Stockholm always has a soothing effect on me. Surrounded by clean water and crisp air, decorated with beautiful buildings and healthy looking people who smile at you with their big, straight white teeth, beach blond hair waving in the wind – Sweden is reliably fulfilling its clichés.
Sweden gives me an instant holiday feeling. And it pleasantly reminds on the very beginnings of Big M’s and my relationship, when he was still living in the city on the waterfront. Fortunately, one of my best friends is still living there, giving me the best reason to go back again and again.
Of course, the heatwave found its sudden end when I arrived late last Friday, and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees within one day.
We spent Saturday rummaging around the boutiques on Östermalm, walking up the little hill, passing the delicatessen food market Östermalmshallen (where I once naïvely bought the world’s most expensive raspberries for about £ 20 the kilo) and finally settling down on the canopied terrace at Lisapåtorget for some Champagne and skagentoast.
If you want to buy a bottle of wine in Sweden, you need to look for a Systembolaget – the only store that has the license to sell alcohol, as long as you are 20 years old or older. When I handed Julie a bottle of bubbly and some money, the cashier sent us a warning look and asked for both our ids. There must be something in the water…
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to my favourite bakery, Riddarbageriet, for one or two if their delightful cinnamon buns. When the drizzle slowly turned into a raging torrent of rain, we made our way back to the island where Julie and the Flip Flopper live.
Getting to work in the city takes Julie 30 minutes. She walks the little path down to the water, takes a few steps on the pontoon and jumps onto her boat. Crossing the water from the island to mainland takes about seven minutes. There are no cars on the island, but there is a tiny bus ferry that crosses a few times per day, if you don’t own a boat. I am amazed how easily she manages the logistics, but surprisingly, my friend Julie, the girl that grew up in Berlin and detested Munich for being too quiet, doesn’t seem to be bothered by being cut off at all.
It’s not hard to see why she fell in love with the island. We went for a walk and she showed me around, starting at their house with the steamboat-like chimney, passing gigantic strawberry plants, strolling down to the water where a houseboat accommodates the island’s dagis (nursery). All the while tiny baby toads hopped in front our feet over the wet grass.
It looks like Julie has found a place that is 100% her. Long may it last!