Monday, May 21, 2012

The longest day of the year? - Stockholm - Day3

If you think about it, it's quite crazy to built a full blown capitol city on a couple of rocky islands - crazy, but also lovely ... especially for visitors who like to enjoy a city vacation and some relaxing at the waterfront at the same time. People like me :)

On Friday we had quite a list of things we wanted to do. After the nice hotel breakfast we started the day on the Monteliusvägen - a scenic walk along the cliffs of Södermalm, where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the city. 

Walking Stockholm I felt btw like the only person on planet earth who never read Stieg Larson's Millenium Triology or watched the movies (neither the old nor the new with Daniel Craig). Södermalm - our  neighborhood is like I learned now also the location of important scenes in the books and movies  ... especially the narrow streets behind the Monteliusvägen. Maybe you recognize them?

Stockholm has over 80 museums and of course a littel more than three days is by far not enough to visit even the most important ones, but for this day we at least picked two of them: 


After the morning walk we first went to Fotografiska - the museum and center for photograhpy and art.

We visited four of the current exhibitions. Relatively quickly we browsed through André Kertész "My Paris" with pictures from the 1920ies (not my piece of cake) and went fascinated through an exhibition of pictures documenting the life of writer August Strindberg. He had such a strong expression in his face and eyes in all the pictures that it is almost scary.
Although taking pictures is allowed at the Fotografiska the glass framing and daylight in the Strindberg section did not allow to take good pictures of the exhibition. 

More time we spent at the exhibition "Stories from Another World" of Swedish artist Helena Blomqist. For some of her works she built dolls and models and put them into a real, natural enviroment to create an atmosphere between reality and a mystic world. The kids and animals often look like ghosts or phantasy creatures in "Alice in Wonderland" style. 

Helena Blomqist in general does not seem to have an optimistic and positive view on the world - the whole exhibition is pretty dark and scary.
The ones of you who read Ginny's blog "That's Church" might remember the discussion we had there about the scariest movies in general and the ones which scared us in our childhood? This exhibition reminded me of that because I got again chills when I was kind of confronted with the scariest movie scene EVER. And no .... I am not talking any fancy horror movie, I am talking "The Wizard of Oz". This whole "sucked in and carried way by a tornado" idea scares me to death - still (if you cannot see the twister, just click on the image to enlarge). 

After surviving Blomqist's art we went to the next room to my personal hightlight of the day - the Steve Shapiro exhibition. I know ... I am boring .... American art of the 60ies and 70ies again.

Let's grap the basic info from the website of Fotografiska:

" Steve Schapiro (b. 1934 in Brooklyn) began taking photographs at the age of ten. Trained by the renowned photojournalist W Eugene Smith, Schapiro received commissions for magazines such as LifeTimeRolling StonePeopleand Newsweek. Schapiro has worked on over 200 feature films, including TheGodfather, Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy, and has exhibited widely internationally and now lives in Chicago. "

And here we go .... 

Andy with one of the gorgeous silver clouds I gently tossed around already a couple of times at The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

David Bowie

And the famous movie stills from ....

Taxi Driver

The Godfather


Fotografiska is a great place. The shop has a good collection of art and books about photography and on top - literally - it has the best cafeteria I have ever visited in a museum. I had a feeling that several people up there under the roof of the building had paid the admission only to go to the restaurant. That would be understandable because the food is great, the interior design is beautiful and the view is breathtaking. 

Vasa Museum

After a sweet break at the cafeteria of Fotografiska we took a boat over the Vasa Museum - one of Stockholm's most famous places.

The Vasa is a battleship that was built by order of King Gustav II Adolf - to fight for Sweden and as a status symbold of the Swedish monarchy. It turned out to be one of the biggest disasters in the Swedish history. Overloaded and carelessly set up the beautiful ship made it on its maiden journey in 1628 not more than 1300 meters  (!) into the bay before it flipped over and sank. 
The special conditions of the Baltic Sea preserved the ship over the centuries until it was retrieved from the ground in 1961 in a long and complicated procedure.

Because there was no building that would have fit the Vasa and allowed to restore, preserve and exhibit the ship the Vasa Museum was built practically around the ship.

The museum is huge, because the Vasa is HUGE. You just walk in and try to adjust your eyes to the relative darkness and to process the impression this really big ship makes. The conditions in the room are good for the boat but tough for the visitor. The air is feels dry, it's relatively dark and there is a light stream of air that constantly blows over the ship. All this plus the fact that it is crowded makes it a bit exhausting but I liked it anyway. It feels like this ship fell through a wormhole from another  timezone into ours and is now a bit lost in our civilization. Ships are like living creatures anyway and this one seems to be still confused that is unable to sail and be the pride of the king. 

The Vasa is hard to photograph. The low light is one problem and the other is that there is no angle that allows to picture the whole ship - at least not with my equipment. Gabi's architecture lens would have been of great use here since it makes incredible shots from short distances. 

Here is what I could do (the highlights)

Additionally to the ship itself the Vasa Museum offers a lot of information about how the ship was built, why it sank, how it looked liked when it was painted (very colorful) and more.

After the sticky air floating around the ship we were happy to be back to sun & fresh air and walked quite a bit of our way back. And it cannot be said often enough - Stockholm is a beautiful city ...

To  be honest I was ready for my bed after this marathon, but ... no way  to end the day early. We instead regained some energy with eating a fantastic pizza from a woodfired oven (the best pizza I had for a long, long time) just around the corner from the hotel.

We even managed to go out for drinks later that night and walked to SoFo to enter the Pet Sounds Bar.  I wish I could take that place with me home since it is exactly what I miss here in Munich - a relaxed bar with awesome music. The definition of awesome for that night - Indie & Brit Pop from new tunes to classics like Blur "Boys & Girls" or Pulp "Common People" (for my hometown readers - classic Saturday at Rolling Stone music). 

That was a long, long day for us and in general because it almost never gets dark at the moment in Sweden which is totally fascinating. You can see a rest of light on the sky at midnight and at 4.30 am it's already day. It is btw NOT the longest day of the year yet for real - that would be at mid of June - but it might haven been mine, because I was totally exhausted when I finally went to bed and my feet still hurt the next morning. I was really happy that our plan was to take things much easier the next and final day.

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