‘What have the Swedes ever done for us?’ – an update
September 27, 2019
A postcard from Stockholm
In January this year, I noticed that ‘the Swedes wear a lot of black. Quilted coats, black suits, leggings, stout boots, that sort of thing’.
After a return visit in August, I can now report that this summer’s colour is…. black (but with rather more leg exposed).
Much of the population is blonde, and improbably tall. The men have rugged, Viking good looks, lightly bearded.
It was noticeable that many women in August were either pregnant or pushing strollers, leading me to speculate how little there is to do in Stockholm when the winter nights are drawing in.
‘What have the Swedes ever done for us?’ An update
In January I asked the question ‘What have the Swedes ever done for us?’ and I can add to the list I started then:
The flat screen TV, the Thermometer, Skype, the Nobel Prize, the Tetrapak.
Another of the best tennis players who ever lived (Mats Vilander).
Strindberg. Rippling Sven.
They are also World Leaders in recycling and other environmental issues. The commentary on the Archipelago cruise is most helpful and informative on Sweden’s national achievements.
For such a well organised country, it comes as a surprise that taxis are unregulated. We pre-booked a bus from Arlanda airport to the terminal in central Stockholm. From there, we unwarily hailed a cab; it cost about £40 for the 20 minute ride to our hotel.
Once there, we remembered that in January the hotel reception would book a cab at a less exorbitant rate, but this time we elected to use the ubiquitous Uber.
Drinks are also expensive. It’s difficult to find a glass of wine in a restaurant for much change out of £8 to £10, or a bottle for £40 plus.
After a day or two, we resorted to System Bolaget, the state liquor monopoly. Fortunately there’s a large store near the hotel, selling an extensive range at prices more in line with UK retail, so we were able to enjoy an aperitif – and an after-dinner glass – on our balcony, without breaking the budget.
The Mornington Hotel
The hotel is located in Östermalm, a pleasant residential district within easy reach of the historic centre. There are restaurants and bars nearby, and the historic Saluhall food market is on the same street (Nybrogatan).
The reception area of the Mornington is comfortably furnished with chairs, sofas and bookshelves. There’s a bar area and restaurant, and in the mornings an extensive buffet is served until a civilised 10am (11 at weekends) offering everything from fresh yoghurt to cooked breakfasts, by way of pickled herring.
Facilities for guests include a gym and sauna.
We booked the room with our flight through Expedia; £142 a night, we were upgraded to a superior room with a balcony, on the 6th floor.
The hotel offers a 10% discount for a return stay if you book direct.
Cruising the Archipelago
For not much more than the price of a taxi, you can take a three hour cruise of the Archipelago.
We took the cruise in January, but we were distracted by the lavish buffet, and deterred by the temperature from taking in the views on deck.
Read more about the winter voyage here https://wp.me/p7AW4i-Dx
We decided to repeat the experience in summer, this time with a lighter lunch. You can pre-book on line from a choice of three main courses; it’s optional, you can take a seat on deck or in the bar if you prefer.
You’re greeted on the quay by friendly staff, and directed to your table for a prompt departure.
The ship is a period steamer, with nicotine yellow bulkheads, polished wood and green banquettes – rather like an English pub that’s taken to the water.
Fellow diners were mostly Swedes, a jolly lot. They listened attentively to the commentary in Swedish, but it was hard to hear the English translation, particularly after their Cava and Schnapps had been served.
We began to understand why Stockholm is called ‘the Venice of the North’
STRÖMMA DINING CRUISES
S/S Stockolm, Quay 16, Nybroviken.