a cloudy London.

Lesson learned. Wellies are cool on rock festivals. In the forest. When hunting rabbits at some estate (and I would never). Not in the city. 

Pic from, and

September 27, 2010

For New Beginnings and Shades of Grey

Because sometimes, life can't wait. Because sometimes, you have to move on. And you have to do it now, in this very moment.
And so, I did. I moved on. I moved to London. And it feels amazing!

I took a leap of faith and just did it. Like Nike says how to do it. And so I hope you'll forgive my long absence here on the blog and come with me on this new journey instead. Because you're cordially and lovingly invited.

Today, the color grey never looked better.

September 26, 2010

Hermione's Stockholm, Part 1

When it comes down to it, it's not so easy to pick what should be in this Stockholm guide of mine. With knowing something truly well also comes a certain blindness - so forgive me if I've left something out. Here are some of Stockholm's main attractions, a more personal take on the city will come soon!

I start with a park. A green park. A huge park. If Central Park are the lungs of New York City, then Djurgården must well qualify as the lungs and heart of Stockholm. Not really a park in the traditional sense, but a perfectly landscaped area consisting of islands, surrounded by water and filled with masses of green. Djurgården is what I would like to call the crown jewel of Stockholm, home to royal geese and one of Europe's finest running paths (at least according to many enthusiastic joggers). This area is not to be missed. It can be crowded on the weekends, but so worth the visit. Once there, don't miss the Rosendal Botanical Garden, or the equally pink and charming Rosendal Castle. Why not even rent a canoe and make the round the water way? On a sunny day, this is an unbeatable little outing.

Located on Djurgården, this is a must see if you like zoo animals, old buildings and movie like sets - this is truly worth a visit. For a historical and fun view of Sweden, you've come to the right place. I can also recommend the fun activities they have for kids and grown ups alike, specially the mini car tracks!

Hotel and restaurant, and legendary hangout of equally legendary Swedish writer and artist August Strindberg. The "Röda Rummet" (The Red Room) has changed little during the last hundred years, and it's as great going there for burch as well as an intimate dinner. Enjoy!

Svenskt Tenn
Visitors and locals interested in Scandinavian design tend to end up here. Fun fabrics (with elephants on!) and sleek furniture, it's a nice visit. Carl Malmsten and Josef Frank are some of the main designers behind.

Excellent food, excellent service, and a long history of artistic visitors. This has always been a low key place attracting local artists and restaurant goers alike. Quite a must, try the Toast Skagen, you won't regret it!

Fun museum where you can see old, original costumes and knight gear (for real!) of the royals of Sweden's historical past. Located inside the Royal Palace, this is quite fascinating, and definitely worth it if you're into costumes and fashion. 

Moderna Museet
The best museum in Stockholm, it boasts a small but great collection of modern art. Located on the beautiful little island of Skeppsholmen, this is a place to wander around and absorb the great atmosphere created by the buildings architecture. Just make sure to stay away from the restaurant, as it's quite awful:).

September 14, 2010

From Stockholm With Love

Fall is here, and I'm preparing to leave. As I get ready to say good bye to my one year stint in Stockholm, I thought it appropriate to give a grand salute and honor this city that admittedly has grown on me this last year. It may be the gorgeous un-Scandinavian summer that blessed us this year, it may be the fact that it seems to be the place in Europe to travel right now, or it may just be that it can be quite breathtakingly beautiful at times. Often times. Whatever it is, it's a place that deserves some proper attention. Just ask Tyler Brule.

I don't know what's changed more - me or Stockholm. Maybe it's my being more accepting of imperfection, or maybe it's this city's growth into something that looks and feels more and more like a cosmopolitan city. There are people everywhere, at all times. Buses are full, there are lines to get in to museums. Restaurants with (or without) a reputation are hard to get into unless you book a table well in advance. I'm talking days. Journalists from all over the world are here to write about this Scandinavian capital with all it's sleek design, fresh faced inhabitants and clean water. Normal for a capital, no?

But you see, Stockholm didn't use to be like this. This is a city in transformation. As a native Stockholmer, I witness it all and am not sure what to think. It's always been a quaint, beautiful and relatively empty city. Like a well kept secret. On the verge of being boring. Beautiful and boring.

What is it then, that has caused this boom? Well, I don't think there's a simple answer. It may be the Scandinavian everlasting summer sun and sleek design. Maybe Mr. Brule's regular upwritings of Sweden has something to do with it. It may also be the immense popularity of crime novel writer Stieg Larsson's Millenium heroes, Salander and Blomqvist (the latter now to be portrayed by Mr. Daniel Craig). But no matter what the cause, it's clear that it's a changed city. Take it from someone who was born here. Who's left and come back. And who's leaving again. So from me to you, up next comes my Stockholm.

 Picture by Chad Ehlers/TIPS Images/National Geographic
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