Day two in Stockholm started with a trip to the Juiceverket in Sodermalm. Jim ordered the Homage Till Désirée Del 2 (mango, apple, vanilj, citron & ingefara) and I ordered the La Barbe Noir (mango, apple, cayenne, gurkmeja, citron, aktivt kol). The guy behind the counter (who happened to be a Kiwi) alerted me that my choice was very strong and came in a small bottle & did I realize it had charcoal in it (I did not). He continued that it was good, but really a great juice for cleansing due to the charcoal and cayenne. Based on all the food we ate the night before at Stockholms Gastabud, I could use a little bit of a cleansing. Let me write here for all of you – this was the best juice I think I’ve ever had. I liked this even better than my Philly spot – 4 Seasons Juice Bar. Jim’s was phenomenal (why had I not been adding ginger and vanilla to my juice all these years) and mine was refreshing and a contrast to all the heavy foods we’d been eating. If you find yourself in Stockholm and feel like you need a smoothie or a juice. Skip the Joe & the Juice (it’ll be tempting, it’ll be close) and go for the real deal with Juiceverket (I think there are multiple locations). It might seem a little pricey (menu below), but it’s worth it. You will not be sorry.
With juice in hand and smiles on our faces, we decided to do a little impromptu exploring in Sodermalm, which took us to the views from Fotografiska. From there you could see equally beautiful views of Skepps Holmen, Ostermalm, and even Djurgarden, but without any other humans vying for a photo. It wasn’t desolate, it just felt like our own special view, which was really nice and unexpected.
We finished our juice as we walked back across the bridge to Gamla Stan toward Kungliga Slottet, where we were planning to take a tour of the royal apartments, chapel, and treasury. This marked Jim’s first palace tour (I’d gone on a couple in Germany & Austria), and he was pretty impressed. We lucked out on this trip, as all areas of the palace were open to tour (or at least the areas that are ever open). This is somewhat unusual as the palace is still operates as the offices of the King and other members of the Swedish Royal family – so there might be state meetings going on or visitors staying in the apartments.
We had an English tour of the apartments, which was informative as well as interesting (we’d recommend it), though there are also audiotours you can take and lots of signage to explain pieces. The part we most liked was the added Swedish history the tour guide provided. Below are some of the photos I captured that turned out somewhat OK (it was REALLY dark in there). The first photo is the throne & the one beneath that shows the family crests (I believe mine is featuring the Queen, as it shows Victoria below her, who will be the next leader). The photo with the long table and chairs is still used today for large state meetings (which blows my mind). How amazing would a business meeting be in a room like that? One I can get behind. There’s also a photo of the King’s “receiving” bedroom (the one with the large tapestry on the wall). Apparently, a former King had two bedrooms, the room he actually slept in, and the room the Swedish people could pay to see him wake up in. Funny what people will pay to see.
Once we finished the apartments tour, we popped into the chapel (below) as well as the treasury (where no photos were allowed), which houses some of the royal family crown jewels. One thing I found pretty interesting (and I did not know before) is the difference in a King or a Queen’s crown and that of a prince or princess. You see, the prongs in a King or Queen’s crown is always closed (like this) whereas a prince or princess’ crown is open (like this).
We grabbed lunch nearby at The Hairy Pig Deli. If you can get over the image of a wild hog carrying sausage links in his mouth, this is a great lunch spot. We got some local beers (PKLK beers), Swedish sausages, and a platter of Swedish cheese (one with cream cheese, a blue cheese, and one with cumin). In the photo of our spread, you’ll notice the pig cracker on the plate to the right. This is that Finnish “school bread” that has the wheat and sugar added to it to make it better. As I mentioned previously, the Swedish version is better. Also, not so sure I love Scandinavian cheese. The cumin one was…interesting. The blues seem to be the best.
We also had a nice conversation with the waitress there who gave us a few recommendations for what to do around Stockholm, “The best way to see Stockholm is on foot. Really get out there and walk around, that’s when Stockholm is its prettiest and most interesting.” She also recommended a brunch spot in Sodermalm (Kaferang), a traditional Swedish spot (Tradition), and her favorite Swedish cookie (Ballerina). More on Kaferang in the next post. I had also started carrying my Marimekko tote around with me, and a woman in the restaurant tapped me on the shoulder, “I love your Marimekko bag. If you haven’t been to Helsinki yet – there’s a lovely flea market that is flooded with vintage Marimekko pieces.” Sadly, I explained we’d just come from Helsinki, so I’m passing this knowledge along to you all. There is apparently some flea market in Helsinki with vintage Marimekko pieces. Please take this knowledge and buy something great.
After lunch we went to check out the Nobelmuseet or Nobel Prize Museum, also on Gamla Stan and just barely caught the English tour. The museum is quite small (a new one is currently being built, so if you visit, it probably won’t be such a squeeze), but includes tons of information on Alfred Nobel (am I the only one who didn’t know he made all his money in dynamite and that’s what funds the awards?), every winner through history, as well as some/most of the chairs that recent winners sat in & signed. In fact, those chairs are the chairs used in the museum cafe and you can ask to see a particular winner’s chair and they’ll pull it out for you if they have it. I also didn’t realize the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway (the only one). Our tour guide said that’s because (she guessed) Sweden felt like they didn’t have the best track record with regards to peace. She also said you can check online to see who was nominated each year and how many votes they received once it’s something like 50 years past (I think, I can’t remember).
After the Nobelmuseet, we did some general sight-seeing downtown around Normalm and Ostermalm (where we had dinner reservations that night). This took us to the main shopping areas, the Kungliga Biblioteket or the National Library of Sweden, located inside the Kungliga Humlegarden and the Hedvig Eleonora Church in Ostermalm.
We eventually decided it was time for a libation and made our way to the Diplomat Hotel for a cocktail or two. This was a legit cocktail bar. I had two amazing gin drinks and Jim had a whiskey sour with an IPA in it and a rye cocktail (it was the best one). If this doesn’t have you interested, they also have a Speakeasy (only open on Fridays) AND they have a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle. Yes, friends, you heard me correctly. They have a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.
Following our drinks, we relaxed near Nybrohamnen and watched boats come and go with our feet extended, enjoying the milder (read: less windy) weather for a few minutes before dinner. Then we hopped back up and made our way to Lisa Elmqvist.
If you love seafood. If you love fresh seafood. If you love food. Go to Lisa Elmqvist. You will not regret it. We agreed this was the third best meal of our trip, and we would 100 percent return again and again if we lived there. We got the shellfish platter for two (lobster, crayfish, shrimp, and crab) along with two fish soups. It was so fresh, so light, so herbaceous. The perfect way to end a lovely day in Stockholm.