In the district of Johanneshov, south of Stockholm, lies the Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest hemispherical building. It also represents the Sun in the Sweden Solar System. It was my bad luck that on the day I visited to ride the SkyView, it was also the day that season passes (for local football, I think, there is a football stadium within the Globe complex) went on sale. Dozens of men (and no women) were already in line, in freezing weather, and there was only one line into the building, even though the SkyView tickets were sold at a different counter. SkyView scheduled rides every 20 minutes, and the line was so long that I missed 4 of them. There were other tourists in line as well, we all had to wait over an hour, and the gondolas just sat there, waiting for anyone. Eventually, a worker came through the line asking if any of us were there for SkyView, and we got to form a new line inside the lobby. Glass gondolas carry you up (and down) a rail to the top of the building, 130 meters above sea level. I don’t know how far we actually go up, what if the building is only 100 meters tall and sits 30 meters above sea level?
It’s pretty neat, there is a good 360° view, where you can identify some of Stockholm’s taller buildings, and they have a helpful visual guide in the gondola. At around US$22 per adult ticket, I don’t know if everyone will feel it is worth the money, but you get one free ticket with the Stockholm card. I’m sure I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of that card by now.
Taking the T-bana from Globen station to Gamla Stan station, I skip lunch for the Nobel Museum. Honestly, it wasn’t that spectacular. There was an exhibit of some of the fashion (suits and dresses worn to ceremonies), a little on Alfred Nobel‘s life, replica medals and related paraphernalia (documents, art cards, banquet dinner table settings, etc.), and profile cards on every winner (though this was niftily displayed on an overhead monorail). I particularly liked that the underside of the chairs at the cafe were autographed by prize winners.
“Fiskars” in Swedish means “fish”, and I liked that they sold left-handed scissors in the gift shop. They also sold licorice made up to look like sticks of dynamite. I was pretty hungry, but instead of leaving to find real food, I elected to partake in a dessert that was also served at one of the Nobel Prize banquet dinners (two scoops vanilla ice cream, two scoops raspberry sorbet, two raspberries, one cloudberry, and a chocolate Nobel medal).
My hometown has one comic book shop, I believe it is also the only one in the whole county. I don’t know how many are in Stockholm, but Gamla Stan alone has at least 2. One is smaller and primarily dedicated to comic stuff, the other is a much larger science fiction bookstore (selling comics, actual books, clothes, props, toys, statues, games, DVDs, anime/manga, and more).
Next stop is the Aquaria Vattenmuseum, which translates as “water museum”, or aquarium, if you couldn’t tell from the name. It’s also on the island of Djurgården (with Skansen), and I like these literal translations. There is a nice rainforest/jungle area where your camera will get fogged up from humidity, especially if you just came in from the subzero outside. They had the typical freshwater tanks for salmon and trout, the latter of which also had a special side exhibit illustrating their life cycle. Unfortunately, it was rather plain and not terribly informative. You will also find coral reef tanks with the obligatory dory and flame angelfish, and the largest tank is for sharks and rays. I particularly liked the outdoor pond (looking unaffected by the snow) and fish ladder and indoor mangrove swamp. They even had an exhibit on the city sewer system, but the ladder and corridor seemed large enough only for children.
Remembering that the light rail is faster than walking, I ride towards downtown, but alight at the Nordiska Museet. It is only open for another half hour, but with free entry (all four venues today were free with the card) and this being my last night in Stockholm, I have to see something while I still can, no matter how brief. There is a lot of stuff here, fashion and culture and art and furniture and handcrafts and textiles and slices of life and death. I do regret not having more time to see, not only this museum, but more of Stockholm and Sweden.
The front of the Nordic Museum after closing and Drottninggatan pedestrian mall
If you remember that my last dinner in Italy was decidedly un-Italian, I decided that my last dinner in Sweden should be non-Svenska. A bit of wandering around the shopping district led me to Taco Bar, not very authentic Mexican, but I prefer to imagine it is what Swedish folk think Mexican food is like in the US. “En taco och burrito” and look what’s on Swedish TV in the hotel (hint, it is just past 11:30pm on Saturday night).
This blog needs more food talk. I started this last full day in Stockholm with the hotel‘s excellent breakfast buffet, it was well worth the price (it’s also cheaper for hotel guests). Another good smörgåsbord that held me mostly until dinner (ignoring the ice cream treat at the Nobel Museum). Europe has had the best fruit yogurt I have ever eaten (here, Italy, and even ICEHotel).