Stockholm – Meatballs and shopping in Södermalm

I had a wee lie in on Saturday morning. Not too much! But a little – I got out of bed at about twenty past nine. I pulled back the blackout curtains in my room to be greeted by a Stockholm bathed in sunshine. Today was going to be hot! Well about 23 degrees, which was good enough!

After getting showered and dressed, I walked out into the sun with a swing in my step. Stockholm was looking gorgeous!

Breakfast and a bit of ‘work’

I’d read about a café which was apparently a great place to go when you wanted to get some work done – with good food and coffee to boot. I didn’t have work to do as such, but I did want to keep on top of my blog and not be struggling to write it weeks after I got back.

So I packed my iPad, and headed up a street called Sveavägen. The streets were quiet in a Saturday morning kind of way.

Moments later I passed a pretty little church….

Later, I discovered the church’s grounds are where Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme is buried. A popular politician, he was assassinated on Sveavägen one night in 1986 after leaving a nearby cinema with his wife. His murder remains unsolved. I wish I’d known his remains lay there as I’d have looked for his gravestone as I passed.

Just under ten minutes’ walk further up the street, tucked around a corner, I found Gast Café.

Inside it was my kind of place. Clean lines, pastel colours and a bit of a Scandi retro feel.

I was just going to order a coffee and sit in, but when I saw the menu I couldn’t resist ordering scrambled eggs on sourdough with avocado. The scrambled eggs were a bit different – coming with (a lot of) grated Parmesan, and some chillies mixed through too – their size belied their heat! Spot the bread!

It was satisfying though. And it was a lovely place to sit while I caught up on emails then wrote for a bit. Breakfast with a coffee (also good) came to just over £13.

Hitting the shops

Today I had a loose kind of plan – which really just consisted of wandering around Stockholm’s shops.

As the sun continued to shine, I turned down a street and started walking back towards the city centre and its stores.

Back in the centre I came across this….

Hay is a Scandinavian design company whose stuff is very simple, but good looking.

I assumed Haymarket was a massive Hay shop, but was disappointed! Instead, on walking in to a gorgeous 1930s Hollywood style lobby – complete with gold plated film cameras – I realised I was in yet another hotel – and just like the Camper one I’d visited a couple of days before, this was also part of the Scandic chain.

Apparently the building used to be a large department store, one which employed Greta Garbo in the 1920s. I couldn’t work out if the hotel was related to the Hay design company I knew, but if not I could feel a potential lawsuit coming on!

After wandering around a market taking place in the square beside Haymarket, I nipped into a branch of Weekday to look at some clothes. I was in desperate need of a pair of shorts, as the temperature continued to rise. Neither of the two pairs I liked were available in my size, but the kind assistant had the other Stockholm branch in Södermalm put the one pair they had in stock on hold for me.

I did make some purchases in that shop though, buying two shirts – a linen one hopefully perfect if we ever get a summer at home(!) and an overshirt type thing.

A traditional Swedish lunch

By now it was after one – so time for lunch, and I knew just exactly where to go for something typically Swedish. Luckily, it was in Södermalm – home to that other branch of Weekday.

My walk took me through Gamla Stan, the old part of town again. Every time I walked through the area though, weaving in and out of tourists, I’d spot something new. This time it was an elegant courtyard with a fountain in the middle.

Taking a left and walking through a busy street….

I soon discovered I’d be navigating Slussen’s temporary bridges and walkways once again 😩.

Peeking through the wire mesh you could see the extent of construction under way.

After several flights of stairs 😩

…and steep ascents…

…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sweating slightly! But the roadworks and construction eventually gave way to lovely buildings housing what I bet are rather pricy apartments.

Finally, I arrived at my lunch venue – Meatballs for the People.

It opened in 2013, and they take their meatballs seriously. Very seriously! There’s a list of farms they take meat from on their website, and it’s recommended booking at least a week ahead if you fancy having dinner there.

Luckily, when I arrived at just before three o’clock, it was pretty quiet. Quiet enough really that I should have asked for a table instead of the chair at a counter facing a wall I was given! Still, I wasn’t too fussed.

Here’s part of the menu…

Lols at “Heartbroken! I decided I could really only go with the Swedish Classic – but thought I might as well go the whole hog so decided to pay the extra 30 krona (about £2.70) to have it with moose meatballs.

I didn’t have long to wait before the piping hot plate was put down in front of me.

The mash to be honest was the best mash I could remember having recently. It was probably due to something like a 50-50 potato / butter ratio but who cares! The lingonberries provided a nice fresh sauce, while the meatballs and their accompanying gravy were delicious.

With a Coke Zero (Diet Coke is hard to find in Sweden!) my bill with a tip came to £20. Not cheap for one course maybe, but I felt it was worth it – and eating out in Stockholm does tend to be pricey!

A stroll around Södermalm

With my lunch still settling, I decided to get up and go for a proper walk around the area – widely known as the ‘hipster’ part of town.

From my last visit, I could remember some of the streets but also that I’d struggled to have a proper look around the area before the shops closed. A quick Google showed me I’d perhaps left it quite late again – with a lot of shops due to close at 5pm, even though it was a Saturday.

After a wander through a park, I stepped inside Urban Deli where I’d had lunch on my last visit.

As well as a restaurant/café, it’s home to a full-blown delicatessen. I was impressed by the sheer amount of stuff they had – but decided against buying anything! I’d love a shop like that in Belfast though.

