Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Tour of Stockholm's Katarina-Sofia District


Tuesday, 16 May, 2017:

Just in case you were wondering . . .

. . . Laurie returns to Stockholm
in only . . .
  
. . . more days!

I packed our trusty, off-beat
guidebook in my backpack

I was off to explore the Katarina-Sofia district in the southeast area of the capital city today.

Our first stop was . . .

Sight #84 Slussen
A rather underestimated place

Slussen is not much to look today at but it is a vital area in the history of the development of the city of Stockholm.

Destruction and redevelopment
due to end in 2020

 The true beauty of Slussen

Slussen includes a lock that connects Lake Mälar with the Baltic Sea. It was not always this way of course.

In mid-13th century Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, decided to build a dam here that would turn the Mälar from a salt water bay into a fresh water lake. His thought was that it would help protect both the city and the hinterlands behind Stockholm from attacks. It also forced goods to slowly go through the city where it could be readily taxed.

The first lock here was built in 1642. In 1935 a cloverleaf transportation hub was created over the lock here for cars, boats and trains.

Basking in today's
Slussen sunshine

I just liked it

Real life people basked today too
in front of the Södra Teater

A short walk up the hill from Slussen took me to my next sight.

It was located in this wonderful
little slice of Stockholm,
Mossebacke Torg

This was also the site of the first park bench that I would use to do some reading to break up the day's activities.

 Spring had sprung

Sight #79 The Sisters
The veil of love

Are they muses?

 Are they goddesses of poetry?

Neither really, they are the 1945 work of artist Nils Sjögren whose original intent was a sculpture of Venus but changed his plan when he heard about the plight of two women who had lived in Stockholm.

The two women were lesbians. Out of desperation for having to keep their love secret in the society of that time, they drowned themselves in 1911 in Stockholm's Hammarby Sjö. To do this they tied their bodies together and weighed themselves down with stones.

In their memory, the gay community puts a veil around their shoulders during the annual "Pride Festival".

Today, the world's gay community considers Sweden one of the planet's most gay welcoming countries.

How times have changed.

 Nice view of the harbor

August Strindberg
1849-1912

The prolific Swedish writer was enjoying the Spring weather with the rest of us.

 The view from my second
reading stop park bench

After reading a few more chapters, I was off again in search of my next . . .

Sight #15 The Car Park
Safe from nuclear fallout

In the 1950s, the Swedish government faced two major problems, the fear of nuclear attack and lack of parking space due to rocketing ownership of automobiles in the city.

The answer to both problems is found here in this underground bunker of a car park.

Without a car to park and the accompanying code for said car's passengers to re-enter, I could not get inside so this photo is about the best I could do without setting off alarms.

Inside I am told, are six gates each weighing 51,400 kilos that can still be lowered to protect people from the outside world if the North Koreans get feisty or Donald Trump wonders what certain buttons in the Oval Office are for. All of the other survival technology necessary is also still fully functioning.

As is the car park.

I was hungry.

Sight #62 Nystekt Strömming
So simple yet so good

Located just outside of the exit of the Slussen underground station, this is a great place for a fish lunch as the yellow sign atop the building would indicate.

Their specialty
freshly fried strömming

This was my order of Nystekt Strömming med Hemlagat Potatismos. I took a chance ordering this as my Swedish is a bit sketchy at best.

Strömming is a herring species found only in the Baltic Sea.

I was rewarded for my boldness, it was delicious! The creamy mashed potatoes were a surprise as well.

I will definitely come back here for lunch.

More than once.

I've got Gamla Stan
on my mind

A good place for a break
on Gamla Stan's Järntorget

What is artist Evert Taube
observing?

Why yes Evert, it is a nice
day on Järntorget

Caffellini?

You may not notice it, but
atop the arch it states that
this building dates from 1662

Quiet Gamla Stan lane

I needed a Fika Time break

The rust colored building on the left in Gamla Stan's Stortorget has one of the two best hot chocolate's in my known universe. The other one is created at the Black Magic Café in Rīga, Latvia.

The Kaffekoppen here in Stockholm serves a stronger, more bitter offering while the Latvian version is sweeter.

I love both styles for the richness of the chocolate.

 Nice view from my table at the
Kaffekoppen

Of course, Fika Time must include
a sweet of some sort

The orange slice attests to the healthy nature of all Swedish Fika Times.

Feeling better, I strolled towards . . .

Sight #90 The Storkyrkobad
Baths in the true sense of the word

In the heart of the Gamla Stan and belonging too a primary school, the Storkyrkobad is situated in an 18th-century cellar vault below the school building.

The entrance to both the school
and the Storkyrkobad

The baths are open to men only on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It is Ladies Night at the baths on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Apparently the people in charge do not want adult men or women on the premises in various states of undress while the children are present, thus the baths are only open from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

We have practice tonight, so I was stymied from entry for the second time today on my guidebook's tour of the city.

Oh well, I tried.

Again.

 I like gold

The German Church

It looks great but it is
NEVER open for inspection

The day's third reading
stop occurred here on Stortorget

My book was drawing to an exciting close as was my day trip to Stockholm.
  
 The Royal Armory

I had been here in 2010 and the entry was free, so why not check it out again.

My love of heraldry continues

Body Armor is a MUST!

 Horse Armor too

Symbols of Power

 Horse head armor for a
Los Angeles Rams fan?

One of many Royal Carriages

By European museum standards it was an OK visit.

The price was right.

Fountain outside
the Royal Palace

The fourth reading stop
of the day occurred here
at Kungsträdgåtden Park
  
It was a good day in Stockholm!

 Cattle grazing near
our practice field

Eleven brave U15 Warriors showed up tonight dressed out, they worked hard and had a good attitude. We did have three additional walking wounded in attendance.

But only 11 suited?

We have a game on Saturday

Fika Time is OK
when I walk this much

Reading Is FUNdamental

New York City
is Crime Ridden

But it makes for a great story.

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