Our residence in Stockholm was a hotel/boat, moored in the downtown tourist area. This is the masthead that guarded the entrance.
The hotel boat worked better as a concept than as an actual living place. We booked late, so we got smaller rooms, with bunk beds and permanently closed windows. I got the top bunk, and it was a little stuffy. If you do book these rooms, call early.
During our first (jet-lagged) night, we wandered around town.
The oddest thing we found was an American food store, with exotica like corn muffins and Doritos.
This may be a popular spot for expat American students. When I was in Germany, I would have paid lots for the rare pleasure of spiced corn chips.
The next day we took a long boat tour of Stockholm’s archipelago, a place I wouldn’t have even known about if I hadn’t read Celia Farber’s post here. Thanks Celia.
The archipelago is a beautiful and fairly unspoiled vacation spot. Sailing a big or little boat is one of the most popular things to do there. The swimming was nice, not much colder than a lake in Maine.
We didn’t visit Celia’s favorite island, Runmaro, but we did get a chance to see the very remote and beautiful Bullero.
(one cool fact – Bullero is renewable-energy powered)
Our guide told us about how Peter the Great destroyed an ongoing “peace process” by burning down homes in the archipelago back in the early 1700’s. If we hadn’t already heard about the horrors of Swedish imperialism from the Finns and the Russians, we might have believed her. (Did they even have peace processes in those days?)
The next day we searched for, and found, lots of clothes that fit tall women. We also visited the Modern Art Museum, and found a disappointing display of ‘art’ done by performance artist Paul McCarthy. It was so full of pornographic images that it was ‘not recommended for children’. It was also unsuitable for adults. Creating props for porn shows must be this guy’s day job, and he should not quit it. Like most performance artists, he’s obsessed with pop images and fecal matter, projecting his personal faults and obsessions onto the whole of western civilization. It’s hard to be both disgusting and dully predictable, but McCarthy manages to do it.
The artists of our generation are so obsessed with shocking and/or horrifying the public, so obsessed with the past and the present, they never consider the future. Do they want museumgoers in 2050 to think that, say, McCarthy’s Spaghetti Man, a rabbit in a boy’s body with a 12-metre long, soft rubber penis that lies in coils on the floor, represents man’s hopes and dreams at the turn of the millennium? Do we want our descendants to think that this..
.. represents us?
While the artwork at the Museum was disappointing, the architecture displays were not. Like the Finns, the Swedes excel at design, at making modernism livable. I wonder if this focus on design, plus the influence of performance art, is making traditional forms of art irrelevant.
We only spent two days in Stockholm, and I wish we’d stayed longer. The food was better than I expected (but then again, I love pickled herring). The people were friendly – not the ‘Germans without a sense of humor’ our Danish friends had told us about. However, prices were very high. Next time, we’ll stay as long as we can afford to.