Next I had a quick look in Grandpa – a lifestyle and clothing store where I’d bought a shirt the last time I’d visited. Then I decided to head towards Weekday. It was a 20 minute walk away 😩 By now I’d already kinda had enough of walking!

I noticed lots of cool shop signs as I made my way. There were ones that looked like they belonged to the 50s….

Brand new ones (definitely a hipster cafe that!)…

and ones that looked like they’d been there for a hundred years or so.

Google translate tells me that sign means Stockholm Hemstitch and Pleated Satin 🤔

Even the building numbers were cool I thought.

At long last I got to Weekday on Götgatan.

I collected and paid for my shorts, then walked along the street checking out another branch of Designtorget and another home store, Granit, where I picked up a little gift for my niece. Both are really cool shops – their online sites deliver to the UK so are worth checking out if you’re looking for some Scandi style stuff.

Across the road was a small mall called Bruno that was home to some cool Scandinavian clothing stores – like Samsøe & Samsøe and APLACE.

I nipped in and had a look around but not tempted to buy anything, I went to walk back out on to the street only to be greeted by this….

It was absolutely lashing! Drops of rain were hammering off the road, and people had taken shelter wherever they could. I waited for around five minutes and then thought I’d be better spending my time waiting for the rain to go off in a coffee shop where I could write my blog at the same time.

So I made a dash for it – running across then up the road to the corner in the video above. There I took shelter in a funky branch of Wayne’s Coffee for a while.

I sat for a while with my coffee, wrote a bit more of my blog, and when I stepped back outside, the sun was shining again, and the pavements were already drying out.

I use an app called Relay (not updated in a while unfortunately) to make lists of places I’m interested in checking out while I’m away. Opening that up and looking at my map I saw I wasn’t too far from away from a good food market I’d read about, so I headed towards Söderhallarna to check it out.

Unfortunately when I got there I saw the foodhall had closed an hour and a half earlier – at 4pm!

I hadn’t expected it to close that early! I had a quick look around the rest of the mall – which by now was pretty empty. There were shuttered shops, a couple of stragglers chatting in still open casual restaurants, and a branch of the state-owned alcohol store. It was a thirty-minute walk back to the hotel, so I decided to use up some of the balance on my SL Access card up by taking the metro back instead.

An uneventful ride later, I was back at the hotel. I was pretty exhausted from all my walking and schlepping about so decided to chill out for a while, catching up on EastEnders while lying on my very comfortable bed.

It took a bit of effort, to be honest, to get up again after that! But I had a quick shower and then headed out for a bite to eat for dinner. I decided that after having meatballs for lunch, I’d go someplace more casual for my evening meal. To be precise I had a burger craving! I decided to visit Max – the Scandinavian burger chain.

A burger and bizarre souvenir

Max had opened a ‘new concept’ store not far from my hotel, so I decided to visit that branch. En route, I saw my first electric scooter injury!

A lady came a cropper while trying to bump up a kerb on one. I didn’t catch the actual incident on camera – only the aftermath….

She sat there for a while, stunned I think, and rubbing her knee. I hope she made a speedy recovery.

Walking up a quiet commercial street, I could hear loud music BLARING from somewhere – but for the life of me I couldn’t work out where it was coming from.

There did seem to be a few bars with patios above street level, but it didn’t sound like the music was coming from there…. so that still remains a bit of a mystery! It doesn’t sound that loud in the video but trust me it was BLARING!

When I reached Max, the place was pretty busy.

There was an upstairs but I had seen enough stairs for the day so ordered at a kiosk and waited for my number to be called.

It didn’t take too long! I’d ordered an Umami Bacon Burger after enjoying the one I’d had in Oslo last year. That came with bacon, emmental cheese, tomato, pickled red onions and an umami sauce.

I was disappointed when I opened it though – look at that!

Still, I tucked in and watched the goings-on as I ate. It actually tasted better than it looked. After that, I decided to head back towards my hotel, taking a detour down a nearby street which had a couple of souvenir shops so I could get some postcards. En route, I passed this guy who seemed to be genuinely offering passersby his free advice.

I thought that was quite a cool idea. I saw him hug someone too, and thought it was probably as therapeutic for him as it was for the people he chatted to!

Further down Drottingattan, I found a shop selling nice postcards, chose some and then wandered inside to pay for them.

Instantly after stepping into “New Style Council” (for that was the name of the shop) I knew it was the perfect place to pick up a present for my little sister. It is kind of traditional for us to get each other a tacky souvenir when we head abroad.

I gazed at small silver spoons adorned with crests of arms, and rows of slightly wonky-eyed trolls and viking wooden dolls before narrowing it down to one of two items.

First was this rather 70s looking decorative object filled with unidentifiable lumps of plastic, some metal beads and a murky tobacco coloured liquid.

In the end though I decided to go for this beauty, which I picked up for the princely sum of 79 krona. (Just under £7!).

I have no idea what it is. It’s like two stuffed yetis (you can feel the wire through one of their arms) sitting on a flattened sombrero. Underneath a piece of paper stuck to the bottom read “Stockholm”. If you have any ideas please feel free to get in touch.

I struggled to contain my laughter while paying for the souvenir, but was delighted with my choice.

Back at my hotel, I went for a glass (well two) of Petit Chablis in the ground floor bar while I wrote more of my blog. I also met a slightly sozzled couple from Clydebank who had to be up at 4.30am to catch a flight. Hope you made it if you’re reading this!

After that I headed up to my room and turned in for the night, unaware the next day would bring one of the highs – and lows – of my trip.

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